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De Tomaso goes bankrupt. Again.

Published: 09 Jul 2012

We've always said we'd lick Bernard Manning's sweaty back for De Tomaso to start building good cars again, but our chances of a new Pantera have finally fizzled out - the Italian company's filed for bankruptcy.

After several tough months and the failure to nail down a new buyer, the sports car manufacturer declared itself insolvent. And this is the second time in eight years - De Tomaso went into liquidation in 2004, but was rescued in 2008 when former Fiat executive Gian Mario Rossignol bought the rights to the name.

In 2009 he presented the world with a compelling business plan, including the production of 8,000 new vehicles: 3,000 crossovers, 3,000 limousines, and 2,000 two-seater sports cars. And it all seemed to be ticking along nicely - the company even unveiled a luxo SUV at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show.

This was a marked improvement on its stand at Paris in 2010, where Top Gear's reporting team witnessed what can only be described as two portly Italian men reading a paper in front of a dusty 1980s relic. Perhaps the writing was on the wall even then.

It's seems academic now, but maybe it should have led its relaunch with a new Pantera (the old one's pictured above) - the trouser tightening 5.7-litre Ford V8-powered sportster. The cars were a huge success, production ran from 1971 through to the early 90s and there were plenty of derivatives to chose from, including the luxury Lusso, GT5S widebody and 500bhp Si...

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