When De Tomaso made its comeback at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, a lot of people speculated on the brand’s revival and the impending future it had after going down the pipe in 2004.
Unfortunately, the initial optimism surrounding De Tomaso ended up being short-lived as the company has officially declared bankruptcy - again - in Livoro.
This latest development comes as a devastating blow for fans of the Italian automaker, a lot of whom have been looking forward to seeing what the company has to offer since it flogged eight years ago. Among the plans called for a five-door crossover called the Deauville, a future limousine model, and most importantly, a revival of arguably its most iconic model, the Pantera supercar.
All of that, however, is no longer relevant as the company, after years of uncertainty over securing a deal with Chinese investment firm Hotyork, has thrown in the towel. The initial plan was for the latter to buy majority shares of the former, amounting to a figure of €70 million, but when the money never came, any chance of us seeing the all-new Pantera supercar prowling the streets went up in smoke.
Tough luck. Really, really tough luck.
De Tomaso is unquestionably one of the most recognizable brands in the world, not only because of its provocative name but also because the Pantera supercar truly put the company on the international map.
The Pantera stayed in production for almost two decades, before being pushed aside in 1990 as the company was facing crippling money issues, eventually leading to the company’s liquidation in 2004. The Rossignolo family maintained the vast majority of De Tomaso’s shares and helped revive the brand for the 2011 Geneva Motor Show with the surprising debut of the Deauville sedan.
That car was met with a relatively negative reception and the financial problems plaguing the company continued, but Chinese investment firm Hotyork did announce its ambitious plans to buy the majority of De Tomaso’s shares for 70 million Euros. That money, however, never materialized and as a result, the company and its dozens of workers are now being left in limbo.
Not only is this sad for those vintage car enthusiasts, but also for modern-car lovers as a successor to the Pantera (rendered above) was rumored to be released early this year and would have likely maintained its aggressive and retro-styling.
As a quick refresher, the original De Tomaso Pantera featured a 5.8-liter V8 engine, mid-mounted and provided by Ford producing approximately 330HP. What the original car lacked in performance however, it made up for in the styling department taking clear cues from its Italian brethren, the Lamborghini Countach.
If the crisis at De Tomaso continues, it’s likely it’ll never see the light of day again, but they’ll always be investors out there willing to purchase it, just like the various firms trying to acquire Saab (the majority of which have failed).
The early 60s all the way up to the 70s was a golden age for the American automotive industry if only for the simple fact that muscle cars were growing not just in number, but in overall stature. The muscle car arms race of the that time yielded plenty of options for customers looking for more power and metal-twisting torque from these vehicles. And the models only grew in popularity as more and more people began clamoring for the biggest, baddest, and most powerful machines.
The general appeal these muscle cars offered to the growing American car culture of the time was the opportunity to own powerful cars that could be used for drag racing while also keeping costs at bay. At that time, a number of brands began developing their own models, including legendary names like the Ford Mustang, the Chevrolet Camaro, the Plymouth Barracuda, the Pontiac Trans-Am, and the Dodge Charger, to name a few.
While the golden age of American muscle was limited to parts of these two decades, the industry has enjoyed a renaissance of sorts in recent years. It’s not going to compare to the 60s or the 70s, but as proven by customer clamoring, the culture of American muscle cars is far from bearing its last legs.
To pay tribute to the time where muscle was king of the road - and the drag strip - we have compiled a list of the 10 most memorable muscle cars of the golden age.
Check out the list after the jump. Full story
The Pantera (Italian word for Panther) was a very successful sports car produced by De Tomaso between 1971 to 1991. Since its demise, many people have undoubtedly been dreaming of what a modern day Pantera would look like. In fact, Stefan Schulze even made up his own modern interpretation of the Pantera based on a Lamborghini Gallardo in an attempt to persuade De Tomaso to produce the car once again. Whether it was this rendering four years ago or the hum of eager fans, De Tomaso has decided that it is now time to bring back the catty beast to wreck havoc on our hearts once again.
The new Pantera is said to make its world debut in November at the Los Angeles Auto Show, almost exactly 40 years after the car was first launched on the market. Our only hope is that the sports car will look better than the DeAuville SUV that was just launched at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.
The original Pantera was powered by a V8 engine with an output of 330 HP, but rumors say that the new version will get a V8 engine with an impressive 550 HP. Here’s to hoping!
UPDATE 05/04/2011: Is that you, Pantera? YouTube member, Tappazzo, seemed to be at the right place at the right time when he caught a few seconds of video of what looks to be the future Pantera outside of DeTomaso’s Grugliasco plant in Italy. Could it be? Is it true? Take one look at that front end in the video after the jump and let us know what you think!
UPDATE 07/12/11: Circle your calendars, folks! The new De Tomaso Pantera is scheduled to be introduced at the 2011 IAA’s in Frankfurt in September! The model will weight about 2645 lbs and will be powered by a 600 HP Chevrolet Corvette V8. It’s been a long time coming, but we expect the wait to be worth it and more!
Back in 2008, De Tomaso announced the revival of the Panthera sports car. Now, we may still be waiting for that comeback, but a design exercise by Frederick Tjell may make the wait for the Italian supercar a little more tolerable.
The Ghepardo concept was inspired by the Panthera and was designed to be a modern interpretation of a tailor-made Italian suit. It was made to compete against the growing number of four door super coupes that are hitting the market, such as the Aston Martin Rapide, the Fisker Karma, and the Porsche Panamera.
This elaborate supercar can be powered by either a Ford twin-turbo ecoboost 3.5 V6 engine producing 465 bhp or by four electric in-hub fuel cells each producing 85 Kw (combined an equivalent of 440 bhp). Electricity is produced by a methanol fuel cell stack located beneath the 500 liter boot.
"De Tomaso Ghepardo meets the need for saving natural resources. A sports car with the dynamic performance of a full-blooded Italian sports car and the fuel economy of a modern small car opens up exceedingly attractive perspectives for individual mobility in the future", says Frederik Tjellesen.
Press release after the jump. Full story
The first time we heard about De Tomaso Panthera’s revival was at the middle of 2007. Now it seems that things are getting a bit closer to reality. If the designer Stefan Schulze manages to sell his idea to any investor, the Panthera will go into production and will cost around $100,000.
De Tomaso Pantera was the first super-sport model produced between 1971 until 1996. In its 25 years only 720 units were made.
The De Tomaso Panthera Concept is a project based on the Lamborghini Gallardo’s platform, or else, it would have a V10 engine, 4WD system and a unique style, what would make this machine an easy target for wealthy buyers that want an exclusive piece of machinery.
The Pantera is DeTomaso’s most significant production car to date, and lived an overall production life of nearly 25 years. It is the model which most people identify with DeTomaso, and completed the company’s transition to a volume producer of high performance GTs. In describing the Pantera’s career, especially from a U.S. perspective, it is easiest to view it in three separate stages: the Ford importation era (1971 - 1974), the post-Ford era (1975-1990) and the final (...) > Full story