Evan J. Smith
Freelancer
November 3, 2015
Photos By: Henry De Los Santos

Of the many introductions at the 2015 SEMA show, few drew more people than the latest Chip Foose designed 1971 De Tomaso Pantera that was revealed in the Magnaflow booth. Foose’s Overhaulin’ co-host, Chris Jacobs, presented the car, after giving a short speech, and then yanking the covering off the brightly painted and low-slung Pantera.

“This is typical Foose work,” Jacobs said in his upbeat voice, “the wheels are larger, but they are his version of a Pantera wheel. It has subtle touches like the marker lights and the push-button door handles—and it has a 351 Cleveland engine. He wanted to maintain the integrity of the car,” Jacobs added.

Powered by a Ford engine, the Pantera was built by De Tomaso from 1971-1992 (though it was only sold in the U.S. until 1974), and it utilizes a mid-engine design featuring a steel monocoque chassis. Early models came with the 351 Cleveland and a 302 was even used from 1990-1992. Motivation for the 1971 Foose Pantera comes from a rebuilt 351 Ford Cleveland engine, which Jacob stated was massaged for a little more power. The Ford powerplant is backed by a factory ZF five-speed transaxle that’s also been rebuilt and finely detailed. The sleek Pantera has the panache of an Italian sports car with the oomph of an American V8, and they certainly have a strong following.

Foose’s version captures the original spirit of the Ford-powered sports car, while kicking up the volume in just the right places. The Cleveland engine has been rebuilt and finished with dazzling blue paint and current Ford Performance valve covers, and the engine bay is devoid of anything, save for the 351 and the ZF gearbox. Those custom Foose wheels look befitting of a Pantera—they feature a period look, yet have loads of modern flair. Exhaust builder, Magnaflow, even kicked in, building an exhaust that uses modern materials and technology, but screams with a hearty rumble.

Surprisingly, Foose left the interior and exterior mostly stock. He added his own two-spoke steering wheel, then finished the interior in black leather and let the chrome bezels and gated shifter speaks for itself. As for the body, it was left clean and simply pops with a perfect red paint job that is fitting of such a car. With plenty more to see, stay tuned to Mustang-360.com, we’ll be back with many more cool stories and amazing Fords. You can catch Foose and Jacobs on Overhaulin’, which starts it’s new season on Velocity tomorrow with two back-to-back episodes.

Vehicle Features:

Rebuilt 351 Cleveland engine
Euro-spec push-button door release and pocket
Euro-spec side-marker lamps
Lowered ride height
Custom two-spoke Pantera steering wheel
Custom Foose wheels