For $30,000, 351 Cleveland rocks!S

George Clooney and Alejandro deTomaso share something in common - they're both known to have stuck something American into an Italian beauty. And while today's Nice Price or Crack Pipe
‘72 Pantera may be no Elisabetta Canalis, it's price might make it within the reach of more than just Dr. Ross.

Hey, you got your Mercedes SL in my Chrysler Le Baron! No, you got your Le Baron in my Mercedes SL! But it tastes great - wait, no it doesn't, it tastes like ass. Lacking both taste, and apparently value at even $1,400, yesterday's odd Chrysler-based SL500 clone accumulated both derision and a 76% loss. And yes, I know, it's not a Sebring, I have no explanation for why I was convinced that's what the donor was.

I don't think anyone is making Pantera look-a-likes yet, although that day may not be too far off the values of the real deals having climbed significantly in the past decade. The past few years, the most successful of deTomaso cars - 5,500 sold in the U.S. - have been tracking in the $40k - $50K range for what appear to be well sorted drivers. Sure, there was the occasional $15K car offered but those were of the some assembly required variety.

This one - a 1972 L, or Lusso, looks ready to roll, being described by its seller as having new paint, as well as garage-kept and never singing in the rain. Plus, it's thirty grand. The L model debuted in ‘72 and differed from previous models by sporting bigger bumpers and a 4-bolt main 351. That Ford V8 saw a significant drop in compression, from 11:1 to 8.6:1, in order to comply with tightening emissions standards, but it still made 284-bhp out the door.

For $30,000, 351 Cleveland rocks!

Yanking out the fiberglass luggage tray displays not just the full Cleveland but the entire drivetrain as well, including the ZF 5-speed, which is operated through a gated lever, with a dogleg first. Massive half shafts send power to an even more imposing set of rear tires, and the whole thing should be able do sixty in five and a half seconds.

For seemingly forever the Pantera had been insufficiently valued by owners not to keep them stock, which makes this one's near factory appearance all the more interesting. Sure, you can build a Pantera into a 2,000-horsepower death trap, but even with just 300 ponies with which to play, they can be a lot of fun.

For $30,000, 351 Cleveland rocks!

That's of course if you happen to be under six feet tall. The Tom Tjaarda-designed body remains to this day as one of the greatest super car shapes of all time, but it's not hugely practical. The longitudinal engine placement pushes the cabin forward, and in fact there's a blister in the firewall between the seats where the ancillaries vie for room with the driver's right elbow. The pedals are off-set to center and reside in footwells that provide adequate space for only one loafer at a time. Think dancer's feet. This one doesn't come with an interior shot, but if it looks anything like the outside, there should be few complaints, and it doesn't look to be anything other than factory black. In another bullet dodged, the car still rolls on its original Campagnolos, which are some of the best looking wheels around. There's also A/C in the car - remember, Lusso - although it's been my experience that stock Pantera A/C is about as effective at bringing the cool as was your high school guidance counselor. Mileage is claimed to be a modest 52,000.

For $30,000, 351 Cleveland rocks!

As I noted, the market for Panteras seems to have dipped recently, and so if someone really wanted one of these amazing semi-exotics this might just be a good time to snap one up. But what about this one? Both the description and fuzzy photos provide meager persuasion, but then there's its $30,000 price. What do you think, does this Pantera look to be worth thirty-large? Or, is that too much to let out of the bag for this cat?

You decide!

Cleveland Spokane Craigslist or go here if the ad disappears.

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