1974 DeTomaso Pantera L 4.6 DOHC from North America


Excellent, timeless Italian Exotic at its best without the maintenance hassles


60k Water Pump failure

85K Clutch Master Cylinder Failure

Repeated problems with Air Conditioning System. Old hoses needed replacing. Change of availability of R12 to R134a and associated modifications. Leakage of R134a because of flare fittings rather than O-rings.

2nd and 3rd gear synchros (ie, ZF transaxle) needed to be addressed at 100K miles

General Comments:

I have owned the same car for over 17 years and I know it well. The years of ownership should speak volumes.

Performance: The car accelerates very quickly with kick-in-the-pants torque. Top speed is around 150 mph. Handling is precise and flat (excellent). At the limit, the car will over-steer (i.e. loose) and will need to be comensated by proper throttle application. Stock Braking is good to very good. Gas mileage is normal for this type of high performance car.

Ergonomics: Normal creature comforts for an Italian mid-engine sports car. (ie. Italian driving position; engine noise; not much head room if you are over 6 feet tall; pedals are offset to the right; gated shifter - ALL Normal as with all mid-engined Lamborghinis, Maserati Bora, All Ferraris etc.) Front of engine cover intrudes into the mid-rear of the cabin - This causes some interference with the manual handbrake as well as a slight decrease in passenger legroom. The stock seats are too short in the back for a 6 footer.

There are a full set of instruments that are clearly visible. Power windows, air conditioning, etc.

There is a large baggage compartment in the rear that provides enough room for: 2 large golf bags; or a weeks worth of groceries; or baggage for a week long getaway etc. There is an additional small trunk for a business bag in the front. The majority of Mid-engine cars do not offer anything comparable to this. I use my car as a daily driver.

Styling/Body: Timeless exotica beauty (Hey, its Italian). Body is of steel monocoque construction -With it however, comes corrosion concerns that it shares with its other Italian brethren.

Maintenance: The car is well supported by the factory and factory authorized suppliers. In addition there are a number of third party vendors that provide stock parts as well as many upgrade parts. There is a large owners network that is available for advice. Finally, the car can be easily economically serviced almost anywhere. For the price of a few of Ferrari or Lamborghini tune-ups you can replace the engine if need be. With upgrades my car is as modern as such a car can be.

Myth: The car is hot in the cabin - Not if you use the available A/C! Alternatively, if you choose to drive with the windows down - the hurricane of wind will surely keep you cool.

Myth: The car overheats - Not if you properly maintain the car and bleed the air from the radiator in accordance with the maintenance instructions. The same maintenance is required of many mid-engined exotics including the Lamborghini Miura.

Myth: It is a Ford. Not quite - it is a DeTomaso. In order to improve the Lincoln/Mercury Brand, Ford entered into an arrangement with DeTomaso Automobili SPA. to market the Pantera in North America under the Lincoln/Mercury banner between 1971 - 1974. The DeTomaso Pantera continued to be manufactured and sold until the early 1990s. A number of other sports car companies have used Ford engines - Lotus for example.

Originally, my car was powered by a 351Cleveland. At the end of 2007, with 105,000 miles, the car's original engine was being replaced with a DeTomaso homologated Ford 8cyl. 4.6 DOHC (Teksid aluminum).

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 25th February, 2008

29th Mar 2008, 00:34

Where did you get a bell housing to fit a ZF Trans axle to a 4.6 modular ford v8?

10th Apr 2008, 13:36

The 4.6 DOHC uses the same bellhousing as originally installed on the ZF.

5th Feb 2023, 14:35

Excellent review of a good looking rare car!

1972 DeTomaso Pantera L 351W from North America


Car has been flawless.

Previous owner installed a hotter engine and re-worked cooling system. I've had no overheating or failures of any kind.

General Comments:

Handling is terrific, acceleration is explosive and top speed is yet to be determined, but is well above 170 mph.

Comfort is subjective, I use aftermarket seats, but leg room is limited.

It may be of interest; I'm handicapped and use a push button clutch actuator.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 13th February, 2008