Almost three decades has passed since Alejandro de Tomaso stopped building the stunning De Tomaso Pantera GT5.
It wasn’t a poster of the Lamborghini Miura that hung on my bedroom wall as a kid. That honour went to the De Tomaso Pantera GT5. It was a proper supercar, complete with impossibly wide rear tyres, four super-sized exhaust tips with extra-long piping, and huge rear wing.
The Pantera stood out among Ferraris, Porsches, and even Lamborghinis. The five-speed, open-gated shift box was pure art, as were the factory-fitted Campagnolo rims.
To fans like this author, the Pantera was a special car that ticked all the right boxes: Italian styling by Tom Tjaard at Ghia, and American muscle under the bonnet in the form of a 5.8-litre Ford Cleveland 351 V8 sending 261kW of power and 451Nm of torque to the rear wheels.
De Tomaso even sourced engines from Ford Australia when the US stopped producing them.
It sounded like a V8 racer and went like one too. The Pantera GT5-S could dash from 0-100km/h in a just 5.5 seconds, while top speed was 280km/h.
That’s similar performance to the Ferrari 328 GTB of the same era. By all accounts the De Tomaso handled well too, and had strong stopping power.
There were a few for sale in Australia for less than $70,000 as early as 2010, but in 2020 there are only a few examples of the Pantera L for sale and not a single GT5 – let alone a GT5-S.
For those with deep pockets and a passion for the De Tomaso Pantera, there’s a far more unique proposition coming from by a Modena-based coach builder called ARES Design.
The company is headed up by Danny Bahar, previously from Red Bull, Ferrari, and Lotus.
The ProgettoUno is the first of the firm’s Legends Reborn program, and is limited to just 21 examples for those prepared to lay down €615,000 ($1.02 million) atop the Lamborghini Huracan donor car.
In short, it’s a reimagining of the Pantera using cutting-edge fabrication and materials to produce a thoroughly modern supercar.
The Panther is unique, no doubt about it. The design team has gone to great lengths to create something ultra-exclusive, which is why the entire bodywork shares little with its Lamborghini donor.
You won’t find any purely aesthetic pieces on the modern Panther, unlike its retro subject matter. aFor instance, the black louvre-style intakes behind the side windows are perfectly functional, and direct cool air to the V10 engine.
It’s a similar story with the pop-up headlights, similarly positioned to the original car.
In the Panther’s case, they’re made from lightweight aluminium with a carbon coating, and the lights themselves are bi-LED.
Side-on, the Panther a very different silhouette to the Huracan. Instead, it has more in common with the Pantera, thanks largely to the fact the a-pillars have been moved backwards.
The pillars, windscreen, and side windows are all unique to this model. Aerodynamically, the Panther is vastly improved over the original.
There are aero devices all over the car such as a small spoiler at the top of the rear window, while the engine louvre itself acts like multiple winglets for real downforce.
That said, most of the mechanicals remain largely untouched, including the Huracan’s naturally-aspirated V10 engine.
It has been treated to a slight power bump, from 449kW to 485kW, and 560Nm to 600Nm, than to an in-house ECU tune.
As a result, the Panther able to blast from standstill to 100km/h in 3.1 seconds, better than the Huracan by 0.1 seconds. Top speed remains unchanged at 325km/h.
Inside, the Panther’s cockpit resembles the Huracan but the materials and colours are dictated by the customer’s design request.
No doubt there are plenty more supercar projects on the company’s drawing board, but for now ARES already has a list of customers waiting for its version of the classic Land Rover Defender, complete with an impressive makeover and power upgrades for enhanced on-and off-road performance.
Highlights include a 4.7-litre V8 making 207kW of power and 440Nm of torque, as well as a full carbon fibre weave in the cockpit and beefed-up ride with revised suspension.