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1972 Detomaso Pantera - Il Rosso Rocchetto (The Red Rocket)
This Mid-Engine Modified Is More Fun Than A Barrel Of Monkeys
Those of you into DeTomaso Panteras will probably wince when you read this article because Barry Bloomberg's Pantera story isn't the ordinary-it's the extraordinary. Barry found this '72 Pantera 250 miles away from home, in Portland, Oregon. A disappointed seller, who bought the car as an investment years ago, unloaded the 24,000-mile original Italian sports car for just $28,000. Call it an opportunity missed for a whole lot of passionate Pantera enthusiasts because it was a smokin' deal at the price and condition. Barry was there to snap it up.
When Barry saw his Pantera for the first time, it was white, original, had been sitting for 10 years, and wouldn't start. A lot needed to be done to get it in running condition. He and his son, Joe, went to work on it-keeping the car's original and important nuances-yet weaving elements into its re-creation that made it safer and more fun to drive. Because 351C engines are becoming harder to find these days, Barry and Joe decided to build a 408ci Windsor small-block to make this a Pantera supercar with big-block displacement.
Barry isn't a Pantera purist. He's into all kinds of automobiles by evidence of his current collection: a '32 Ford coupe, a '66 427 Corvette, a '67 Shelby GT350, a couple of Porsches, and a '63 Fairlane Sport Coupe with 289 Hi-Po. He has a gut instinct for what to do and what not to do. And when the mood hits, we're convinced he will park something fresh and exciting in his garage in order to spark envy among the masses. We know something else about Barry, too. He's not a bragger. He quietly enjoys his collection and is happy to share it with those who can appreciate its value.
On a warm July evening, Barry shared his collection with us. His '63 Fairlane Sport Coupe is a pristine original he allowed us to photograph. He also wheeled out this throaty Pantera restomod with an attitude. The 408W stroker idles with a crisp demeanor, ready to take on any stretch of highway, including the twisties. It roars as good as it cruises. The beauty of this ride from across the pond is its versatility-ready to do just about anything at any time. It's ready for a cross-country cruise or a blast through the canyons. When we hooked up with Barry, he had just returned from Las Vegas, hundreds of miles away.
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In the true spirit of hot Italian sports cars, Barry's Pantera is painted Ferrari Red, carefully applied by the Auto Body Clinic in Medford, Oregon. Because it was important for Barry to maintain the car's original appearance, he opted away from hot body mods and bizarre ground effects. He instead went with things you can't see to improve handling, braking, and power. Underneath, he used racing-style Wilwood disc brakes and brute coilover shocks. He stayed with what worked so well 35 years ago and stepped up to more advanced technology for what didn't. The Wilwoods provide exceptional stopping power compared to the car's original discs. Kinesis 17x10-inch wheels in front and 17x12-inch in back give those BFGoodrich G-Force radials terrific contact patch.
Aside from changing the color, building a stroker, and upgrading brakes, Barry has kept this low-mileage original as close to factory condition as possible. The interior remains unmolested, with just 28,000 miles on the clock. All of the modifications that have improved the car remain bolt-ons that can always be changed if ever the need arises to return to stock. Call it constructive restomod upgrades that are reversible. This demonstrates Barry's respect for the car's heritage and spirit.