De Tomaso Pantera GTS – Rally Car?

By Chris Derbyshire

 

This post is based upon an article written by Chris for ‘Wheel Nuts‘ the South Hants Model Club’s members magazine. We are grateful for permission to use it in MAR Online.

Back in the 1980s I followed many of the British Rally Championship rounds, not least the Manx Rally. It was exciting times with Group B in its pomp,

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At no 54 on the 1985 Manx was a black De Tomaso Pantera GTS, driven by John McKerrell navigated by Ian Fisher. Only years later did I realise that John McKerrell was the same person who had navigated Mick Briant to many Motoring News victories.

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I have found very little about the car and its exploits save to say that it was rallied in the Forest of Dean within a week of purchase, but it was no match for proper stage prepared cars on the loose. Apart from the obvious problem, the engine could not stand the punishment of the constant high revving in all gears. As many of you will know the Manx tarmac is not that smooth either and fortunately I did get to see the car in action on a couple of the stages before it was finally posted as a retirement. The car was sold soon after as John moved on to try his hand in a Metro 6R4. I understand that the Pantera does still exist? Does anyone have any more information?

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Nobody has ever made a model of this car but I had found enough good photos to make it possible. The base model by Minichamps is a standard road version of a Pantera which was purchased through eBay for a mere 25 UK pounds. A brilliant model in its own right it came apart easily enough.

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A lot of filler was required to extend the wheel arches, front air dam, the wheels and tyres were sourced from the BTS spares box and the decals were specially made for this model.

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