There can be no denying that this is one of the most unique and unusual Panteras ever built by De Tomaso. It was a custom-built version of the De Tomaso Pantera GTS that had been tailor made for Tony Mantas, a personal friend of Alejandro De Tomaso, and a man who had very specific ideas about how he wanted his Pantera to look and perform.
Over the course of its fascinating life this car would live in Italy and Switzerland with journeys across Europe as far away as Sweden and possibly Greece.
The international man of mystery tour ended abruptly in 1985 when the car was confiscated by the Italian Polizia Stradale for using non-valid number plates.
The “Prototipo Tony Mantas” Pantera GTS
When ordering his brand new De Tomaso Pantera GTS in the mid-1970s Tony Mantas supplied a thorough list of modifications he wanted done.
After it was delivered the car was returned to De Tomaso a number of times for further modifications – all of which seem to have made the car even more eye-catching that it had been previously.
Above Image: The unusual “Prototipo” De Tomaso Pantera GTS with its unusual wheel arches and front/rear spoiler is immediately recognizable.
When it was first ordered the car the internal build memo at De Tomaso read:
“No Pantera script on the side, vehicle as low as possible, dashboard in white leather, the area below the small gauges on the dashboard shall also be in white leather as well as the inside door covers. A “T” shall be fitted in the middle of the radiator. EE plates requested, no rear bumper, free flow exhaust system”
At some point the factory also fitted Group 4-style wheel arch flares, extended rocker panels, different alloy wheels, a deep front spoiler, and a Lancia Stratos-style roof spoiler.
De Tomaso kept an internal file on this car, including every invoice issued to Mantas, and also all the work done, how many hours it took and which mechanic did the work.
It’s believed that the car was returned to De Tomaso in 1977 for some work, during this time the engine was bored out to 7.0 litres. In 1978 Tony once again sent the car back to De Tomaso – he wanted a new red and white paint job with a see-through glass roof and a wooden interior.
At some point in the future the car was returned to its original specification.
De Tomaso Pantera GTS – Specifications
The De Tomaso Pantera was in production from 1971 until 1992, a remarkably long life for a mid-engined supercar. The car was styled by American-born designer Tom Tjaarda and it used stamped steel unibody construction rather than the body on a steel backbone chassis-type construction used by the outgoing Mangusta model.
The Pantera GTS was a higher-performance version of the car first released in 1971.
It featured a high-compression Ford Cleveland V8 with solid lifters, a low-restriction performance exhaust, a forged aluminum alloy intake manifold, ventilated disc brakes, and a different steering rack.
Above Images: The car was photographed outside a restaurant in Stockholm, Sweden in September 1976.
The GTS was also fitted with larger wheels and tired which necessitated flared wheel arches, and they had black trim with GTS badging.
The car produced 330 bhp and it has a top speed of 160 mph, some later versions produced 355 bhp thanks to engines being supplied by Ford Australia.
Tony Mantas’ Prototipo Pantera GTS – For Sale
This car’s history is notable for its seven year stay in police custody in Italy. Tony Mantas would never reacquire the car and it would stay in police custody until it was sold at a judicial auction to a gentleman in Bologna in late 1992.
Fortunately this new owner had the car totally restored and then maintained it in excellent condition. It remained in his ownership for 18 years between 1992 and 2010, and today the car is still accompanied by hundreds of documents outlining all the work that’s been done over the past 45+ years.
Tony Mantas’ former De Tomaso Pantera GTS is now due to cross the auction block with Artcurial in Paris on the 5th of February with a price estimate of €180,000 to €200,000.
If you’d like to read more about it or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.
Images: 2021© Guido Bissantini courtesy of Artcurial
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