I received a notice today from Hemmings regarding a pushbutton for sale from PI Motorsport. Clicking through the add I see that it is #1383. I thought the last pushbutton was 1382. Just curious as my very early Pantera is 1386, is it the 4th or 3rd off the new line?
There has always been a "gap" in what we know about the transition from pushbutton models to square handle models, and the transition from assembly in Turin to assembly in Modena.
1382 was the last pushbutton we were aware of until 1383 "surfaced". Chassis 1385 has also "surfaced" and it is a square handle Pantera. But chassis 1384 has never surfaced.
We can't say for sure until chassis 1384 "surfaces" if your Pantera is the second or third square handle Pantera.
It is assumed that the last pushbutton was the last Pantera fully assembled at the Vignale plant in Turin, and that the first square handle Pantera was the first Pantera in which final assembly took place in Modena ... but that is just an assumption. It is possible that some pushbuttons were assembled in Modena, or some square handles were assembled in Turin. I'm not saying it is likely, but it is possible.
When assembly at Vignale ceased, final assembly began concurrently at both Via Virgilio, 9 (Ford's plant) and Via Jacopo Peri, 68 (De Tomaso's plant). So the question is not only what type of handles does 1384 have, but also where did its final assembly take place ... It is claimed 1384 was originally sold to an Italian dealer, meaning it was either fully assembled in Turin, or final assembly took place at De Tomaso's factory.
1385 is a US car (its in Colorado), so your Pantera is definitely the second square handle Pantera imported to the US, AND may be the second Pantera off the Ford assembly line at Via Virgilio, 9 .
1385 has brazed & chromed trim like a pushbutton. What type of trim does 1386 have, brazed/chromed or stainless steel?
The changes were extensive: not just the doors, openers and glass trim; pushbuttons had no decklid locks- they relied on a cable opening from the cabin for security. The deck opening lever (similar to the later front trunk opening system) was in an indent formed in the left door surround metal; the lower front a-arm mount tabs on the subframe were an inch further apart, the spindles & steering arms were different... there's more- I don't have a full list. The King of Sweden owns #1200 which is a pushbutton!
Thanks for your detailed response. You are a great asset to all things Pantera!
1386 has brazed and chrome trim.