Barn Find Hunter video: 1972 De Tomaso Pantera sees the light


We left our viewers hanging at the end of the last episode of The Barn Find Hunter, but classic car aficionado and host Tom Cotter is back and ready to reveal one of the show’s most significant finds so far. In this episode, Tom uses bolt cutters to open the door of a trailer and pulls back a car cover to reveal a 1972 De Tomaso Pantera that hasn’t seen sunlight in three decades. The rare Italian sports car (with a Ford 351 engine) was in the midst of restoration/modification before being locked away. Its claim to fame, in addition to its divine looks, is that it competed in the 1980 U.S. Express, a 2500-mile cross-country race from New York to California. You’ll want to know the judge’s reaction after it was pulled over for speeding in Texas.

This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2017/12/06/bfh-pantera


Tom Cotter is a national treasure.


Not a national treasure. I enjoyed these videos until I heard his comment on this one - “Look, it doesn’t have an engine, we can stick a small block Chevy in here.” I totally lost respect for him here. I’m sick of people stuffing those antiquated SBC engines in Fords just because they are cheap. Well guess what, they are cheap, and doing these Chevy into a Ford swap virtually ruins the value of the car. And to even suggest doing this to a car as valuable and unique as a Pantera is criminal. Might as well butcher it up even more than the previous owner did with the hokey fender flares and chopping a hole in the roof . I’m guessing I won’t be watching anymore of Mr. Cotter’s videos going forward.


@slapp15 I think Tom was making a joke with the small block line.


Must have been a joke. No one uses SBC anymore. Now everything is LS!


I’ve followed along with Tom on his series off-n-on, the one thing that bugs me tho, is sometimes I’ll see an item I’d be interested in contacting the owner about, BUT there isn’t any disclosure on how to do that. So I’m sure it would be cool if there was, and I’m pretty positive I’m not the only one out there that feels this way… Oh yeah, I agree with Mike, Tom was making a joke 'bout the Chevy small block install. I’d like to add, I wish a forthcoming Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to everyone on the Show, and all readers too… Cheers


Panteras make for great project cars. I does make me wince a little that Tom is sitting/resting on the headlight door.


Yes, that SBC line really ticked me off. Especially when from 1970 when it was introduced other than a fluke there were no Chevys of similar size that a 351 Cleveland couldn’t kick their rears. Times change, yes, but why be stupid? Tom goes on to talk about restoring the car to original but still mentioned putting a SBC in it. Why? I am so tired of hearing of a SBC put in a Ford. It makes me want to go ahead and keep my Vette and put a 2.3L Pinto engine in it. Build it to a 85 T-Bird Turbo Coupe spec and it would probably outrun the doggy stock 350TPI in it now that I’m sure my stock Mark VIII could outrun.


Totally agree. SBC comment may have been intended as a “joke” but it is a complete lack of appreciation for the vehicle just found and an absolute lack of RESPECT for any viewer who is Ford purist/enthusiast. The comment is not only insensitive, to a Ford purist/enthusiast it’s a physically revolting comment to make. I personally found the comment “offensive”. He must be a Chevy fan and does not understand how truly egregious a comment it is. Would he think the same comment would fly if he found an AC Cobra, Shelby or GT40?
Had he found found an original Corvette, Camaro or Chevelle and suggested putting a Ford engine in it, the Chevy folks would be asking for his job.


Geez, folks. It was a joke. Go back and listen to him. Don’t crucify the man for making a joke!


I bought Pantera #1333 new in San Diego in '71. $10,00 out the dealer’s door. (Contact me for details of recall because car rode to hard for the doctors and lawyers who were buying them.) One fateful day a lovely young lady came into my office to see who the yellow car belonged to. We were happily married for 40 years until cancer took her.


A comment that was only partially true was about being a Countach look-a-like. Yes, some owners tried doing that, but this car appears to have Group 4 or GT5 flares and front facia added to it. The Group 4 cars were works race cars that ran in that category in Europe, and the GT5s were built by the factory after FoMoCo pulled out of the project with deTomaso in 1974. Granted, Group 4 race cars didn’t have moon roofs…


I got the same suggestion from a restoration shop, drop a small block Chevy in my 41 Packard 2 door series 120 convertible, (the original engine and front suspension are all apart) plus add a new front axle, disc brakes, rack and pinion steering, they called it restromod, makes the car more ‘usable’. Jay Leno does it, must be ok, right? Trouble is, I think the shop was serious…:} It would be half the cost of doing it original, but at what price to the value of the car? Plus, my Packard friends would ostracize me…:}


Leave old Tom alone. I enjoy his knowledge and enthusiasm, and he is, after all, the only one doing it. If anyone thinks they can do it better then by all means, otherwise, well keep it to yourself.


Old Tom does a great job, what’s the difference, a small block chevy or a windsor or a cleveland, all the same lumps of heavy cast iron. How about being creative; A 3 rotor JDM motor out of a Mazda Cosmo 20 B. That’s what I would do if this was mine.


I’ve been into cars my whole life. I raced cars for 40 years. I started collecting in 1966. Today I have a current collection of which all are newer with one older nastalgic muscle car. Back then we called cars with power muscle cars. Now days today’s cars earn that name even more so. Todays cars are much faster, more dependable, more quiet, and you have a much better chance of coming home in the same car you left with. Cars like the Pantera was junk in its day. Nobody wanted them. Body parts didn’t line up, didn’t fit correctly, were slow, pieces looked like they came from the corner hardware store. BUT like many other cars in that same category are now very valuable and more beautiful then ever. As they say time fixes a lot of things it certainly fixed a lot of older cars that weren’t great then but sure are beautiful today. It’s a fascinating hobby collecting old cars. Noways there is no inbetween you either love the older cars or hate them. Never use to be that way. The new cars today at just awsome. Keep at least one eye on the electric car there may be something there. This is just one persons opinion🤔