De Tomaso Pantera Group 4 Competition Coupe

Alejandro de Tomaso is remembered as a carmaker and entrepreneur, but down near his core lived a racing driver. In addition to sports car rides with Maserati and OSCA, his competition resume included two Formula One starts in 1957. But by the time his 30th birthday came along in 1958, it had become clear to the Argentine-born Italian that his future lay somewhere other than the world’s racing circuits.

In 1959, he established De Tomaso Automobili, beginning a long and storied career as a creator of racing machines (early clients included Frank Williams) and fast, sexy street cars. A variety of sports and GT cars emerged from de Tomaso’s Modena headquarters, but of them all, the Pantera is easily the best known, as well as the most numerous. And of the 7,260 Panteras produced over a 20-year run, Competition Coupés are the rarest examples.

A successor to – and with its monocoque chassis, a substantial improvement on – the earlier Mangusta, the mid-engined Pantera made its world debut in 1970. Rather than unveil the new car at Geneva or Turin, de Tomaso startled the European sports car establishment by choosing the New York auto show for the Pantera’s premier.

While the production Pantera was playing to rave reviews in New York, plans were already underway for a racing version, conceived primarily for FIA Group 4 sports car racing, where it would contend with Ferraris and Porsches, although the factory also developed a car for the less demanding Group 3 specification, which catered to the privateer gentleman drivers.

This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in October of 2009 at the Battersea Evolution, London.

560 bhp, 5,763 cc overhead valve V8 engine, four Weber carburettors, five-speed manual gearbox, independent front suspension with upper and lower wishbones with coil springs, adjustable shock absorbers and antiroll bar, independent rear suspension with upper and lower wishbones, coil springs, radius rod and antiroll bar, four-wheel vented disc brakes. Wheelbase: 99".

Source: RM Auctions

Gallery: De Tomaso Pantera Group 4 Competition Coupe