It was supposed to be the Pantera for the 21st century.
Name: De Tomaso Nuova Pantera
Debuted: September 5, 1999
Why We Remember It Now:
Not only is it the last De Tomaso to be officially presented to the public, it’s also the last one made while company founder Alejandro De Tomaso was still alive.
Developed to mark the company’s 40th anniversary (1959 – 1999), the De Tomaso Nuova Pantera was originally envisioned as a preview for a reborn Pantera for the 2000s. Just two were ever made and unfortunately only one of them still exists today. Thankfully, it’s in pristine condition, though it can’t be driven on the streets since this is merely a mock-up without any running gear.
It never received the attention it deserved following its debut on September 5, 1999 when the legendary Argentinian race car driver and businessman Alejandro De Tomaso unveiled it in front of 500 people. He passed away in 2003 at the age of 74 and a year later the company went into liquidation, making the Nuova the last car to be revealed by the original De Tomaso company.
The concept’s futuristic body represents the work of none other than Marcello Gandini, the same man behind some automotive icons like the timeless Lamborghini Miura and the epic Lancia Stratos. The Nuova Pantera was supposed to usher in a new era for the brand, but sadly the financial hurdles stopped De Tomaso from further developing the car into a fully working production model.
The sole survivor of the two cars was sold to the Panini Collection in Modena and eventually changed hands once again in 2015 when it was acquired by the current owner. It has gone through a mild restoration process, but as you can see, it doesn’t have headlights and side mirrors as these were lost years ago. Their support holes have been filled since in to give the body a more cohesive look.
If you are a big fan of the original Pantera, this unique concept acting as a tribute is heading to the auction block without a reserve. RM Sotheby’s will try and sell the Nuova Pantera on September 6 at an event organized in London. With this being a mock-up, it doesn’t have any mechanicals, nor does it come with an interior – what you see is what you get.
For those wondering what happened with the De Tomaso brand, it switched owners in 2009, only to file for bankruptcy in 2012. In April 2015, it was sold to China's Consolidated Ideal TeamVenture for a little over $1 million.
Photos: Tim Scott / RM Sotheby's