One of 41 Panteras built, 39 of which survive today
Designed by Marcello Gandini
Exceptionally fine collector grade example
Originally designed by American Tom Tjaarda while working with Carrozzeria Ghia, the Pantera advanced the earlier Ford-powered Mangusta to a new level. Built with a steel monocoque chassis and stamped steel body, the Panera’s chiseled design featured a mid-mounted Ford 351 Cleveland V8 engine, ZF transaxle, and power assisted four-wheel disc brakes. Great looks and amazing performance combined with the backing from Ford brought the Pantera to America through Lincoln-Mercury dealerships beginning in 1971 and continuing through 1975. When fast paced fuel emissions regulations halted US imports, Pantera production continued with De Tomaso serving European clientele, remarkably until the final series 90 SI was built in 1991.
For the final series, the Pantera was redesigned by Marcello Gandini, one of the most prolific and skilled designers of modern mid-engine sports cars. Credited with the design for the Lamborghini Miura, Countach, Lancia Stratos, and numerous other cars, Gandini gracefully evolved the Tjaarda design advancing nearly all body panels to a fresh, modern look without altering the costly tooling needed for a new roof and doors. Having been significantly improved in 1980, the chassis was continually advanced in various iterations through this decade culminating in the 90 SI, first offered in 1990. The 90 SI featured a 5.0-liter Ford 302 using electronic fuel injection, modified cylinder heads, camshafts, valves and pistons, and a better flow intake manifold to improve overall performance. Brembo caliper disc brakes, revised suspension, and additional chassis improvements completed the final iteration. Although 41 examples of the final iteration of the Pantera were built, two were sacrificed for crash testing, and one reserved for the De Tomaso Museum. As such, just 38 examples were sold to the public, four of which were independently converted (post-production) to Targa configuration.
History of This Car
This rare, preservation grade example is one of 34 factory 90 SI models sold in the factory original configuration to the public. This exceptional Pantera has benefited from long-term ownership, housed for decades by the current consigning owner who maintains a private European based collection dedicated to modern supercars. Documentation accompanying this car is extensive and thorough including the De Tomaso “Dichiarazione di Contormita” certificate referencing April 12, 1991, with completion on June 26, 1991, Italian delivery paperwork from De Tomaso, original prior registration paperwork, factory build documentation, and various service invoices. Factoring in the rarity of this model, the impeccable preservation, and the documentation including factory build records, it would be challenging to find a more compelling example of the final iteration of the legendary Pantera.
Today this Pantera displays wonderful finishes throughout including the beautiful vivid yellow paint. The paint is glossy and smooth throughout with excellent detailing in the door jambs, rear valance undercut, front air extractors, and deeply carved rear wing. The body is in excellent condition, free from significant visual flaws and displaying great fit and panel gaps with very nice closures. The black window and distinctive side vent trim are in excellent condition showing no sun fading, while the front and rear body-colored bumper features are in excellent condition as well. The lights and original glass are beautifully preserved and the correct staggered size wheels appear virtually new wearing Michelin tires. The impressive 335/35 profile rear tires convey massive power from the rear view. The car presents as an exceptional example of this final design with unique features and finishes befitting the Pantera legend.
The interior is in excellent condition consistent with the exterior condition. The rich black leather surfaces are taut and supple, remarkably so given the passing years with excellent details and stitching including the red accent stitching on the Momo steering wheel. The driver’s left side seat bolster shows mild evidence of use and the carpet footwell area has some typical wear, but otherwise, the interior is remarkably fine. The headliner, sun visors, dashboard, instruments, switches, and controls are all in excellent original condition, appearing essentially as new, including the rich lacquered wood dashboard. Additional features include the distinctive sideways mounted AM/FM cassette stereo, AC and climate controls, gated aluminum shifter with reverse safety lockout, 300 km speedometer, padded dash, and tufted leather interior door bolsters. The overall experience of the interior is wonderfully preserved and all the more impressive rendered in the colorful yellow and black contrasting combination.
The engine compartment is clean and tidy. The removable storage tub serves as an excellent tray for luggage stowing. When removed, the engine and transaxle are fully revealed showing correct factory finishes in all areas including correct hoses, clamps, wiring, proper factory labels, and of course the distinctive ZF 5-speed gearbox and Pantera suspension. The front storage compartment remains original displaying minor patina to some of the original factory components. The undercarriage is very nicely preserved, reflective of the low miles and original components. There is no evidence of structural compromise to the chassis or major suspension mounting points.
The driving experience is impressive but has been limited to short distances for the sake of preservation. The car exhibits good acceleration, excellent mid-engine handling, and very good braking. Included with the car is a complete set of factory literature, documentation from De Tomaso including factory build notes, certificate, registration papers, and a battery tender.
Please note that this car was not originally manufactured for US import but will be sold with duty paid in the US on Swedish ownership documents. Due to California title and registration requirements this car is available to an out of state resident or a licensed California dealer.
The Pantera has become increasingly regarded by collectors as one of the more desirable performance cars of the period. Embodying all the important characteristics for a highly collectible car, the Pantera 90 SI combines stunning Italian design and venerable American performance. This exceptional example displays outstanding integrity, impeccable credentials, and low documented miles. The sympathetic care and attention to originality present a very handsome car ready for ongoing enjoyment including proudly displaying it at any number of exotic sports car gatherings particularly in the growing preservation classes at several high-level concours events throughout the world.