The 1971-74 De Tomaso Panteras combined exotic Italian sports car styling with American muscle, namely, the famous Ford 351, four-barrel Cleveland engine, which produced 335 horsepower and was capable of 150 mph off the showroom floor.
Power came from the tail end production engines of the highly successful Boss Mustang era. Engines and drive trains were shipped to Modena, Italy, for final assembly, and this completed the joint business venture that brought a low-cost mid-engine 3,100-pound sports car to the American consumer. They were sold through the Lincoln-Mercury dealerships from the Ford family.
Jack Rans fell in love with the Pantera as an 18-year-old and eventually got to ride in one. However, income, marriage, career and family came first for many years until he was finally able to pursue his dream car, a 1972 Pantera, which needed many repairs and upgrades.
A priority was adding a Samsung 134-R air conditioner and more efficient valve trains in the engine. He also added thinner head gaskets to help bring back compression ratios to stock settings. A specialized Barry Grant carburetor and his Speed Demon fuel system was added. Aftermarket headers and a custom fabricated exhaust system was needed for this Italian Pininfarina-designed car. Jack performed all the restoration and fabrication work.
He waited one year for the custom wheels to be manufactured and delivered, bringing finality to his long labor of love.
Jack and his wife, Pamela, can be found with one of their classic cars at shows and cruise-ins in central Indiana on summer weekends.
Until next time, happy cruising!