At the heart of the Pantera strategy was a third party-supplied, simple V8 – Ford, of course. Rumour has it that he applied a similar borrow plan when looking into ways to transform the bike segment and used the four-cylinder Honda CB500 as a base. Only he figured more was needed and stuck two more cylinders into the equation. Controversy surrounds the Honda theory though, with many claiming that De Tomaso was simply following standard design practice and that there are very few, if any, interchangeable parts between the Honda and the De Tomaso lump. Interesting… the bore and stroke of the De Tomaso bike measure in at 56mm by 50.6mm, the single overhead cam is rotated by a central chain, and two-piece connecting rods with plain big ends and the Morse Hy-Vo chain primary drive are found inside the engine – just like the Honda’s four-cylinder CB500.
The extra pots meant that the transversely mounted engine was just over an inch wider than the Honda, but De Tomaso kept the width in check by moving the alternator behind the cylinders. Cooling was handled by air passing through a gap between each cylinder and the six cylinders were fed by a trio of Dell’Orto VHB 24mm carburettors. There was no Japanese in the rest of the kit though, with an Italian-built cradle frame, twin Brembo disc brakes in front, Marzocchi forks and shocks, and Borrani aluminium rims.