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1972De Tomaso Pantera Group 5
1972 De Tomaso Pantera Group 5
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Chassis No.THPNMB 02343
Originaler Pantera in Gruppe 4/5 Ausführung • eines der wenigen Autos mit Le Mans Geschichte • ideal für Veranstaltungen wie Le Mans Classic, Oldtimer GP, Tour Auto
Original Pantera in Group 4/5 spec • one of the very few cars with Le Mans history • fully documented history • perfectly restored and race-ready
With Alejandro De Tomaso's deeply ingrained love for racing, it was no surprise when a competizione Pantera was unveiled in late 1971. Built to contest the FIA's now legendary Group 4 category, it would most notably go up against factory-built race cars from Ferrari, Porsche and Chevrolet. The starting point was a lightweight Tipo 874A chassis, almost every part of which had been extensively drilled. This was equipped with shorter suspension uprights, solid bronze bushes and adjustable Koni shock absorbers. Ride-height was thus totally variable as were the larger diameter anti-roll bars front and rear.
The shock absorber towers were modified to accommodate beautiful new Campagnolo wheels. Ten and 14-inches wide at the front and back respectively, these cast magnesium rims had a 15-inch diameter and fronted bigger Lockheed ventilated disc brakes. Cooling tubes were now all-alloy, quick-ratio steering racks being fitted along with twin 60-litre fuel tanks. While a projected weight of around 1100kg had originally been targeted, Porsche were so concerned about the Pantera's arrival that they forced the FIA into homologating the Group 4 version (or GT4) at 1250kg. To overcome this, the car needed a race-spec engine of the highest order and considering the American's level of expertise with Ford motors, it must have seemed appropriate to look to the US first. It was eventually decided that Bud Moore-prepared Boss 351 motors would be flown over and installed at Modena. They boasted full racing camshafts and valve springs, TRW forged pistons, large capacity oil pans and titanium valves. Bud Moore also fitted a single Holley Racing 1150 CFM four-barrel carburettor and yanked the compression up to 12.0:1. Displacement was unaltered from the stock Pantera's 5763cc thanks to a bore and stroke of 101.6mm x 88.9mm. Other standard features that were retained included rockers, connecting rods and the solid lifters and crankshaft.
Although De Tomaso quoted around 500bhp for these engines, early cars were typically producing around 440bhp at 7000rpm. This was soon upped to 470bhp for the 1972 Le Mans race (where the Pantera's also ran 850 CFM carbs), enough to propel the GT4 to 180mph down the Mulsanne Straight. The engine was coupled to another more-or-less stock item in ZF's close ratio five-speed gearbox, a heavy duty single plate clutch completing the mechanical upgrades. For the body, standard steel shells were taken from the production line and fitted with light alloy front lids, engine covers and doors.
Bulbous fibreglass wheel arch extensions were pop-riveted on to accommodate the wide Campagnolo wheels and gave the car an extremely aggressive look which was enhanced by the deep front spoiler and matt-black finish for the front lid, engine cover and sills. No front bumpers were fitted nor any rustproofing applied, the Group 4 Pantera's using two types of tail lights, some early cars getting vertically divided clusters as pictured here, others getting production-style items. The cabin was stripped bare and got no soundproofing to speak of, just the stock vinyl-covered dash and centre console remaining from the production Pantera. Lightweight bucket seats with vinyl bolsters and cloth centres were installed along with more basic door trim, Plexiglas side windows and a small diameter steering wheel. Each car also got drilled aluminium pedals, a roll cage, safety harnesses and a cut-off switch wired into where the radio would originally have been. The first of 14 cars (chassis 2263) was completed on December 12th 1971, the last (2874) rolling out little more than a year later on 22nd December 1972. Customers included wealthy privateers like Herbert Muller, Vincenzo "Pooky" Cazzago and Aldo "Alval" Valtellina. The De Tomaso Concessionaires for Spain, France (Franco-Britannic) and Belgium (Claude Dubois) also had their own cars.
After Herbie Muller and Mike Parkes had posted the fifth quickest time outright and the fastest lap set by a Group 4 car at the Le Mans trials in March 1972, the Pantera's race debut proper came in April at the Montlhery Grand Prix (a round of the inaugural European GT Championship). Driving chassis 2860 for Claude Dubois, Jean-Marie Jacquemin finished second overall whilst Vincenzo Cazzago placed 13th and Muller retired. Group 4 Pantera's subsequently went onto win the 1000-kilometre World Manufacturers Championship race's at Monza (2342), Spa (2860) and the Österreichring (2861). Le Mans proved something of a washout though with just one of the four cars finishing. Despite the Pantera's European GT Championship campaign yielding just a solitary win (for 2859 at Nivelles), the format of these events which tended to resemble sprint rather than endurance races seemed to appeal to De Tomaso. This led to the factory entering its own works Group 4 Pantera (2873, built December 13th 1972) in three rounds of the 1973 EGTC. By this time De Tomaso had began building competition motors in-house at Modena where they were dry-sumped, fitted with four twin choke Weber 48 IDA downdraught carbs, gas-flowed cylinder heads and a crane-type camshaft. The crankshaft was now fully polished and balanced, as were the connecting rods.
A new exhaust system too meant output had risen to 490bhp at 7000rpm. Compression remained unchanged at 12.0:1, all that power being fed through a new heavy-duty ZF five-speed gearbox that could more adequately deal with the massive torque loads. The works car got wheeled out for the EGTC rounds at Imola and Nivelles (driven by Mike Parkes) and Hockenheim (Clay Regazzoni). Parkes won comfortably at Imola as did Regazzoni in Germany. The factory also supported a pair of cars despatched to Roberto Angiolini's Jolly Club outfit (2862 and 2872). But despite already having proven the Pantera was good enough to beat the cream of the worlds sports car manufacturers, undoubtedly the cars finest moment was yet to come. For the 1973 Giro d'Italia, a gruelling three-day mix of circuit races, timed stages and regulation road routes, De Tomaso's ex-Parkes/Regazzoni EGTC works GT4 (2873) was handed over to the Jolly Club for Mario Casoni to drive. He duly won what had become Italy's biggest road race since the Mille Miglia and in the process secured perhaps De Tomaso's most glittering outright win.
Specific history of this car:
This specific car has been sold new to the Italian Vincenzo 'Pooky' Cazzago, Italy who had the car prepared by Scuderia Brescia Corse. The car was then entered at the following races:
• 16 April 1972: Montlhery - V. Cazzago, 13th overall
• 25 April 1972: Monza 1000km - V. Cazzago / M. Casoni, 5th overall, 1st in class
• 10-11 June 1972: 24 hours of Le Mans - V. Cazzago / M. Casoni / E. Pasolini / G. Moretti, DNQ
• 25 June 1972: Monza Coppa Gran Turismo Speciale - V. Cazzago , 1st overall
• 10September 1972: Monza Coppa Intereuropa - V. Cazzago, 6th overall
After the 1972 season the car was sold to Gianpiero Moretti for Momo Racing Team. Moretti raced 2343 throughout 1973 and '74 mainly at Italian races.
In 1975 the Pantera was sold to Ruggero Parpinelli, who converted it to Group 5 specification by Achilli Motors at the end of the season. In this new specification Parpinelli raced at the 1976 Giro d'Italia, where he retired with technical problems.
Today the car is presented in excellent condition throughout. 2343 just came out of a lengthy restoration with race car specialist Simon Hadfield. At a first shakedown the car was entered at the 2009 Tour Brittania where it finished 4th in class. The car is now fitted with a correct 351 wet sump Tim Adams engine in combination with a Hewland LG550 MKII gearbox and will be sold with current FIA HTP papers, a large history file as well as some valuable spare parts.
This is a very rare opportunity to find one of the most important De Tomaso Pantera Group 4 for sale. In current specification the Pantera is highly eligible for road and race events as Le Mans Classic, Tour Auto, the Masters Series and more.