The promise of Italian-American hybrids was that we could have the best of both worlds. No, the term had nothing to do with batteries and fuel economy but rather European styling mated to a reliable American powertrain. There were numerous examples of this sweet pairing—Shelby, Intermeccanica, ISO, and others.
Perhaps the most successful of these hybrids, other than the Shelby Cobra, was the DeTomaso Pantera. Named for its Argentine founder, Alejandro de Tomaso, this was a Ford partnership, with a 351-cid “Cleveland” engine sitting behind the driver and Ford’s U.S. dealer network providing sales and service. The Pantera was DeTomaso’s longest-lived model, offered from 1971–92 (albeit without Ford’s direct involvement after 1974). It featured a sleek, mid-engine design by Ghia mated to that 330-hp V-8.
This eBay listing is for an early example with small chrome bumpers, described as “pre-L” in the listing. These early cars lacked the larger plastic bumpers and lower-compression engines of later Lusso examples.
This sale is offered with no reserve, and at the time of this writing bidding was well below Hagerty’s $70,000 #3 (good) value. It is missing details like insignias and original wheels, but according to the seller, it “starts, runs, and drives well.”
If this your opportunity to drive an exotic Italian car for used Toyota money, or is it a money pit in red paint?