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						Custom Pantera1
Custom Pantera Quandary

Modified 1972 De Tomaso Pantera

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

The De Tomaso Pantera has enjoyed a huge surge in value and popularity over the past decade with the early cars generally being the most sought after. During Ford’s partnership with De Tomaso, just under 6,000 Panteras were built with 351 Cleveland V8s and five-speed ZF transaxles. There aren't many Panteras to choose from, and even fewer if you’re looking for an early “pre-L” car.

Starting halfway through the 1972 model year, the Pantera made the switch to the Pantera L, signifying Lusso, Italian for luxury. The main difference you’ll note are the large black bumpers front and rear with shock-absorbing pistons, but L cars also switched from four-bolt mains to two, got a redesigned engine cover, resigned dash, revised front wheel arches and other minor mechanical and cosmetic revisions. With all these changes in mind, it should be easy to identify an early Pantera, but you’d be surprised, as the changes didn’t happen all at once. And that’s just the start of the difficulties with this ’72 model on eBay.

There’s no doubt that this car has been modified in a fashion that’s less than tasteful, but we’d like to see this Pantera saved still. The trouble is identifying whether it’s an L car, or pre-L, as it’s a ’72 and many of its major identifying features have been “customized.”

To start with, the front and rear sections of the car have been entirely reshaped in a sharp, squared off style. Not only does it detract heavily from Pantera’s character, but it also makes it impossible to determine whether the car had the early split bumpers or the large shock-absorbing units. Additionally, it’s tough to tell if the front wheel arches are done in the early or late style given the side skirt and bumper modifications, and there’s no engine cover present in the photos. The dash is done in the early two-pod style, but that’s not necessarily a smoking gun, as the changes were not all incorporated immediately.

So really we’re left with calling the dealer as the only foolproof option, as the car’s data tag will give a build date that you can compare against known dates for pre-L cars. And you still have to ask yourself if this one's worth the trouble with all the modifications performed by the previous owner. In addition to the restyled front and rear sections, the car has scissor doors, shaved door handles, an aftermarket EFI setup and aftermarket suspension.

The book on a good, driver condition Pantera is around $80,000, and it's not surprising to see this one listed at less than $40,000 considering the work necessary to bring it back to original condition. Will this car require less than $40,000 to bring it up to snuff, I'd say it's possible, but a resourceful guy might be able to get this one back on the right track.

See the 1972 Pantera here on eBay.

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Filed Under

De Tomaso Ford Oddities