This is the documented history of 2263 / 8263 that will be published in several parts over the next days.
First off, #2263 was the very first De Tomaso Pantera Group 4 built. It was kept by the factory and driven by Herbert Muller. It was first shown to the public during an official launch presentation to the press at the factory on the 31st of January 1972.
#2263 was then tested by Mike Parkes during extensive development sessions on track at Modena, Vallelunga and Monza in February and March 1972.
The first race of the car happened during the 24 hours of Le Mans tests on the 18th and 19th of March 1972. Herbert Muller drove #2263 and broke the lap record and top speed for a GT car.
Second race was the Euro GT championship at Montlhery, near Paris on the 15th-16th of April 1972.
Third race was the Monza 1000 km on the 25th of April 1972. Herbert Muller would lead the race in front of the works Ferrari 312 PB under pouring rain until he hit a slower Dino while passing it, and damaged the car in the front right and rear right.
After the crash the car was taken back to the factory. It was then decided by the factory to ask for the total reimbursement of the car to their insurance company which disagreed. They just claimed it was a total loss, whereas on the period pictures it seemed in rather good condition except the front and rear right damages. An agreement was finally found with the insurance company.
The car was then left as is in the backyard of the factory for 7 years. In 1979, the German De Tomaso importer ordered several cars from the factory including a GT5 demonstrator. #2263 was used to build this rather special GT5 demonstrator. It has to be noted that #2263 having being paid back by the insurance company, it should have been destroyed. But it hasn't. Instead, it was stamped with a new number 8263, and converted to street GT5 specs. As such, the factory could claim #2263 was destroyed, which is exactly what they did.
Note that very few Pantera have a chassis number starting with an 8. These numbers were never affected to new cars and used by the factory when they needed to renumber a car. 8263 is as close as it could be from 2263. The number 8263 has not been chosen by accident.
The car then stayed in Germany and Switzerland for more than 3 decades and lived its life as a GT5 road car.
The car as we found it in 2016, in GT5 specs :