De Tomaso Pantera

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Saddled with the misfortune of interacting with suburban car buffs and their speech patterns rife with dull pretense, I navigated my way through my local Cars and Coffee meetup under the lightly painted sky of an early winter morning. Over-tuned plastic boxes and novelty projects dominated the swelling car lot, providing a backdrop of testosterone and desperate preening in which I hoped to find something to fill my desire. Near a pair of casual local cops, I discovered the elusive elegance of what I sought.


While it appears to be a forgettable, sporty European coupé, the original Pantera had ambitions beyond The Continent. Evidence of this is readily scene in the power windows and air conditioning, features one might not expect from something mid-engined and Italian. Less obviously, the 5.8L V8 engine has the torque to reduce need for low end gear shifting, making it easier to drive (read: lug) in urban areas. Put this all together with notably dampened engine noise and you begin to see the unusual transcending ambitions of the 70s sports car. Despite some flaws with rust and cabin size, it was picked up by Ford and imported until the mid-1970s.

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The taut lines and reflectively aggressive form mix well with mechanistic undertones to create a sporty ride that retains a timeless feel despite its Nixon-era styling. Yet, I can't help but wonder if this is truly an expression of good design or just latent hipster attraction.