DeTomaso Pantera Reviews from North America - Page 2 of 3

1973 DeTomaso Pantera L Ford 351 Cleveland

Model year1973
Year of manufacture1973
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission Ford 351 Cleveland Manual
Performance marks 10 / 10
Reliability marks 10 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 7 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.5 / 10
Distance when acquired23000 miles
Most recent distance25600 miles

Summary:

Italian looks with American muscle car power and sound!

Faults:

Carburetor fuel bowl needle valve got plugged due to dirty gas. New and better filter added, and it's never occurred again.

General Comments:

Great car! 35 years old and still looks modern. Great Italian looks with the power, sound, and reliability of an American muscle car.

Good old fashioned American muscle! No computer like the new cars; easy to work on, just like the old days!

She's a head turner and draws crowds wherever we go! Not a common see it everyday car like modern sports cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th February, 2008

1989 DeTomaso Pantera GT5 351W

Model year1989
Year of manufacture1988
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 351W Manual
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 5 / 10
Comfort marks 5 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired27000 kilometres
Most recent distance33000 kilometres
Previous carGMC 1/2 Ton

Summary:

A rare mid-engine Italian exotic with all the good and bad that comes with that

Faults:

Engine failure - blown head gasket, burning oil.

General Comments:

The DeTomaso Pantera GT5 is not a car for daily transportation. If you want a reliable car to get you from point A to point B, then buy a Honda. This is a car for enthusiasts who appreciate Italian art metal, automotive history, and serious performance potential. At a production rate of 33 per year for the later models of the Pantera, it is one of the rarest Italian exotics. There were less than 250 of the GT5 variant made in total, and the surviving cars are spread out all over the world.

During the main production years for the GT5, which were from 1980 to 1985, there were few exotics that would outperform it, including its main rival the Lamborghini Countach. Despite its age, it remains today a serious performance car primarily because of the ease with which it can be modified. It still never fails to turn heads when driving down the street.

As with any mid-engine supercar of its era, it is loud, cramped, and brutal to drive in traffic. There is no power steering (which you really notice when you are running 10" wide wheels in the front), the air conditioning is weak, the pedals are offset from centre, and a host of other annoyances make driving this lurching and lunging beast through rush hour a real chore. The low front air dam means that steep driveway approaches and speed bumps will result in the sickening sound of fiberglass shattering.

A major problem with the stock suspension is the lack of sufficient caster adjustment on the front suspension. This, when combined with the extraordinarily wide tires, causes the car to climb any ridges in the pavement which translates into unpredictable darting or tramlining. The problem can be partially corrected by modifying the front suspension for additional caster, but never totally eliminated because of the extreme tire width.

Keep in mind, though that the Pantera was meant to be a GT sports car in the traditional sense. Its chassis was designed by one of the most famous Formula race car designers in history, Giampaolo Dallara. Get this car on a winding open road, and it comes into its own. It comes alive at 180km/hr, hunkers down, and hugs the road like a slot car until it runs out of rpm at about 260km/hr. Even on the race track, it can hold its own with modern exotica. The adhesion limits are hard to find; with 285/40-15 tires in the front, and 345/35-15 tires in the rear, there is a lot of cornering force generated.

The ride is surprisingly good for a car of this type, and many of the gremlins that plagued the earliest variants of the Pantera were sorted out by the factory in the GT5. Another feature that surprises many people is the generous luggage space, especially when compared to most other mid engine sports cars.

With the exception of tires, parts for the GT5 remain readily available. Several Pantera specialty vendors operate in the United States. There is also a remarkable international on-line community of enthusiasts who provide support to each other and represent a tremendous collective repository of expertise on the cars.

In summary, the DeTomaso Pantera GT5 is an ultra-rare, Italian built mid engine exotic with all of the problems that typically come with this category of car, but also with some exceptional attributes not found in many of its contemporaries. It is not inherently reliable or perfectly well sorted out, but it can be made so. This is a car for people looking for a visceral high performance driving experience not mediated or diluted by any modern electronic driving aids.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 12th February, 2008

Average review marks: 7.1 / 10, based on 5 reviews