The Mustangs, Camaros, Chevelles and Novas would be the cool kids, flexing their muscles and throwing a football back and forth while the girls swooned over them. The Hyundai Genesis Coupes and the Scion FR-S/Subaru BRZs would be the geeks, wiping off their glasses as they rewire their ECUs. The Jeeps and lifted/baja/prerunner trucks would be the band geeks, a tightly-knit group who knows that all they’ve got is each other.
Then you have the DeTomaso Pantera. While it came with a big V8 engine and was sold in Ford Dealerships, this car doesn’t fit in with the rest of the crowd. It is closer to an exotic car than a muscle car. Its mid-engine layout, low production numbers, and premium price tag place it in a different social class from the other cars. At a show like SEMA, the Pantera is something of a misfit.
With so much of the show focused on muscle cars, tuners, and off-road vehicles, you might think the Pantera would be ignored. In fact, it was quite the opposite! This ’71 Pantera was one of the shining stars of the Central Hall!
The backstory behind this car is a little sad. This car belonged to Randy Bickle, who was diagnosed with cancer. After he passed away, his widow Cheryl wanted to complete the car he had always dreamed of building. The restoration had been started at another shop and was moved to the Ringbrothers’ garage in Wisconsin.
The car took on a new direction as Nike got involved in a special partnership with the Ringbrothers. Their designers created a split-personality interior that is unlike anything I have seen before. The driver’s seat is done up in a warm, creamy leather that is all luxury while the passenger side is all black suede, emphasizing simplicity and comfort. The contrasting colors and function-follows-form interior are more artistic than most car interiors.
Engine and Driveline
Wegner Motorsports LS3 V8 engine – 600hp
Bowler 5-speed transmission
Flowmaster stainless steel exhaust
Suspension, Wheel, and Brake
The Roadster Shop C5 suspension w/Afco shocks
The Roadster Shop tubular control arms
The Roadster Shop sway bars
Baer 6-piston disc brakes
HRE S101 19×9 (front) and 19×12 (rear) 3-piece forged wheels
Nitto Invo tires
Body and Exterior
Audi headlamps in custom housings
BASF Glasurit-90 Yellow paint
Flared wheel arches
Custom rocker panels
Nike Design Team
Leather driver / suede passenger seats
Crow racing harnesses
Classic Instruments gauges