Big things with little cars
Big things with little cars
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What's so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?

Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?

Nothing. Except for the fact that it’s a DeTomaso Pantera.

Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?
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This is the Hot Wheels 1:18 scale rendition of the supercar legend. It’s been on my want list for almost a year, but I haven’t been able to secure one until now. Mainly, this was due to the fact that I couldn’t find a proper deal.

Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?
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Hot Wheels released this model circa 2000 in both blue and yellow, plus a “DIY” kit that included a red car. Yellow is the most common while the red car is the most rare, especially in unbuilt form.

Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?
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So why was it so hard for me to find a deal? It wasn’t because this is a rare model. There are about a dozen of these on eBay at any given time ranging from $30 to a ridiculous $225. The problem I saw was that the majority of these listed had starting bids well north of the $50 mark. Obviously the handful that fell below that were heavily bid on. I can’t count on one hand how much low hanging fruit I missed out on due to auction snipers. This model is popular, but the demand isn’t high enough to command a premium price that sellers think it has.

Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?
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My advice is if you find you need to have a Pantera in your collection, be patient yet attentive. Set an alert on your eBay watch list and grab a deal when it pops up. This particular blue model popped up on my feed with a Buy it Now for $48 shipped, brand new in box, so I jumped on it. I still think I overpaid, but part of my decision making was so I could finally strike it from my want list.

I’m not going to lie, it’s a badass model. There aren’t too many options for the Pantera-loving 1:18 collector. There’s a Kyosho GTS out there in the $100+ range, but that car has DeTomaso graphics and I personally prefer this cleaner look. There is also an older Kyosho release of the Pantera “L”, but I’ve only ever seen one pop up and I didn’t have $200 extra in my pocket to drop on it. I could be wrong, but that’s pretty much it as far as options go!

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Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?

Let me give you a quick run-down of the model, starting in the engine bay. First off, the deck lid is made of metal. Most of my other non-premium 1:18 Hot Wheels have plastic hoods and bonnets, so I was surprised the Pantera did, especially with the amount of real estate it takes up. Other than that, it’s a whole lot of meh. Pantera’s have largely empty engine bays to begin with, but I count four pieces of the drivetrain back here. The block and intakes are two pieces, but I believe the transaxle and cross member are all one piece. There is no removable luggage tray. What really disappointed me was the exposed philips-head screws. That gives the model a kit-like feel, especially since they did offer this as a DIY kit as I mentioned before.

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Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?

The interior is also pretty mundane with no extra effort to add detail. Everything in here is formed black plastic. I didn’t even notice any stickers or decals to highlight gauges or control switches.

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Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?

That’s it a far as opening features. The front bonnet does not open nor are the headlights functional.

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The build quality however, is spectacular. The doors and rear hatch shut tight and the lines are all straight. The paint is decent; mine has a small amount of crinkling on the rear quarter, likely due to age. That shade of blue though is the best color for any Pantera. I’m glad I went with this over the yellow.

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There’s a visible mounting post on every single lens and the turn signals are unfortunately opaque. The front wheels will turn with the steering wheel but going over bumps will be hard on the spine since there’s no active suspension.

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The exhaust pipes offer little to no realistic detail, but a peak at the naughty-bits underneath are a nice touch. I happen to like the California plate on the back as well.

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Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?

The wheels are very much chrome, as with the real cars’, but beg for some center cap details to break it up. The blue from the DeTomaso logo would have made the wheels pop a little better, especially on this blue body.

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Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?

Of course, this is a 16 year old model, so take all my complaints with a grain of salt. I do feel like they pulled off the TVR Speed 12 a little better, and that’s from the same era.

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Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?
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Illustration for article titled Whats so special about this DeTomaso Pantera?

So there you have it, a just-ok model of an amazingly beautiful car with a budget mindset that’s hard to find at a budget friendly price. They’re out there if you’re patient, and patient you should be. Looks awesome for shelf candy, but probably not the best choice for the discriminating 1/18 collector.

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