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De Tomaso Revival Isn’t Happening

De Tomaso / 27 Comments

Not only is the revival not happening, but the company's workers were screwed over.

Over a year ago we reported that former Lancia boss Gianmario Rossignolo bought the remnants of De Tomaso and began making plans for its comeback. The initial plan called for a three car lineup: a luxury car, a sports car, and an SUV. At the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, the De Tomaso Deauville sedan concept premiered to not so enthusiastic reviews. Yes, it was ugly, but just a couple of months later a spy video showed what appeared to be a camouflaged De Tomaso Pantera prototype leaving the gates of the Modena factory in Italy.

In other words, it seemed clear that a new Pantera was just around the corner. However, according to reports, De Tomaso's hopeful revival is now officially dead. A while back, a Chinese investment firm called Hotyork announced plans to buy the company from the Rossignolo family for €70 million. This deal never materialized and the family and their creditors got tired of waiting for the money (or simply gave up believing it was ever going to happen). The saddest part to this story is the fact that the company's workers in Italy weren't paid for months as they waited for the deal to be completed and for fresh cash to begin flowing.

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In fact, one employee even chained himself to the gates of the Rossignolo home in protest. In happier times, the initial plan was to build some 3,000 units annually. When it became impossible to find an investor to help pay the floor rent at the former Pininfarina factory along with making payroll, the party was over even before it could get started. The worst thing is that the employees suffered for so long without being paid simply because the owner was irresponsible with his business decisions. The Italian government is now likely to offer those workers some compensation.

The original Pantera was Italian designed and was powered by a 5.8-liter Ford V8. It certainly wasn't the most reliable exotic (like any Italian ones were back in the 70s), but it proved to be popular and had a 20 year production run. It would have been great to see the De Tomaso brand up and running once again, but now that we know some of the details behind the story, we're just pleased to know that those employees will hopefully be getting some much needed cash soon.