1971 - 1991 De Tomaso Pantera
Italian sports car manufacturer De Tomaso has a wide variety of models to its name, but when it comes to commercial success and brand association, there’s one that clearly stands above the rest – the Pantera. With a production life spanning two decades, the Pantera (Italian for panther) managed to transform De Tomaso from an eccentric, niche make, to a full-fledged high-volume supercar producer. But the Pantera was more than a vitally important model for De Tomaso. Its introduction in the early ‘70s challenged conventions by offering striking aesthetics and an exotic mid-engine layout, plus American-bred V-8 performance and a relatively affordable price tag.
These days, the cult of Pantera is as strong as ever, and well-maintained examples are known for hitting the auction block for 10 times the original MSRP. But the Pantera’s popularity isn’t derived from anything objective – it doesn’t come with a purebred lineage, or groundbreaking technology, or unicorn-like rarity. Rather, it’s the kind of car that speaks to an enthusiast’s emotions, and if you need someone to explain it to you, you probably wouldn’t get it anyway.
Continue reading to learn more about the 1971 – 1991 De Tomaso Pantera.
In its early days, De Tomaso was turning out fairly tame cars, when compared to the screaming 1971 - 1991 De Tomaso Pantara that would come along later and forever secure the legacy of the De Tomaso name. The company’s first production car was the Vallelunga, first conceived as a design to be sold to another company. When none ponied up the cash, De Tomaso built it with the help of Ghia. Since no plans had been made for an engine, a 4-cylinder Ford Cortina engine was used. The result was disappointing, and the power was seriously lacking when compared to the similarly exotic-looking Italian sports cars of the time.
De Tomaso wanted to make something more powerful to give the company’s sporting image a boost, and so Carroll Shelby was called upon to secure a more serious engine for a racing prototype. The result was the Prova P70 that you see here, photographed at the recent 2015 Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance during day 5 of Monterey Car Week 2015. The word “prova” is Italian for “test” and here essentially denotes a prototype. The “P” stands for “posterior”, as that was where the engine was found, and the 70 denotes the 7.0-liter Ford V8 that Shelby got for the car.
Continue reading for my full review of this special De Tomaso.
In 1963, when Ferruccio Lamborghini had barely established the Lamborghini brand in Sant’Agata Bolognese, De Tomaso had already launched its first road-going production model. The Vallelunga arrived four years after Alejandro de Tomaso founded the new brand in Modena, starting what would soon become one of Italy’s most celebrated supercar companies. In 1966, De Tomaso introduced the Mangusta, its first model to be produced in significant numbers.
Like the Vallelunga, the Mangusta also sported a mid-engine configuration. However, the Italians dropped the four-cylinder engine borrowed from the Ford Cortina in favor of a more powerful V-8, sourced from the first-generation Mustang. The chassis, on the other hand, was based on the Vallelunga’s and modified to handle powerplants with higher torque.
The car’s name, Mangusta, is Italian for mongoose, a small animal known for its quickness, and its ability to fight and kill venomous snakes, particularly cobras. Legend has it that the car was named the Mangusta because De Tomaso had some talks with Carroll Shelby to replace the 1963 Shelby Cobra with a race car to be built in Italy by De Tomaso, but the project ended in 1965, when Shelby was assigned to help with the development of the 1964-1969 Ford GT40.
The Mangusta was replaced in 1971 by the 1971-1991 De Tomaso Pantera, which would become De Tomaso’s most popular model, with over 7,000 units built in 20 years. But despite being overshadowed by the Pantera, the Mangusta is now considered a collectible as one of the very few European cars to feature American power.
Continue reading to find out more about the De Tomaso Mangusta.
It’s been a little more than a month since it was reported that De Tomaso was sold to a Swiss company, and the Italian brand has yet another new owner. The struggling automaker has been bought by a Chinese group called Consolidated Ideal TeamVenture, after De Tomaso’s Swiss buyer, L3 Holdings, failed to honor its financial commitments. A new auction was set up and Ideal TeamVenture, who was among the bidders last time, bought the rights to the De Tomaso brand for €1 million (about $1.12 million), according to Italian outlet La Stampa. L3 Holdings won the initial auction with a bid of €2 million ($2.24 million).
The Chinese business has yet to publicly unveil its plans for De Tomaso, but its lawyers said the consortium, which is based in Hong Kong but has legal status in the Virgin Islands, intends to use the name on vehicles built in China.
Needless to say, this basically means there won’t be a spiritual successor to the Pantera, as rumored in the past. At least, not an Italian one.
The transaction is upsetting for both De Tomaso workers and local authorities, who blame the Italian government for the brand’s move to China. No fewer than 900 workers will remain unemployed. "We are disappointed and angry; it is clear that the government and also the region have failed to maintain a brand so important in Italy," said a workers’ spokesperson.
Continue reading to learn more about the latest De Tomaso sale.
Once an ambassador of the "Italian musclecar," a hybrid between the gorgeous Italian car designs of the 1960s and 1970s and American V-8 power, De Tomaso has been struggling to come back from its bankruptcy for more than a decade now. The Modena-based firm went into liquidation in 2004, 11 years after discontinuing the iconic Pantera model to replace it with the Guara, a carbon-fiber-bodied supercar using a Maserati, Ford and BMW parts. Since then, both former Fiat exec Gian Mario Rossignolo and Automobili Turismo e Sport bought the rights to the name in an attempt to revive the company. Unfortunately, the highly anticipated comeback has yet to happen. But there’s some good news coming from Germany’s Auto Motor und Sport, which reports De Tomaso has a new owner after being bought by a Swiss investment group.
Switzerland’s L3 Holdings won the rights to the De Tomaso name with a bid of €2 million ($2.19 million as of 03/23/2015) over rival offers from Italy’s Eos Group and China’s Consolidated Ideal TeamVenture, the report adds. The new owners allegedly want to hire 360 employees and open a new manufacturing facility near Turin, Italy by 2021. The plant would be used to build a new mid-engined sports car, but details are scarce as of this writing. The report goes on to say that L3 Holdings is closely tied with Genii Capital, the Luxembourg-based investment firm that runs the Lotus F1 team.
Continue reading to learn what the future will bring for De Tomaso.
ATS Autosport’s purchase of the DeTomaso name last November has given rise to speculation that the company is planning to bring back the DeTomaso brand. Well, according to Autocar, ATS has bigger plans that apparently also include the development of two other sports cars.
The 1960s Italian automaker has set its sights on returning to sports-car manufacturing and a pair of sports cars are already being discussed. One is the ATS Sport — the two-seat, track-focused road car we first saw back in October 2012. With the building blocks already in place to revive this project, the £45,000 Sport is likely the easier one to build.
Meanwhile, the other model is billed as the ATS Leggera, a more retro-looking sports car that evokes memories of classic Italian supercars. The Leggera is expected to weigh just 650 kg (1,433 pounds) to go with a GM-sourced, 1.6-liter turbocharged engine that could develop anywhere between 210 and 300 horsepower.
In addition to the two planned models, ATS is also looking at a potential relaunch of the DeTomaso brand with an eye towards possibly building a new Pantera sports car that would be based on the company’s existing ATS 2500 GT.
The DeTomaso relaunch probably won’t happen anytime soon, given the amount of work the company is planning to invest on developing its existing line. But never say never with that DeTomaso relaunch; after all, ATS didn’t buy those rights just for the heck of it, right?
Click past the jump to read more about the De Tomaso Pantera.
For those who were disappointed with last year’s news that DeTomaso had once again gone under, there’s a glimmer of hope on the horizon. That glimmer comes in the form of ATS Autosport.
Recent reports have indicated that ATS Autosport is preparing to revive the brand after buying the rights to the "DeTomaso" name. The full breadth of details of the deal have yet to be announced, but ATS told Autoblog that an announcement of the purchase could come before December with accompanying news of a future run of DeTomaso models in the pipeline.
One such model, and the one that we’re all getting excited about, is the revival of the Pantera. We were teased a few years ago after former Fiat CEO Gianmario Rossignolo purchased the company. But mismanagement of funds and a subsequent legal issue involving Rossignolo scuttled those plans, resulting in DeTomaso filing bankruptcy only a few years after it had seemingly risen from death.
This time, ATS Autosport looks like it’s going to pick up and deliver on all that promise with the purchase of the DeTomaso name. Here’s to hoping that this is for real this time. The Pantera has been out of our lives for too long. It needs to come back, and we’re all waiting with baited breath for it to do so.
Click past the jump to read about the 2012 DeTomaso Pantera
The Pantera is maybe one of the coolest sports cars produced by De Tomaso in early 1970s. In Italian, "Pantera" stands for "Panther" and indeed it was like a wild cat. Pantera impressed the world ever since it was unveiled in March 1970 and it shortly became a hit, forcing De Tomaso to increase production to three units a day.
Production of the Pantera stopped in 1991, and since then people have been hoping for its rebirth. However, until that that day comes — if ever — we’ll have to stick to a vehicle specially designed by Ringbrothers for the 2013 SEMA show.
Called "ADRNLN," this custom buggy is basically a re-imagined Pantera with modern technology and developed in cooperation with Nike’s innovation skunk works team.
The new Pantera ADRNLN is stuffed with modern features, like a Wegner Motorsports LS3 engine that delivers 600 horsepower and a ZF five-speed gearbox from Bowler Performance Transmissions. The car sits on HRE forged wheels wrapped in Nitto tires, and a set of Baer brakes with six-piston calipers at each corner do the stopping. The model was built on a steel monocoque body finished by BASF’s Glasurit 90-Line paint system.
This model also has quite a touching history, as it was originally owned by Randy Brickle who was diagnosed with cancer and passed away. His dream was to restore his beloved Pantera, and his wife Cheryl made his dream come true by way of the folks at Ringbrothers.
We’ll bring you more details once the car is officially unveiled.
Click past the jump to read more about the standard De Tomaso Pantera.
De Tomaso’s short-lived revival has pretty much gone under the tank, but despite the gloomy times from the Italian automaker, there could very well be some light at the end of the tunnel.
Automotive News Europe is reporting that the Italian Industry Ministry is looking for suitors in the industry willing to buy the struggling Italian automaker, and one of them is BMW.
The German automaker has previously stated its lack of interest in buying De Tomaso, but we all know how the winds can change course abruptly in the auto industry.
"We had confirmation that talks with possible Italian partners and with BMW continue," Giuseppe Anfuso, Turin secretary of the UILM trade union, said through a statement after a meeting that included the ministry, the unions and the local governments of the Piedmont region and the city of Grugliasco.
The hope is for a buyer to be named before the end of the year, and if that ends up being BMW, then there could be new life infused to the De Tomaso brand.
With De Tomaso finally biting the dust just days ago, reports are flying that the company’s chairman, Gian Mario has been arrested facing allegations claiming that $9.2 million in public funds were misused when De Tomaso tried to turn the company around.
The reports come from Reuters and also state that another two former employees from De Tomaso have been arrested with the man once responsible for leading De Tomaso’s human resource department being one of them. Amidst the allegations include ones stating that these employees may have unfairly received public funds and then transferred the funds directly into their personal bank accounts.
These claims are yet another thorn in the brand’s recent fall from grace and despite many hoping that De Tomaso could turn these misfortunes around, it seems that the company will never be a part of the automotive industry again.
The claimed misuse of funds are actually similar to those of former Lotus CEO Dany Bahar who is also being investigated, and if Mario and the other two employees being investigated are found to be guilty, then prison time could be in order.
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).
Giorgetto Giugiaro unveiled the original design of the De Tomaso Mangusta back in 1965. And now, after more than 40 years, design graduate and digital artist/illustrator, Maxime de Keiser has unveiled a modern interpretation of the car, that we have to admit looks pretty cool.
The original car was built between 1965 and 1971 and was limited to just 401 units. The car was easy to recognize thanks to its distinctive silhouette, its very large windscreen and gullwing doors. Maxime de Keiser has created a modern interpretation of the car that follows the main design elements and character of the original. In designing his car he used modern technologies and design trends of today.
"Like the original, it had to be spectacular and communicate an impression of wild ferocity and power while recalling the serenity of a feline at rest, and the elegance of the animal that doesn’t need to fear anything," said designer and illustrator Maxime de Keiser.
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!
We’ve been waiting for the comeback announced by Detomaso since about 2008, and we may finally be seeing the start of that comeback in a spy shot seen on Jokeforblog. Though not a sports car like their famous Pantera, this next vehicle should give us something to work with as the shot reveals a sleek looking crossover model. Penned the SLC, the luxury SUV should be making its debut at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show from March 4th-14th.
The De Tomaso SLC should be launched sometime next year, and with the money obtained from sales, De Tomaso will built a modern interpretation of the legendary Pantera. So, basically, new owner Gianmario Rossignolo is using this model as a jump start before the serious auto-making begins.
Short refresher: The De Tomaso Pantera was the first super-sport model produced between 1971 until 1996. In its 25 years only 720 units were made and one of them was owned by Elvis Presley.
UPDATE 02/10/11:We’ve finally unearthed a number of teaser photos of the new De Tomaso SLC Crossover Concept that’s scheduled to be launched at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show. We still don’t know a whole lot about the concept vehicle, except that it’s going to be built as a large crossover with two engine types: a V6 diesel engine with 250 horsepower and a V8 gas engine with 550 horsepower. Likewise, De Tomaso is expected to build around 3,000 units of the production version of the SLC Crossover Concept every year with two other models set to follow suit. That’s all we have for now, but we do have teaser photos that you can check out in the gallery.
UPDATE 02/15/2011: Before making its official debut at the Geneva Motor Show, the De Tomaso SLC has made an appearance in Rome. Autoblog.it was there and was able to get a few clicks in. Check out the images in the gallery!