De Tomaso Pantera 1971
The Pantera, a product of the former Italian sport-car maker, De Tomaso, featured plenty of American engineering under its svelte, exotic bodywork. Co-developed by Ford, under the supervision of then-vice president, Lee Iacocca, the Pantera was meant to rekindle the exotic-car fires at Ford, which was first established by the Ford GT40. To give the car a more European flavor, Iacocca brought in Alejandro De Tomaso to join the project.
Ford wanted to sell the Pantera in large numbers and in order to do so, Iacocca knew it needed to have a low price tag. So despite the expensive, exotic looking bodywork – penned by Tom Tjaarda of Carrozeria Ghia – it came equipped with a Ford V8 that was suited for mass production.
The mid-engine Pantera made its debut with a 5.8L OHV V8 351 with CDI that produced 330 HP and 325.4 ft-lb of torque, providing both power and performance equal or better than other rivals of its day. While not powered by their own engine like other Italian brands, it was a project that made perfect sense, taking the best of both worlds from the American and Italian car industries.