Maybe not as famous as Ferrari or Lamborghini, De Tomaso is another legend of the Italian sports car scene from the ‘60s. Started by Argentinean Alejandro De Tomaso, the company first began as a racing car outfit. But soon they moved on to sports cars with a lineup of successful models. They featured Ford small block engines, five-speed transaxle gearboxes, and aggressive designs.
The first car was the De Tomaso Mangusta, which they introduced in 1967. However, the Pantera they introduced in 1969 proved to be far more successful and popular, even though it shared a lot with the Mangusta. The key to the Pantera’s success was that Alejandro DeTomaso made an exclusive deal with the Ford Motor Company.
And that meant Ford could officially sell De Tomaso products in America through the Lincoln-Mercury dealership network. Ford provided the engines and De Tomaso did the rest, making the Pantera was a home run for this small company. When they ended production in 1989, De Tomaso built over 7,000 Panteras. In fact, even Elvis Presley owned one.