When you are looking to add to your classic car collection, you want to find something that has the wow factor. Exotic good looks can be part of that equation, and on a certain level, there is no substitute for raw beauty.
A car that captures your attention like a magnet by virtue of its appearance is something special, and, in most cases, a well-designed body will have something special under the hood as well. Plus, you can soup-up the engine if you want to, but it is more difficult to make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear when it comes to the body style.
Rarity is another factor that makes a huge difference. A cool-looking car with a powerful engine is great, but if millions of them were produced, the value as a collectible will be limited. This is true even if the car is quite old. You should certainly research the production numbers before you make any assumptions with regard to rarity.
For many baby boomers, the cars that were around during the 1970s are especially appealing, because they bring back memories. One vehicle that some of us caught rare glimpses of back in the day is the De Tomaso Pantera.
De Tomaso was an Italian company centered in Modena (Italy’s Motor City or “Capitol of Engines”), though the founder, Alejandro de Tomaso, was born in Argentina. The Pantera was introduced at major auto shows in 1970, and the first specimens were sold the following year.
The sleek sports car was originally designed by Tom Tjaarda, who was from the United States, and it was a stunner from the get-go. In 1971 the De Tomaso Pantera was powered by the Ford Cleveland V8, a 351-cubic inch powerhouse that was rated at 330 horsepower. (However, people in the know scoffed at this conservative rating.) It had a mid-engine, rear-wheel-drive layout, and during that initial model year it reportedly maxed out at 159 miles per hour. The zero to 60 time was a rapid 5.5 seconds.
Production of the De Tomaso Pantera continued through 1992, and, as a collectible, it meets all of our standards. The car is beautiful, it’s fast, it stems from the right era, and it is extremely rare: There were just 7260 of them produced, and there were only 1007 imported to America in 1971.
I’m not the most interesting man in the world, and I’m not the man who has everything. But if I was either, I’d drink Dos Equis, and I’d own a 1971 De Tomaso Pantera.