As much as it would have been fantastic to see the mighty De Tomaso Pantera resurrected, it seems the dream that graced our news section last February is falling to shambles.
De Tomaso had a chance at revival, or so it seemed, when Chinese investment firm Hotyork announced that it planned to buy the automaker from its current majority shareholder, the Rossignolo family for 70 million euros. In the months that passed since then, it seems that cash failed to materialize and it seems the the Rossignolo family and its creditors patience is spent.
Perhaps the saddest part of this story is what’s become of the company’s workers in Italy who have been hung out to dry in the midst of a transition that never occurred. Left unpaid for months, the Italian government is finally interfering and offering compensation, but it only amounts to something similar to unemployment insurance — a far cry from the wages those workers would otherwise expect to earn. At a breaking point, one man chained himself to the gates of casa Rossingolo in protest.
At the project’s outset, Rossingolo projected to build some 3,000 units annually, but after failing to find investor capitol sufficient to pay rent on the former Pininfarina factory, the funds dried up and paychecks with it.
The fact that innocent workers are suffering at the hands of an irresponsible business owner is the clear tragedy in this story, but it’s hard not to sigh a little knowing there isn’t a new Pantera in the future.
For those who might not know or remember, the De Tomaso Pantera was produced as a combination of American muscle and Italian refinement. It featured a 5.8-liter Ford V8 mid mounted with wedge-shaped styling that looks a lot like a classic Lamborghini. When the news emerged that Hotyork planned to buy the company, a sedan, crossover and Pantera successor were also said to be on the way. Now that dream is dead once again.