Not Your Average Pantera, Meet BLKPNTR [VIDEO]
When the Ferrari-Ford deal failed to come to fruition, Ford continued to be on the lookout for an Italian sports car to partner with. Their GT40 had finally brought American muscle to the European racing tracks, winning LeMans 1966 through ‘69. But Ford still wanted a more accessible Italian-styled car to bring to the US masses. Enter De Tomaso. Their late-60s Mangusta had caused a stir in domestic markets and Ford took notice, partnering with the firm to make the De Tomaso Pantera. Powered by a Ford 351-Cleveland – the idea was exotic sports car looks with a dependable US engine. The car wasn’t without its hiccups though, and with sales being lower than expected, 1974 was the last year Ford imported Panteras. While the model wasn’t entirely successful, as years pass by the Pantera proves its timelessness as one of the few sports cars from the ‘70s still appreciated. The Pantera International club notes that, “Today Panteras are among the most bulletproof of exotic Italian cars on the road and, as a result, they are far cheaper to run and own than Ferraris, Maseratis and Lamborghinis due to De Tomaso and Ford’s fortuitous choice of an off-the-shelf Mustang engine.”1 Tony Ortiz, the owner of this specially-customized “BLKPNTR” Pantera, has always appreciated the Pantera’s sleek and powerful lines. When he purchased this 1973 De Tomaso Pantera with plans of restoring it, significant rust on the front end was discovered and the project got a “face lift”. Choosing to take it in a more modern direction, the Pantera would be sandwiched with a ’06 GT40 front and rear clip. Since the GT body components were plastic, Tony and the crew working at his “On Call” refrigeration business (where the entire project went down) used the purchased clips as a mold in order to make metal ones that would then be welded on and worked into the original Pantera’s body. Tony choose to stay with the revered 351-Cleveland engine which received a full beauty treatment and wire tuck in its rear-mounted cavity. In between the custom made seats, a see-through panel lets you view the engine from the passenger compartment…what engine enthusiast wouldn’t love that?! We first stumbled upon BLKPNTR at Cars & Coffee, but Tony makes it out to numerous events in So Cal, even though he lives in Arizona. Enjoy the video and seeing the BLKPNTR in action and if you see Tony at a show, be sure to say "hi" and check out this unique and well-built car! Doesn’t it look like it was made to be?
1"About the Marque." Pantera International. <http://www.panteracars.com/marque.html>
Video: Araik Yegiazaryan | Words: Kristin Cline