My dog is some kind of a mutt. He was found wandering in the Sonoran Desert as a puppy and someone had the good sense to take him to a shelter. Then fortunately for both of us, I had the good sense to see that this scruffy mutt was one of the most kind, smart, and amazing critters I’ve ever met. I could see it immediately when I first saw him that he was a special kind of dude.
He’s small but has crazy long legs and can outrun just about anything except a greyhound. He’s about on par with a mini-greyhound. He’s not only fast, he’s also agile, which makes him doubly amazing. No, I’m not just saying that because he’s mine and I’m a proud parent. He’s just an incredible guy. His howly-bark however is not so amazing but whatever…mine isn’t either.
One good mutt deserves another.
The 4-wheeled mutt I’m referring to is the De Tomaso Pantera (GTS). This thing is special, you can see it at first glance that this is a special kind of car. It has a timeless quality to it that makes me shake my head to think this thing was made in 1974. Such a radical design for the time. Sure there were other sports cars out there that pretty radical as well. Think Ferrari Dino 308 and the Lamborghini Countach. But compared to your run of the mill grocery getter, these things were like something from the future.
So why is it a mutt, do you ask? Well I was hoping you’d mention that.
Developed and manufactured by Alejandro De Tomaso, his car company interestingly had a logo that utilizes the Argentine flag. This is because De Tomaso was born in Argentina and fled to Italy to avoid being caught and prosecuted by then president Juan Peron after being implicated in a plot to overthrow his administration. Which could explain why Alejandro became a very fast driver (he was a Gran Prix driver) and developed a very fast car. How fast you ask? I’ll get to that in a bit.
Then he hired the famous Italian firm Ghia to design the Pantera. The lead designer at Ghia, Tom Tjaarda, was an American of Dutch descent. The car utilized a Ford engine, produced in America until the engine was no longer being made in the US of A, and had to source the 351 Cleveland from…uh, not Cleveland, but rather, from dahwn undah: Australia.
In a further blending of DNA, the transmission was built by Zahnradfabrik Friedrichshafen (ZF for short) which as you can probably tell by the name is a German company. The word beginning with the letter “Z” standing for “Gear Factory” the second word in the name starting with the letter “F” means something like “Fried Rich Sheep” in English. Actually I’m not sure that’s the right translation, but regardless it’s the name of the city the Gear Factory is located.
Then take all of those disparate elements, blend them into one really cool car at the factory in Modena, Italy (home of such car greats as Maserati, Pagani, Lamborghini, and Ferrari) that can truly kick up its heels and run, and import them into America, thank you very much.
So where did one buy a mutt such as this in America? At a Lincoln-Mercury dealer of course. Although The upscale divisions of Ford had their own dealer network (and Ford had a hand in this car) it wouldn’t seem that in the public’s eye, that a sports car, actually the fastestproduction car at the time with a 0-60 of 5.5 seconds and a seat-wetting 159 mph was a natural to be sold right next to a Town Car. But to a degree it did. The rest, as they say, is history.
This particular mutt, the 1974 GTS variant is one of only 97 of this model to be spec’d for the USA. Dig that crayzee two tone paint and fender flares which are a GTS characteristic also. This black and burgundy over black and grey interior came with AC, power locks and windows, 5 speed manual (ZF) transmission with limited slip differential.
The seller states that he’s the 4thowner and spent much of its time in the San Francisco area, lolling around in the mild climate. The mid-mounted Ford Cleveland 351 V8 is said to have been rated at 310 HP. Best of all, this example has a milage on the odometer of 29,900.
For all of these reasons and more, this panther has an asking price of just a tick under $130k. Which in my estimation is the bargain of the exotic sports cars of that era where you’d expect to pay 2-5x as much for a similarly conditioned contemporary. There’s a lot of investment upside on this, but more importantly, there’s a lot of enjoyment to be had with this puppy, even if it is a mongrel.
Click HERE to get more info and history on this car or to make an offer which may change your smile for the bigger.