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1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

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1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Dominic Mako on Sun May 27, 2012 7:37 am

De Tomaso has always been a curiosity in the world of exotic Italian cars. Or is it Argentinean? Or is it American? Regardless, in the span of nearly 50 years they've only ever produced a handful of models. The most famous of these was the Pantera.



The Pantera was actually the third model offered by De Tomaso, having replaced the moderately successful Mangusta. There were important lessons learned from the Mangusta regarding handling and chassis construction which were applied to the Pantera. Additionally, De Tomaso constructed the chassis for the 1970 Williams F1 car, which tragically killed driver Piers Courage when the suspension failed (the same year posthumous F1 champion Jochen Rindt was killed in his Lotus).



Unlike the Mangusta, the new car would have a steel monocoque design inspired by this unfortunate F1 experience, but the most important element came from its power plant. De Tomaso secured Ford's 351 Cleveland engine, which was a 5.8L "listed" as producing 300 HP. This is the same M-code engine used in many Mustangs from that era. The reason I mention the listed power is because during this time manufacturers intentionally published HP figures below what they actually were, for insurance purposes. The high compression engine was more likely closer to 330HP. The R-code engine Ford used for the Boss Mustang was tested by Hot Rod Magazine, which they verified by dyno and actually found had 380HP!



The body design was penned by American Tom Tjaarda, who also helped pen the Karman Ghia, Ford Maverick, Chrysler LeBaron, and recently the Shelby Series 2. The shape is reminiscent of the wedge styling that soon would come to dominate cars of the 70s, early 80s, and even some cars today (cough cough Lamborghini) but in this form still displays the muscularity of a 60s sports car.

We have a car designed by an American using a very American power plant, but the Pantera was still coming from a small factory in Italy. As such, this was a flawed beauty. There were a multitude of build quality issues that plagued the car from the moment it rolled off the line. Remember that fancy monocoque design? The Pantera had a nasty habit of trapping water inside the frame, which would cause the entire vehicle to rust from the inside out. A host of new luxury gadgets were included as well, such as power windows and air conditioning, but these too occasionally caused electrical problems and failed.



Ultimately, De Tomaso still sold nearly 6,000 Pantera's through Ford's dealership network until 1975. Those aren't bad numbers for a niche automaker, but probably not exactly what Ford had in mind when they started the partnership. After the dealership agreement ended, De Tomaso continued to produce Pantera models in very low numbers until 1991, at which time the car was pushing 500HP with another Ford V8. The car was even raced at Le Mans as recently as 1994!



Moving on to the car we have in Forza 4, one thing to notice is that the HP numbers don't exactly match up. Where the engine was rated conservatively at 300 hp, Turn 10 decided the real power output should be 311, but the 0-60 numbers are pretty dead on anyway. I can't quite explain that, but here are the other figures:

Price: 45,000cr
Class: C 399
HP: 311
Torque (ftlbs): 380
Weight (lbs): 3155
Distribution: 42%
Displacement: 5.8L
Drive: RWD
Speed: 4.8
Handling: 4.4
Acceleration: 6.7
Launch: 7.3
Braking: 4.2
Gears: 5



I think the best way to look at this car would be as a mid-engined muscle car, because that's what it is. As such, it's got plenty of power and torque on tap, but the positive handling and acceleration attributes of the engine location. Did you like the 1970 Corvette ZR1 from my first review? Then you should love the Pantera. The Pantera has the exact same torque numbers, but less weight to push forward.

Compared to other muscle cars, this option is much lighter partly due to the monocoque design, coming in more than 500 lbs less than those ground pounders and 200 lbs less than the Corvette. Most of the muscle cars in Forza are listed in D class or the bottom of C class. Accordingly, with these handling benefits the Pantera is closer to the top of C class. However, where the muscle cars are basically useless close to their stock configuration, the Pantera is actually a decent car before you ever start adding upgrades. Consider that Corvette was saddled with a 3.8 speed rating, while the Pantera is already at 4.8.

I've upgraded my car into A class, because I felt like it just couldn't quite get the grip down for B class, but I'm sure a tune could be made for it there. In any class, I would strongly recommend a race transmission, as the car's true speed comes out with that added. In the end, it's kind of a tweener car, where it doesn't really have the ideal speed, nor does it have the ideal grip. I've got my car's stats listed below, and I'll have it in the garage for a couple weeks to try out as well.

Spoiler:


Class: A 600
HP: 374
Torque (ftlbs): 3458
Weight (lbs): 2,748
Distribution: 46%
Displacement: 5.8L
Drive: RWD
Speed: 7.1
Handling: 6.6
Acceleration: 7.9
Launch: 8.3
Braking: 6.8



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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Guest on Sun May 27, 2012 11:21 am

As always, a nice read

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Plagued Almond on Sun May 27, 2012 12:19 pm

Dom, another superb review for yet another car we overlook! You have yet to dissapoint! Good on ya'

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Guest on Sun May 27, 2012 1:34 pm

great reviews learn some new things after reading them (such as the Ford V8s in the pantera) Im really surpriced i havent yet bought one of these ingame

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by RetPetty on Sun May 27, 2012 4:21 pm

The only thing missing is mentioning how awesome the car sounds Wink

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Dominic Mako on Sun May 27, 2012 9:06 pm

I've had the opportunity to see a couple Panteras in real life before. The rear tires on the Panteras I saw were the BIGGEST I've ever seen on a street legal car in my life. They were I believe early 80s versions, so I'm sure they were quite a bit different than this first model.

Incidentally, it might be hard to notice in the picture, but the car I added does have kind of a brownish burlap effect as the livery. It's not really carbon fibre, but my own sort of creation.

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by SnippetyOggy86 on Sun May 27, 2012 9:24 pm

I'll be sure to give this a try. The last one you did was great fun and i think it may have turned into a mini rivals all on its own. By the time i'd shown up to Sunset club there was already 3-4 times on the board.

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Plagued Almond on Sun May 27, 2012 9:53 pm

Dom that "burlap", as you call it, is the first thing i noticed Razz Second thing was you had Rossi as a driver under your name Smile

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by slasher99999 on Sun May 27, 2012 11:19 pm

I also was able to see a Pantera in person, it is a nice car,

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by RetPetty on Sun May 27, 2012 11:21 pm

miura vs pantera - a class Smile

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Dominic Mako on Mon May 28, 2012 12:12 am

In your pic Slasher the car had gained some of the unfortunate stylings of the mid-80s. Namely, the Countach-esque rear wing and plastic body parts to imitate a widebody.

Although not the same car I saw, this one below has some of the larger tires, and it's on a 1971 model to boot:


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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by slasher99999 on Mon May 28, 2012 12:17 am

Yeah, the ones without all the extra bits look better. And speaking about the Countash, I Wish it had a wing delete option, you could get it like that as a factory option. (It. Was faster like that too.)

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Guest on Mon May 28, 2012 12:20 am

Nice review once again Dom! I'm gonna drive it right now! Smile

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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by B4D B0Y69 on Mon May 28, 2012 9:10 am

I like the idea of an MSM mini rivals! Have you set any times in this, Dom? If so, which track(s)? I'm going to have another go in the Cobra as well. That's one fast car but with only 8 laps I wasn't doing it any justice on Sun club (over a second behind your 300+ time).
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Re: 1971 De Tomaso Pantera review

Post by Dominic Mako on Mon May 28, 2012 2:51 pm

I haven't set a leaderboard time in this car that I can recall, and to be honest I think it's because it's not a particularly great car at any track yet. It's not a bad car by any means, as I actually won a race vs. some random MSM members at Laguna Seca just a couple days before this review was posted. I think because my tune is a bit lacking in speed, tracks where the Lotus is king would be the likely candidates.

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