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Hi guys, 

I'm Darius, 24 and based in the UK. I'm midway through restomodding a 1971 Corvette Stingray I bought off Ebay USA earlier this year and have been thinking about a second car for my collection. I've been in love with the styling of the Pantera since I was a young child and really like the idea of owning one in the next 6 to 12 months. My budget would be around £70,000. Now, I LOVE the styling of the GT5 but they are way out of my budget so will have to settle for a conversion. I read somewhere that conversions add very little value to a car and so they can be found for reasonable money, and did see one in the UK which had sold for around 70k GBP.  I'd actually prefer a LHD car as i'm comfortable driving my Stingray. Not sure exactly which engines Panteras came with but i'd prefer something around 350ci as opposed to 400+ due to the fuel economy. I actually saw a very interesting group 4 car for sale on this forum for a very nice price. My main question is, how realistic is finding a GT5 conversion within my budget? I'm not adverse to importing one at all. Are they reliable enough for semi daily driver use (say 3/4 days a week around town and potentially on a European road trip) Are there any parts which are impossible to find? I assume Ford v8 bits won't be a problem and neither will the axle, and that it's the Pantera specific parts which will be difficult if they go.

All thoughts and opinions welcome!

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Panteras came with a 5.7-liter Ford/Cleveland V-8 of 300-up horsepower. Engines were used in hundreds of thousands of dependable passenger cars and are simple to work on, as there were NO electronics at all. Parts are commonly available. The engines were also built in Australia & were the preferred performance engine there even today, 25 years after they were discontinued. Expect about 20 mpg around town and slightly more on long road trips.

The 5-DS-25/xx ZF transaxle IS a problem. Panteras, Mangustas, GT-40s, Maserati Bora and indeed most '70s-'80s mid-engined Euro sports cars all used the ZF, but that was 40-50 years ago. The design was sold in the late-'70s to a private shop in Southern California along with the license to mfg parts, so there's essentially still a single source of verified spares world-wide. A fully reconditioned 5-speed ZF will be around $10,000 USD. A number of ZFs have been rebuilt via cannibalization of usable 'pre-owned' parts from damaged assemblies. Repairs can be from all skill levels from OK to the seriously bodged. At the price, you really want to drive the car to assess a ZF's condition.

The DeTomaso Drivers Club in England would be my first local point of contact. In the north of England, try Roger Brottan at http/www.theepointfour. co/uk, tel 01226-719443, or in the south, www.woodsautomotive. co/uk. may still be a good url. Or lurk here- there are some bargains that turn up now 'n then, within your budget. But the GT-5 (or GT-5s) is a rare car and well-done conversions none too common.


Timing is everything, had you been looking earlier in the year two original GT5's sold for well below your budget at Mecum Indy and you will absolutely get into a nice clone. If you are prepared to wait the right car will come up. 

There's a great bunch of Brits that will help you all the way and can advise on the shipping and importation. You can rely on some US owners to inspect cars this side of the pond too.


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