Mythical cars you can own in slot form (and are great fun): De Tomaso Pantera

What kind of car was the De Tomaso Pantera?

A mid-engined V8 sportscar launched in 1970, combining the best of two worlds: italian design and american muscle.

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Its debut in the automotive scene has to do pretty much with a well known story, recently taken to the big screen: Ford vs Ferrari. The way things evolved between them had interesting consequences for the motorsport world: first was the birth of the Ford GT40, the unforgetable battles on track between GT40s and the 330 P4’s. And, from a more commercial perspective, the fact that Ford was still looking for alternatives to add a reasonable sportscar to its car lineup; something not as radical as the GT40, that could challenge the commercial success of the Chevrolet Corvette.

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Ford and Ferrari. Two automotive giants in their own was. Their disagreement was translated into epic track battles that will remain forever in racing history.

As Ford was looking for partnerships and/or alliances that could come up with a product proposal capable of challenging the Chevy Corvette, in terms of reasonable production costs and a reliable and well known powertrain, De Tomaso’s proposal convinced Ford.

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De Tomaso, standing next to his creature: the Pantera.

To summarise the result, it was due to the collaboration of Tom Tjaarda, a Ghia designer, the well known Gianpaolo Dallara was responsible for the chassis, gearbox coming directly from the GT40, and the Mustang’s V8.

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The heart of the Pantera: a healthy V8.

And this is how our mythical car in 1:1 scale was born.

SPORTING SUCCESS?

It wasn’t a regular winner, although in some cases it amassed success in national championships such as the ones in Portugal. Internationally it achieved interesting results such as a 3rd place in the Vallelunga 6 hours in 1977, or 9th place overall at Le Mans 1979.

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A Pantera in its natural habitat: a racetrack.

Years later, in one if its most popular updates, the one by Ada Engineering in 1994, the Pantera become one of the most exotic entries in the BPR Series, next to the Ferrari F40, McLaren F1, Porsche 911 GT3, Venturi 600 LM, or the magnificent (in my opinion) Lotus Esprit S300 V8. It provided some american muscle sound to the BPR grid, thanks to its 6 liter V8 Ford coming directly from the Nascar series. In the Web Resources section of this article, there’s a link to a video where you will be able to see it doing some pre-season testing.

VALORAR LA VERSIÓN DE SLOT

Great fun! I’m one of those “aficionados” who prefer having tons of fun at the expense of lap time records. This Pantera by Scaleauto/MSC provides a track behaviour, that seems to portray the image we all have of 70s sportscats: tons of oversteer. This, that could mean big trouble if you are with a slot car very performance oriented, isn’t the case with these Panteras. It’s their signature. Permanent drifting in each curve, wheelspin as soon as you’re too optimistic coming out of each curve….. Therefore, this is one of those slot cars you’ll have to really learn to drive; as soon as you grab it by the horns, you’ll feel like Dominic Toretto. And if driven very meticulously, reasonable lap times will start to pop up. Reminds me of this very honest approach: “To be fast, you’ve got to drive slow”.  In my opinion, the Pantera is a great slot car driving school.

 

WHAT OTHER SLOT VERSIONS ARE THERE AVAILABLE?

In this article, I’m presenting two versions by MSC/Scaleauto. Curiously, there are visible differences, which is interesting because we’re talking practically about the same brand (MSC in time became Scaleauto). Being both sidewinder configurations, you can see the a more elaborate chassis in the MSC version (left), which includes an engine cradle, against a simpler monopiece chassis for the Scaleauto (right).

There’s another Pantera R-series version by Scaleauto, which I’m storing for a future article, which is in the making. The R-Series, with its anglewinder configuration and large case engine is another story. Stay tuned for that future test.

Carrera offers this version of the Pantera, which appear to be period correct, and bringing up thos Group 4-Group 5 times, bringing back all those fins and body kits madness.  As usual, the finish quality is among the best the slot car industry can offer.

It’s mechanicals still provide sturdiness and durability. It’s racetrack dynamics have generated not few opinion contrasts between slotcar aficionados in Spain. Their habitat are the display case to enjoy its faithful reproduction of the originals, and home tracks.

TheArea71, a small brand with little production series also announced back in the day, the adding of the Pantera to their lineup. I haven’t had the pleasure yet to be able to test one of them. Click here to access an article about it by Slotcar-today.

WEB RESOURCES

In this video, you can enjoy an introduction to the MclarenF1 and the DeTomaso Pantera for the 1995 BPR Series. If you’re only interested in the Pantera, go straight to min 2:06.

In this other video, let’s sit next to Mr. Jochen Mass, a true racing legend, taking a Pantera for a spin, at the Le Mans Classic de 2016. Enjoy the healthy sound of that V8.

 

In the blog group SlotAdictos, one of its members -nickname Atkao- published back in the day, a very interesting article with a documentation and details level hard to see in a blog. An article that conveys racing spirit, stories, and all the ups and downs a single racecar unit can accumulate during its life. Hope Google translates this in an understandable way for all of you. I personally found it very interesting: https://slotadictos.mforos.com/966558/11393629-de-tomaso-pantera-gr4-o-similar-version-adaptada-a-mi-gusto/

There’s a great photographic database for the Pantera (and most racecars as well) , available here:https://www.racingsportscars.com/type/photo/de%20tomaso/pantera.html.

Hope you enjoyed reading this post about a legendary sportscar which we can admire both in the display case and in our home racetrack.

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