De Tomaso, the Italian performance brand that’s been dormant since its founder died in 2003, is coming back.
The new owners of the brand’s name will celebrate its 60th anniversary by launching an all-new car at the Goodwood Festival of Speed in July.
Images of a disguised prototype posted on social media shows that the new model bears a striking resemblance to the Pantera, a mid-engined sports car powered by a Ford V8 and produced from 1971 to 1993. It looks low-slung and wedge-shaped, with similar angular lines to the original. The Project P codename suggests the brand is intending to use the Pantera title once more, though this has yet to be confirmed.
The relaunch of De Tomaso is being conducted by Ideal Team Venture, a Hong Kong-based company that brought defunct brand Gumpert back as Apollo. It bought the rights to the De Tomaso name in 2014 for just €1.05 million (£900,000). The Project P car is said to have been co-developed by the Apollo team and “world-renowned technical partners” that have yet to be named.
After moving to Italy to become a Formula 1 racing driver, Argentinian-born Alejandro De Tomaso founded his eponymous firm in 1959. The company’s long history includes developing F1 cars for Frank Williams and owning Maserati from 1975 to 1993.
New general manager Ryan Berris claims “Alejandro’s journey was never properly told and we feel his name should be commonly recognised among greats such as Enzo Ferrari and Ferruccio Lamborghini”.
The new venture isn’t the first time a De Tomaso revival has been attempted. Back in 2009, a former Fiat executive bought the naming rights and planned to put a range of cars – including an SUV, a luxury saloon and a coupé – into production by 2011. However, by the middle of 2012, the maker was in the process of liquidation, leaving 900 unpaid employees and a former Pininfarina factory to be rescued by a new buyer. Dramatically, the former chairman was then dragged into court and charged with misusing Italian public funds allocated for De Tomaso’s revival.