Designed by Gandini, this could have been the Pantera of the 21st century.
Some things are just never meant to be. This was one of them. In September 1999, 500 people gathered to celebrate the 40th anniversary of De Tomaso, builder of the iconic Pantera from 1971 until 1992. Founder Alejandro De Tomaso was present, and he had something else to show his audience: the De Tomaso Nuova Pantera Prototype, aka the Pantera 2000. Designed by the one and only Marcello Gandini, the Pantera 2000 concept was supposed to be the beginning of a new 21st century luxury supercar. Only it never happened.
And now the only surviving prototype (there were just two) is heading to auction next month at RM Auction's London event. Following the concept's reveal, literally nothing else happened for it to reach production. The press wasn't really all that interested and, therefore, the public didn't know much, if anything, about it. Look closely, specifically up front and from the side, and you may see some familiar styling. It was considered as one of the design inspirations for the Bugatti Veyron, which launched in 2005. De Tomaso ultimately closed for good in 2004 and the Pantera 2000 was purchased by Modena's Panini Collection. Its current owner bought it two years later.
Since then, it's had a conservative restoration in order to preserve its originality. Some slight damage that occurred while in storage was also repaired. Interestingly, the folding side mirrors and front lights have disappeared, but their support holes have been filled in. Like many concepts, the Pantera 2000 is literally a shell; it has no interior, nor windows or any mechanicals. De Tomaso, Gandini and Italian exotic car collectors in general will undoubtedly be interested in this, and it's being offered with no reserve. Photos courtesy of RM Auctions.