Not every Italian supercar has a horse or bull on its badge. For those who can't afford a Ferrari or Lamborghini, or who just want to walk a different path, the De Tomaso Pantera is a relatively affordable way into the mid-engined supercar club.
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Jay Leno certainly thinks so. His very own 1971 Pantera is the subject of this week's Jay Leno's Garage.
The Pantera was always a bit of an oddball. Featuring suitably sleek bodywork, it was powered by a 351-cubic-inch "Cleveland" V-8 and sold through Lincoln-Mercury dealerships. The Ford connection made the Pantera relatively accessible, as did its low base price of around $10,000 in 1971.
Today, De Tomaso itself is dormant, but the Pantera is still one of the only mid-engined supercars that's available to the average enthusiast.
Unlike more exotic Italian cars, there are still plenty of parts available for the Pantera, according to Jay and Mike Drew, editor of the Pantera owner's club magazine. There's alsoa substantial aftermarket that can not only help restore a Pantera, but also fix the many flaws the cars left the factory with.
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Of course, mid-engined supercars aren't all about practicality. Describing the Pantera purely as the Toyota Corolla of 1970s Italian performance is selling it a bit short. The styling still looks great over 40 years later, and it's powered by one of the most popular engines to come out of Detroit. Check out the video for more on this interesting footnote in automotive history.