In its original form the De Tomaso Pantera was already a potent machine. This Belgian example imported by famed racing driver Claude Dubois packs an extra punch
De Tomaso may have held a reputation for being quintessentially Italian, but it owes a lot to America and Belgium. In the 1970s it was best known for the Pantera, named after the Italian word for Panther, and it ended up remaining in production for two decades.
Ford owned 81% of De Tomaso, hoping to shoehorn its American muscle into a refined Italian mould. To that end, it helped export the Pantera through its various dealerships. Claude Dubois, a famous Belgian racing driver and team owner was its representative in Belgium and as a result became a concessionaire for De Tomaso. It was he that brought this specific example currently in our classifieds to Europe, one which packs a secret punch.
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Dubois was a nine-time starter of the Le Mans 24 Hours as a driver, and a long-time member of Equipe National Belge team. After racing he went into team ownership, and Dubois's DeTomaso entry to the 1972 Le Mans 24 Hours was the only one of the Panteras entered that year which finished the gruelling endurance race.
This Pantera though is a road going version, yet it hardly looks more timid than its circuit racing counterparts. Featuring ultra-wide tyres, recessed black alloy rims, flared wheel arches and a black bonnet and rear quarter panels, others drivers will probably try to jump out of its way like lapped traffic at Le Mans.
Typically every Pantera was powered by a 5.7-litre Ford V8 engine. However, this particular version has its secret weapon bolted behind the driver's seat, packing an upgraded 7.0-litre engine that can reportedly deliver around 580bhp.
Since coming to Belgium it has remained there, undergoing a complete restoration and a recent major servicing. That restoration has left this particular Pantera looking pristine, albeit rather unconventional. Though a GTS underneath, those flared wheel arches are borrowed from its Group 3 counterpart.
All things considered, this is no ordinary Pantera. It might not conform to original specification but hasn't stopped it being shown at last year's Techno Classica Essen. With that mean silver and black paintwork, plus its roaring 7.0-litre V8, it's definitely a car that wants to be seen and heard.
Visit the AutoClassics listing for more information.