My Car Quest

August 17, 2022

DeTomaso Pantera Targa – The Car Ford Should Have Made

by Wallace Wyss –

Writing about DeTomaso is perilous for historians because the company’s history is full of dark secrets (one great rumor is that DeTomaso bought Ghia for peanuts from a dictator’s son when said son was in jail).

The DeTomaso Pantera’s production numbers are not so cut and dried, like Ferraris. There is no expert the equal of the Ferrari world’s Marcel Massini. It is known there were a handful of factory Targas made from Pantera GT5-S coupes, a car model made after DeTomaso and Ford parted ways.

DeTomaso Pantera Targa

DeTomaso Pantera Targa

The owner of this open car, Michael Elio, residing in the US, says only about 50 of the GT5-S coupes made it to the US… Of those, his is the only known Targa Pantera in North and South America. That was the ‘gray market’ era when private conversion shops would add what was needed to meet US laws.

Ironically today you don’t have to have a GT5-S converted to meet US laws anymore due to the so-called ‘Bill Gates law’ where Bill Gates, coveting a non-conforming Porsche 959, got a law passed giving exemptions to imported non-conforming cars made in small numbers.

DeTomaso Pantera Targa

Elio’s car has lettering on the side but no stripes and has about 26k miles on it. It is basically stock, except for a modern fuel injection system, and the wheels, which are Kinesis 18×11 front and 19×13 rear. The tires are Michelin Pilot Sports, 285/30 front, and 345/30 rear.

Elio goes on to say: “There were about 6 GT5-S Pavesi Targa Panteras made. There is also the prototype that was not originally a GT5-S, but was converted to one later… I’m not sure if that one is included in the 6. Add to that the 4 Si Pavesi Targas, and it seems there were about 10 or so Pavesi Targa Panteras made in total… that’s all! The roof panel stores under the decklid. I just rest it across the trunk insert… it fits nicely there.”

DeTomaso Pantera Targa

When DeTomaso began offering the Si, they had Windsor engines because they ran out of Clevelands. All of the 41 Si Panteras had 5.0L fuel injected Mustang motors in them.

Of those 41 Si Panteras, Mr. Elio states four were Pavesi Targas. Of those four, 2 had the only 6 speed (Getrag) transaxles that came in a Pantera from the factory. No factory Si Pantera has made it to the US. Pavesi is a well known coachbuilder in Italy, though now they mostly build commercial vehicles.

A good estimate of value could be made using the example of another Italian car (Iso Grifo) that came stock with a Chevy and later a Ford v8 — at that time sporting styling by Giugiaro. The fact that there is a larger number of Iso Grifo Targas compared to the Pantera Targa hasn’t hurt them. Only fourteen Series I (open headlamp) Iso Grifo Targas were made and only four series II (closed headlamp) Targas were built. Of course over 7000 Panteras were made compared to only 402 Iso Grifos in total so overall, Isos are a much rarer brand. An Iso Grifo Targa could still bring more than a Pantera Targa because the general public doesn’t know the build quality of the cut Panteras and doesn’t know of the firm Pavesi.

When I asked Mr. Elio the value of the car he reported that GT5-S Pantera coupes are fast approaching the $300k mark, with one recently selling for $273k! The rarity of GT5-S Panteras in general puts an owner of one in a very exclusive club, but to own a Pavesi Targa Pantera puts you in a league of your own. In terms of numbers produced, the factory Pantera Targas number about the same as the factory Pantera race cars, making them quite rare and valuable!

Michael Elio is estimating his open Pantera to be worth upwards of $500k. It is currently for sale, and Mr. Elio can be reached at: cyboman@rocketmail.com for further details.

De Tomaso Pantera Targa

The author painted a portrait of a Pantera GT5-S Targa, SN unknown….

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss art

THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss has authored three books on DeTomaso. His artwork will be on sale at Concorso Italiano in August during Monterey Car Week.

 
 
 
 
 

The Pantera Si Targa

As few people know, the Pantera had a redesign by Marcello Gandini, a rival to Tjjarda, who did the first one for Ford, and famous for his own work on Lamborghini. He changed the nose, widened the rear, installed a huge spoiler elevated Dodge Daytona style. I’ll leave it to the Pantera International editors to decide how many Sis were made, I’ll guess round 40.

Now how many were sent to Pavesi to make into Targas, I’ve only seen two. Theoretically as you near the end of any given collector car series it’s worth more than any made except the first one made.

So if you like the last Pantera’s styling and you like the Targa, this is the one to have.

1993 De Tomaso Pantera SI Targa by Pavesi

1993 De Tomaso Pantera SI Targa by Pavesi

1993 De Tomaso Pantera SI Targa by Pavesi

1993 De Tomaso Pantera SI Targa by Pavesi

Summary
DeTomaso Pantera Targa - The Car Ford Should Have Made
Article Name
DeTomaso Pantera Targa - The Car Ford Should Have Made
Description
Writing about DeTomaso is perilous for historians because the company's history is full of dark secrets.
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Comments

  1. SKIP HINOJOS says

    I SAW NO MENTION OF REFORTAFY8ING THE FRAME TO COMPENSATE FOR THE LOSS OF STRUCTURE WHEN THEY MADE A TARA OUT OF IT. THIS WOULD BE A NIGHTMARE FOR HANDLING

  2. Wallace Wyss says

    I have read messages from those who examined the car and they say it is well fortified to the task of being an open car, Pavesi are a professional car factory. Of targas cut down in the US, I’d worry they didn’t do all the structural work because I have seen how much body flex there is on a coupe Pantera on a race track. It’s not an easy car to convert.

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