quote:Originally posted by Peter H:
This is an interesting chapter in De Tomaso history, isn't it?
Immensely. The existence of Panteras with chassis numbers in the 8000 range is not common knowledge. Bill Van Ess wasn't aware of them. I don't believe the owners of cars with chassis numbers in the 8000 range are aware the chassis number of their Pantera is unusual.
8182 appears to be a GT5 clone, or perhaps a factory conversion. If I'm right about the assembly date it can't possibly have been a factory original GT5. 8471 is a Group 3 race car, 8472 is a GTS. And I have no information about 8660. The most basic questions remain unanswered ... are they built using Vignale coaches or coaches sourced from somewhere else; and what year were they assembled?
Ford closed the doors at Vignale around August 1974, and Bill Van Ess wrote the first 9000 series car (chassis 9001) was manufactured in July 1976. So the challenge is to determine what transpired in regards to Pantera assembly during the interim 22 months. Is 7554 the last Pantera built around a Vignale coach with a sequential chassis number? If not, what is the last sequential Vignale chassis number? How many Panteras were assembled with chassis numbers in the 8000 range? There is a discrepancy of 99 Panteras between De Tomaso's claimed production number (7260) and the production I can currently account for (7161). If De Tomaso's production number is accurate the discrepancy lies amongst Panteras assembled during this 22 month period. We'll get to the bottom of it eventually.