De Tomaso Pantera
Not as famous as Ferrari or Lamborghini, De Tomaso is another legend of the Italian sports car scene from the ‘60s. Argentinean Alejandro De Tomaso founded the company, which started as a race car outfit. But soon it moved to the sports car market with a lineup of successful models. They featured a Ford small block engine, five-speed transaxle gearbox, and an aggressive design.
The first car was the De Tomaso Mangusta they introduced in 1967. But the Pantera they introduced in 1969 proved to be more successful and popular, even though it shared lots with the Mangusta. But the key to the Pantera’s success was that Alejandro De Tomaso made a deal with the Ford Motor Company.
That meant they could sell De Tomaso products officially in America through the Lincoln-Mercury dealership network. Ford provided the engines and De Tomaso did the rest. So, the Pantera was a home run for this small company. When they ended the production in 1989, De Tomaso had built over 7,000 Panteras. In fact, even Elvis Presley owned one.