Thursday, September 30, 2010

"In Italy, Men Build Cars with Passion."

Cover of large-format brochure for the 1971 de Tomaso Pantera, a limited production Italian sports car, created with a Ford 351 V8 engine and sold by Lincoln-Mercury dealers for a short time in the early '70s. This entire brochure is printed on very glossy, and very thick coverstock, and measures a full 22" x 14" when opened. How can this car be almost 40 years old? It boggles my mind!

In Italy, Men Build Cars with Passion—the first line of this brochure. This initial spread features this profile shot of the new Pantera in the courtyard of a classic Italian villa. The text is a short bio of the history of de Tomaso and this new sports car, the first de Tomaso in series production, albeit limited to 2,500 copies. Previous de Tomasos like the Vallelunga and the fabulous Mangusta were extremely limited production.

The second spread shows the car's 15-inch cast magnesium wheels, the front view of a lineup of Panteras, the center console showing the very Ferrari-like gated transmission lever, the au courant pop-up headlights and a couple of views of the car in white, a surprising color for an Italian exotic, but one that really shows the lines of the car very well.

The third spread illustrates the hand-sewn leather bucket seats, and the craftsmanship that went into each car. A short bio of Ghia of Turin, the company that crafted the Pantera, and which would be sold to the Ford Motor Company shortly after this, was included here. I was especially taken with the power window switches on the vertical part of this center console. I was always fascinated with the way power window controls were worked into a design. They were on the doors of our '57 Chevy and '66 Country Squire and on the center console of the '64 Thunderbird. It's one detail I always memorized in the catalogs!

The back cover gives the specifications for the car, along with a photo of the very cool tunneled backlight, also known as a flying buttressed roof. Then engine was located under this "trunk" lid but in front of the rear wheels for a mid-engined layout. Interestingly, nowhere in the specs is the horsepower listed for the 351 cubic inch, 4 barrel Ford V8 engine. The torque is listed as 380 ft/lbs, the compression ratio is a high 11.0 to 1, the transmission was a 5 speed manual and the brakes were 4 wheel power disc brakes, all really heady equipment for this period, but no horsepower rating. I can only imagine this was an early press brochure and the ratings had yet to be determined. The car was also only 43 inches high, just barely more than 3 1/2 feet tall. I thought all cars would be this low eventually but I was wrong, lol.

The colors listed as available at no extra charge were Yellow, Medium Blue, White, Red, Medium Green, Lime, Silver Metallic and Bronze Metallic. European cars of the time almost always charged more for metallic finishes, but this $10,000 automobile gave you all of the choices for "free." Such a deal!  I would have taken it in Lime, a color as avant-garde as the car itself.

For more information on the Pantera, click over to Wiki.


  1. might also call this car The de Testosterone Pantera... I could see Angelina Jolie behind the wheel [on days when she'd rather leave all the kiddies at home] ;)

  2. God I love this car. That $10,000 price tag turned out to be a rather prudent investment, most Panteras today sell for $50,000 or more. I'll take mine in Bronze metallic. This car will generate enough attention on it's own, and the way I would drive it would have every law enforcement agency in a tri-county area looking for me! LOL!

  3. the only indication of date is an LM71-109 near the 'litho' mark on the back, which I'm pretty sure is shorthand for 1971, the first year of sales in the USA. Our local Lincoln-Mercury dealer had a bright yellow one and my parents brought me over there for the opening cocktail party the night before, so I think this is an early brochure. The dealer even "imported" an Italian female saleswoman named Lucia, to sell the Pantera. At least that's what we were led to believe. My father found her quite fetching, lol, and it was the first time any of us had seen a female car sales person.



  5. Is your birthday today, Granny, or soon? Happy Birthday! I don't celebrate mine ever. It's just another day.

  6. Happy Birthday Granny!
    Wishing you many more!

  7. Good a.m./aft everyone ! If you would like to, please stop over at "my place" and leave Granny a birthday wish...It's a beautiful day to celebrate!

  8. The de Tomaso Pantera were a favorite to see on the road, when you did see them. I heard rumors or a revival but it simply died. The good news is that in light of it's exotic characteristics and the use of Ford to power it, they might actually bring back the Ford GT which is a tribute to the de Tomaso era.

    PS- Elvis took a shot gun to his after it failed to start.