The first new De Tomaso in a generation – an SUV codenamed De Tomaso SLC – will debut at the Geneva Motor Show.
We’ve covered some of the trials and tribulations of De Tomaso in the last couple of years, with the assets of the once-successful maker of Italian-style cars with a New World heart languished rusting and unwanted in Italy. But there were no takers; no one willing to breath life back in to a once successful marque.
But finally – in November 2009 – a white knight in the form of octegenarian and former Fiat Exec Gian Mario Rossignolo rode in to the fray, and plucked De Tomaso from the oblivion of the history books.
He bought the De Tomaso brand from the Modena Government. The liquidators had already managed to dispose of the factory in Modena, so all that was left was the spirit of De Tomaso. But that spirit has had new life breathed in to it and the first results will debut at Geneva in a few weeks.
The De Tomaso SLC – a luxury SUV / SAV / Crossover – will be on show, complete with a choice of three engines – a 550bhp V8, 300bhp V6 and a 250bhp 2.5 litre turbodiesel. We’ve talked to a source close to De Tomaso and we’ve been told the De Tomaso SLC will be sub £100k, so it will go almost head to head against mainstream cars like the Porsche Cayenne and BMW X6.
The SLC ,which will get a properly evocative name such as Pantera, Guara or Mangusta or something entirely new before production, will be built in Pininfarina’s Grugliasco plant (now rented by De Tomaso) with a planned production of 3,000 cars a year. But it’s not just the SLC that’s in the planning.
We already know that Rossignolo plans an SUV, Coupe and saloon, but our sources tell us there is also a City Car planned. All the cars will be built using a manufacturing plan based on a process known as Univis, which is an aluminium space-frame technology requiring only 30 dies to build a car
Rossignolo has pumped £100 million in to De Tomaso and has made a proper statement of intent. This is not just an old man’s last hurrah; this is a serious rebirth of an Italian marque.
Well done, Gian Mario.