By on December 7, 2010

Last night, I was on the phone with one of my VC friends (that’s VC as in Venture Capital, not as in Vietcong, don’t get any ideas) and he decried the paucity of free cash: “From Joe Shmoe to billionaire investors, all are holding on to their money.” It can’t be all that bad if what Autoguide says is right, and if De Tomaso will be back from the dead. They say, there will be De Tomasos at the Geneva Autoshow.

In case you are too young to remember: A De Tomaso was THE supercar to have in the sixties and seventies, if you had too much money, and if you wanted the world to know. A De Tomaso was the automotive equivalent of flashing money. De Tomaso was founded by Alejandro de Tomaso, a rich Argentinian of Italian extraction. He had to flee Argentinia and settle in Italy, because someone developed the strange idea that De Tomaso was part of a plot to overthrow then Argentinian president, Juan Perón. Not a healthy suspicion at the times. De Tomaso put roots down in Modena, and started as a racing driver for Maserati. It helped that De Tomaso had married into even more money, and that his wife, Isabelle Haskell, also raced cars.

Driving wasn’t enough, he wanted to build them. After building F1 race cars, De Tomaso took to high-performance sports cars, most on an obscenely expensive aluminum chassis, the company’s technical trademark. The most famous De Tomasos were the Vallelunga, Mangusta and Pantera. The most recent product had been the Guarà, a sports car with an even more obscenely expensive carbon fiber body.

Later, De Tomaso developed an urge to collect down and out companies. He owned the Benelli and Moto Guzzi motorcycle makers, he bought Innocenti, the Italian offshoot of the British Motor Corporation with the intent to build Minis in Italy. He even rescued Maserati from bankruptcy, with a little help from the Italian government. Luckily, he could unload most of the deadbeats. After De Tomaso’s death in 2003, De Tomaso the company went into liquidation in 2004.

After Piech made the revival of old car brands fashionable by buying the Bugatti brand and castle, Gianmario Rossignolo, who was formerly the boss of Lancia, bought the rights to the De Tomaso name in 2009.

De Tomaso has a website (with not much in it). Rossignolo now let it slip to the Italian magazine Quattroroute that he plans to amaze and delight and add to the industry gossip at the Genevea Auto Show with not just one, but three De Tomasos: A luxury car, an SUV and a sportscar. He’s got all bases covered. Bring  money.

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6 Comments on “The Resurrection Of De Tomaso...”

  • avatar

    (that’s VC as in Venture Capital, not as in Vietcong, don’t get any ideas)
    Is there a difference?

  • avatar

    most on an obscenely expensive aluminum chassis
    With obscenely cheap Ford power, jojojojo

  • avatar

    Let’s start De Thomaso’s press release
    This new SUV is based on … platform shared with ….   Due to the increased power requirements imposed by the powerplant developed in cooperation with …, the design team elected to design its own suspension control arms, which are based on the suspension components used in … but instead of painting them black they are now plated in gold for better eye-wallet distribution.  The body shell is all new, built on the same assembly line as …

  • avatar

    Alejandro de Tomaso built some beautiful cars, but never a genuinely good one. He also tried (and failed) to turn Maserati into BMW, and he name-whored Maserati to Lee Iaccoca for the awful “Chrysler TC by Maserati”. Anyone remember the L-body Dodge 024 DeTomaso of 1980? The man was shameless.

    • 0 avatar

      I came across a Dodge DeTomaso that was advertised on eBay a while back. It had severe rust issues, but if I had a lot of money, I would have bought it, fitted it with a custom chassis and installed a 3G Hemi V8 under the hood.

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