This 1971 DeTomaso Pantera was built by Wisconsin’s Ring Brothers at the behest of a widowed woman whose late husband had originally purchased the car. Rather than sell the car or leave it half-restored, she gave it to the Ring Brothers with just one command: make it yellow. The rest of the modifications were up to the customizers’ personal tastes.
Mike Ring, who helped build the 1971 Pantera, says his shop spent more than a year creating this car. The Ring Brothers, who worked with engine-oil suppliers Royal Purple on the car, say they rebuilt so many sections of the Pantera from scratch, with aluminum and carbon-fiber body parts, that he says very little remains of the original 1971 car. The Chevrolet LS3 V-8 engine is said to produce about 600 hp, and given that the car weighs less than 3000 pounds, Ring promises it’s a serious performer. The irony in using an LS3, of course, is that the original Pantera used a Ford V-8 engine. To add insult to injury, the LS3’s block is painted in a hue called Ford Blue.
On the outside, the 1971 De Tomaso Pantera wears a striking yellow paint job with a gray accent stripe along the roof. HRE 19-inch wheels surround Baer six-piston brakes. Beneath the surface, the car uses the front and rear suspension linkages from the C5 Chevrolet Corvette, along with AFCO coilover suspension.
The inside is even more interesting, as Nike — yes, the shoe company — partnered with Ring Brothers to create special upholstery and coverings for the show car. The Nike Skunk Works created an off-white design for the driver’s side of the cabin, with an Alpine audio system, a three-spoke Momo steering wheel, and funky new gauges that, instead of numbers for speed or engine rpm, simply had the numbers “71” for the car’s year.
Also unique is the asymmetrical design, which is meant to highlight the fact that this is purely a driver’s car. The passenger’s side of the cabin is all black and has a much plainer seat and door panel, so as not to distract the driver. The Ring Brothers even went so far as to shift the car’s center console a few inches, giving more room to the driver at expense of the passenger’s comfort.
The partnership with Nike meant that the shoe company also produced a limited-edition gold-and-white running shoe inspired by the Pantera’s design. All of the Ring Brothers staff at SEMA wore the shoes, which were displayed atop the car on the show floor. Sadly, there are no plans to sell the shoes to anyone else.