- for those who love the look of italian exotics but want to show their american loyalty and keep the prices somewhat reasonable, a detomaso pantera is an interesting choice.
- as a designer, i'm attracted to this 1972 pantera, currently up for auction at no reserve on bring a trailer.
- the car's current owner is located in kentucky, and the car was previously purchased in 2017 on—you guessed it—bring a trailer. the auction ends march 15.
as this publication's creative director, i might always lean toward something a designer would find appealing, but after working at car and driver for over 10 years and having it hammered into my head about the performance benefits of a mid-engine car, i can't resist the lure of the pantera. that's why this no-reserve 1972 detomaso is my pick of the day from the bring a trailer auction site—which, like car and driver, is part of hearst autos. with five days to go before the auction ends on march 15, bidding is currently at $54,000.
i don't find myself realistically purchasing a ford gt40, so the pantera is the next best thing for a guy from detroit. right? what’s not to like about a mid-engine, v-8–powered exotic? its performance numbers still stand up quite well today, and the price it generally fetches seems reasonable for what you get, with a zero-to-60-mph time of 5.5 seconds and quarter-mile in 14 seconds. you'll find yourself in rare company if you come close to matching that formula in another car that's close to 50 years old.
and then there's the way it looks. the interior screams 1970s; the gated shifter sneaks in the italian heritage. powered by a 330-hp ford v-8 cleveland, it is obviously going to be much more serviceable than any italian-powered car with similar styling and pedigree. ford wasn't messing around when it developed this car. among the desirable features are a gated five-speed shifter, toggle switches, and a hazard button that could be mistaken for a modern-day start button. not to mention, the pantera has a speedometer that goes up to 200; that's pretty neat. (not that it's ever been close, but passengers can think what they want.)
the exterior design of the pantera has held up as well as any exotic, if not better. it has such clean lines and amazing proportions and such simple elegance, before any add-on u.s. crash standard-conforming monstrosities. i certainly went through a phase of preferring blacked-out bumpers like the ones on this example, but i would lean toward returning this example back to the stock chrome versions from the previous sale of the same car on bring a trailer.
what can i say? i was raised in the detroit area and must have some hidden loyalty to some local brands, so this is as close as i’m going to get to owning an italian exotic sports car without feeling like i betrayed the big three. you might ask why that has never bothered me in the past, with all the vws, bmws, subarus, and audis my family has owned. still, maybe it's time to show some loyalty to the little part of this car that is american.
or at least some family loyalty: my uncle karl, who helped me get into this business and has always had great taste in cars, has a pantera. why not me?
or why not you? the auction ends march 15, and bidding is currently at $54,000 but will surely go much higher.