My Car Quest

October 5, 2022

Why Are There So Many Styles Of Pantera Bumpers?


by Mike –

Recently I attended the Palo Alto Concours where there were many Panteras on display. I love to look at a Pantera but I do not know very much about them. I am now very curious why there were so many different bumper styles over such a short period when the rest of the body style did not change much, if at all.

De Tomaso Pantera

This is what I know

The Pantera replaced the Mangusta in 1970. Tom Tjaarda, at Ghia, designed the Pantera using a steel monocoque chassis design. The Pantera made its public debut in Modena, Italy in March 1970 and was presented at the 1970 New York Motor Show shortly thereafter.

Initially Panteras were powered by a Ford 351 cid V8 engine that produced 330 hp. Four-wheel disc brakes and rack and pinion steering were standard equipment. The Pantera accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 5.5 seconds – which is very quick even today.

De Tomaso Pantera

From 1971 through 1975 Panteras were sold in the United States through Lincoln Mercury dealers. In 1972 a new Ford 351 cid engine with 248 hp was used plus other changes were made, including the addition of a factory exhaust header. Changes were also made to meet new emission regulations in the United States market.

Approximately 5,500 Panteras were sold in the United States with a grand total of approximately 7,260 being produced.

The L, Lusso, version was introduced in 1972 with the large black bumpers to satisfy safety regulations in the American market. This explains this one bumper style but not all of the others shown here.

De Tomaso Pantera

The question: why so many different bumper styles?

De Tomaso Pantera

Small Chrome Bumpers

De Tomaso Pantera

Small Black Bumpers

De Tomaso Pantera

Big Black Bumpers

De Tomaso Pantera

Black Rear Bumper That Goes All The Way

De Tomaso Pantera

Chrome Rear Bumpers That Go Only Half Way

De Tomaso Pantera

Black Bumper With The Parking Light Enclosed Within The Bumper

De Tomaso Pantera

Chrome Bumper With The Parking Light Enclosed Within The Bumper

De Tomaso Pantera

No Bumper In Front

De Tomaso Pantera

No Bumper In Back

De Tomaso Pantera

Big Chrome Bumper

I think this covers just about all of the options possible with bumpers.

I am sure that several of you know the answer – please share the answer in the Comments.

De Tomaso Pantera

Panteras Everywhere And One Mangusta

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  1. Mark Charlton says

    The simple answer to the question is that over a 20+ year production run of the Pantera, changes were made. Additionally, the bumper requirements for North America were/are different than “the rest of the world” which also accounts for why some changes occurred.

    Essentially, all early (1971) Panteras were shipped with small chrome front and rear bumpers. The front bumpers incorporated the signal lights as an integral unit. The “first” series of bumpers had flat inside ends and the “second” series are more rounded. There were some other small sub-variants that are more likely due to various local craftsman supplying De Tomaso with parts than planned changes.

    Changing American crash standards necessitated the move to a larger front bumper that was mounted to shock absorbing struts. Same for the rear bumper. These were all black both ends. While some 1972 cars were so equipped, most 1973 and pretty much all 1974 cars shipped with these larger bumpers. The reason for the vagueness is that it was common at De Tomaso for cars to be pulled out of VIN sequence and finished earlier or later for a variety of reasons. Consequently it is almost impossible to establish firm change-over points by production date OR VIN.

    When the Pantera was no longer being imported into the US (officially anyway), the larger front US bumper was deleted in favour of a return to smaller units — but without the integral signal light housings as these had by then been incorporated into the bodywork (from around late 1972 onwards).

    SOME Euro cars retained the full one-piece US rear bumpers. Most were black, but I have seen chromed units that “might” have originated at the factory. Most of the “Euro” Panteras were equipped with small rear bumpers as all early cars were — however some rear bumpers were wider than others. The bumper width seems to be related to the width of the rear licence plate panel, of which there (as far as I know) are at least two sizes.

    I believe that only the later Pantera GT5 and GT5-S cars were supplied with small black (vs. chromed) front and rear bumpers. Things get further complicated by the re-introduction of US imports via Amerisport, as they developed several of their own bumper variations for the cars they brought in (mostly GT5-S models).

    Some of the bumpers in you collection of photos are in fact one-offs (that large full-width chrome front bumper), or are reproduction units created by the Pantera parts vendors to satisfy demand for the more (to most) aesthetically-pleasing smaller front and rear bumpers.

    I hope that helps to provide some clarity.


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