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by Tim Beissmann

Italian sports car manufacturer De Tomaso will come out of hibernation at the Geneva Motor Show in March with the unveiling of an all-new luxury SUV destined for production in 2012.

The De Tomaso SLC (Sport Luxury Car) is a large all-wheel drive crossover designed by famous Italian styling house Pininfarina.

The brand’s new Chairman, former Lancia CEO, Gian Mario Rossignolo, told Automotive News he has plans to expand the range to include three models: the SLC, a luxury sedan and a coupe.

Mr Rossignolo promised the SLC (a working title only) would be launched next year with three high-performance engines: a 184kW V6 diesel, a petrol-powered 221kW V6, and a range-topping 405kW V8.

The 80-year-old said the reborn brand plans to build 8000 vehicles per year, including 3000 SUVs and sedans and 2000 coupes at a former Pininfarina plant near Turin.

Little more is known about the vehicles, although Mr Rossignolo confirmed they would be constructed with aluminium space-frames using ‘Univis’ technology, which requires just 30 dies to make a vehicle.

Argentinian racing car driver Alejandro de Tomaso formed De Tomaso in Modena in 1959.

The company produced vehicles until 2005, although its glory years were in the 1960s and 1970s, with famous sports models like the Mangusta, Pantera and the Vallelunga. De Tomaso owned fellow Italian sports car manufacturer Maserati between 1976 and 1993.

The De Tomaso brand also has significant history in Australia. According to the Pantera Owners Club of Australia, the Pantera’s 351 Cleveland 4V V8 engine was originally sourced from Ford US, but when production stopped in the early 1970s, Ford Australia stepped in to provide the castings for De Tomaso. Apparently a small number of vehicles were imported to Australia without engines and the entire power unit was fitted locally.

De Tomaso was placed into liquidation in 2004 following the death of its founder the previous year, and was purchased from the bankruptcy court by Mr Rossignolo in 2009.

The new owner said he was committed to investing 116 million euros ($156 million) in the company’s resurrection.




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