Though De Tomaso Automobili isn't a mainstream automotive brand, they've made some cool supercars. Co-founded in 1959 by Alejandro De Tomaso and Isabelle Haskell, the company focuses on building performance automobiles. Both co-founders of De Tomaso were professional car racers, and they met through racing circles.

Isabelle Haskell, an American heiress, and daughter of Amory Haskell– a veteran motor and horse racer moved to Europe to pursue a career in racing, and she met Alejandro De Tomaso. The pair got married within a year of their initial meeting and co-founded De Tomaso Automobili. Most of the funding for the Italian carmaker came from Isabelle's brother– Amory Haskell Jr. Though the manufacturer mostly built racing prototypes, they released their first road-going sports car– the Vallelunga in 1963. After the Vallelunga model, De Tomaso released the Mangusta in 1966 and the Pantera in 1971. The manufacturer still makes impressive sports cars to date, and here are 10 things we just learned about them.

10 Ford Once Owned An 84% Stake

De Tomaso's Mangusta
Via MecumAuctions

Around the early years of De Tomaso's creation, they got into a relationship with Ford Motors. The Vallelunga, the first road-going production car from De Tomaso, shares an engine with the Ford Cortina. De Tomaso's Mangusta was released in 1966, and earlier models of the sports car were fitted with a Ford 286 V8 engine.

De-Tomasos-Mangusta-1
Via MecumAuctions

In 1971, Ford acquired an 84% stake in De Tomaso and was in control of production operations. However, the relationship didn't last because, in 1974, Ford decided to sell their 84% stake back to Alejandro De Tomaso and cut ties with the manufacturer.

9 De Tomaso Saved Maserati

1973 DeTomaso Pantera
Via BringaTrailer

Alejandro De Tomaso first raced with a Maserati in 1955 in a Buenos Aires 1,000km race and came in 7th position. In 1956, he competed in a Maserati again. Years later, in May 1975, Maserati's liquidation was announced.

1971_Detomaso_Pantera
Via BringaTrailer

Even then, the brand was very popular, and different unions and government officials held meetings to save it. Alejandro De Tomaso bought the company in August 1975 and then became the president and CEO. Today, De Tomaso is credited for saving Maserati. However, he had to sell the company to Fiat after a stroke.

RELATED: Here's What We Love About The De Tomaso Pantera GTS

8 Motorsports Attempts

1970 De Tomaso 505
Thomas Bersy

To participate in the 1970 Formula One racing season, the manufacturer employed Gian Paola Dallara to design the De Tomaso 505. The 505 is a Formula One racing model, and it was fitted with a Ford Cosworth DFV engine. For transmission, De Tomaso opted for a Hewland 5-speed transmission system and finished off with Dunlop tires.

19730 De Tomaso 505
Brain Snelson

The De Tomaso 505 debuted at the 1970 South African Grand Prix, and some of the race car's significant drivers include Piers Courage, Brian Redman, and Tim Schenken. However, during the 1970 Dutch Grand Prix, Piers Courage died when his De Tomaso 505 caught fire.

7 Liquidation

De Tomaso Pantera
User:LimoWreck

After Alejandro's demise in 2003, the De Tomaso brand was liquidated. A former Fiat executive– Gian Mario Rossignol, bought the rights to the brand's name and tried to revive it. Everything seemed to be going smoothly, and Rossignolo soon announced a plan for future cars. At the 2011 Geneva Motor Show, De Tomaso presented a new Deauville concept car, but production never started.

De-Tomaso-Pantera-1
El Caganer

In 2012, Rossignolo got arrested and was accused of misappropriating funds. On charges of fraud and embezzlement, he was sentenced to 5½ years in prison. In 2014, De Tomaso Automobili was acquired by Norman Choi of Ideal Team Ventures.

RELATED: 10 Things Gearheads Forgot About The De Tomaso Guara

De-Tomaso-logo-1960
Car Logos

While De Tomaso Automobili is Italian, its founder– Alejandro De Tomaso, was born in Argentina. Born to a prominent Argentinian family, his father was a socialist politician and once the minister of Agriculture. Alejandro formed a political newspaper with some friends to resist the Argentinian government in his twenties.

De-Tomaso-Logo
Automarken

When he got implicated in a plot to overthrow the president, he fled to Italy. The De Tomaso logo has blue and white stripes representing the Argentinian flag. There's also a "T" on the logo, representing the cattle branding symbol of the Ceballos estate where he grew up.

5 Batmobile Designer Joins De Tomaso

Batmobile
Ank Kumar

Even though the Batmobile is a fictional car, Batman fans are still fascinated. The batmobile made its first appearance in the 1939 Detective comics, and since then, the armored car has featured in a plethora of comics and movies. There's even a movie about the Batmobile, and the storyline centers around the historical evolution of the Batmobile.

Batmobile-1
Horizon06

In the movie, Batmen– Adam West and Christopher Nolan even made appearances. In 2020, a digital artist– Ash Thorp, posted pictures of the Batmobile he's been working on and confirmed that he was involved in the Batman movie. Ash Thorp has now joined De Tomaso as a digital artist, and his job description involves helping design future models and creating artwork.

RELATED: De Tomaso Collaborates With A German Motorsport Genius To Build The P72 Supercar

4 Plans For US Move

De Tomaso Factory2
Via TheDeTomasoForums

De Tomaso Automobili was founded in Italy, and the manufacturer has since kept all of its production operations within Italy. However, with the change in ownership, it's understandable how the company's location might also change. In 2020, the carmaker announced that they plan to move to the US.

De Tomaso
ThickCookingOil

According to De Tomaso, they intend to fill the void in American design and craftsmanship. They also plan to form partnerships with American manufacturers and, of course, compete with them. However, their plans have been stalled by the covid-19 pandemic.

3 The Isabelle Prototype

Carmen Jorda With Isabelle Prototype
De Tomaso

De Tomaso's new prototype has been named "The Isabelle" after Alejandro's wife and business partner– Isabelle Haskell. She played an important role in the company, and by naming the prototype after her, De Tomaso says they're bringing romance back to cars. The company released a short video, and in this video, Isabelle Haskell is portrayed by Carmen Jordá.

Carmen Joda and Isabelle Prototype
De Tomaso

We think the portrayal is fitting because, like Isabelle Haskell, Jordá is also a car driver. To be specific, Carmen Jordá is a development driver for both Lotus Cars and Renault Spirit in Formula 1.

RELATED: 10 Things Everyone Forgot About The De Tomaso Vallelunga

2 Acquired Holdings

De Tomaso Mangusta
Allen Watkin

In the 1960s and 70s, De Tomaso acquired some Italian companies like Ghia. Carrozzeria Ghia, otherwise known as Ghia, is an auto design and coachbuilding company. Alejandro worked with Ghia the build his first production car– the Vallelunga and wanted help to build the Mangusta model. However, Ghia was experiencing financial issues at the time.

1969_De_Tomaso_Mangusta
Mr Choppers

Alejandro convinced his brother-in-law to finance his acquisition of Ghia, and he became the company's president. Alejandro also acquired other Italian holdings like Vignale, Benelli, Moto Guzzi, and the Innocenti car company.

1 De Tomaso P72

De_Tomaso_P72
J Harwood Images

The De Tomaso P72 will be the company's first car under the new owners, and they're going all out. For this new supercar model, De Tomaso is collaborating with Roush Performance. The American performance company majors in making performance car parts.

De_Tomaso_P72-1
Liam Parker

Some of the products at Roush Performance include supercharger kits, performance exhaust systems, and wheels. They also make body kits. Roush Performance will provide Ford 5.0L V8 engines enhanced with their superchargers. With this supercharged V8, the P72 will deliver 700 horsepower and 600 lb-ft of torque.

1971 De Tomaso Pantera with Ford's engine
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