If you were, like us, holding out hope for a De Tomaso revival prepare to be disappointed as Italian car maker ATS (Automobili Turismo Sport) has reportedly given up their bid for the defunct brand.
Founded by Alejandro de Tomaso in 1959, the company behind the Pantera and Mangusta eventually petered out a decade ago, only to be revived by former Fiat executive Gian Mario Rossignolo in 2009. The resurgent De Tomaso showcased the Deauville concept at the 2011 Geneva Motor Show and began development on a new Pantera, both designed by Pininfarina, but ended up back in bankruptcy last year amidst allegations of misappropriations of government subsidies.
Those truly schooled in the history of Italian sports cars will recognize the letters ATS. They belong to Automobili Turismo Sport, an outfit formed after the great ‘Palace Revolution’ at Ferrari in the early 1960s. The brand was originally launched in 1963 by a legion of disgruntled former Ferrari employees, like Carlo Chiti and Giotto Bizzarrini, but shut down a few short years later. ATS folded a few years after that, but recently resurfaced some 50 years later under new caretakers. And now it’s probably changing hands again.
Speaking to Autoblog, ATS chief Gianluca Gregis said the company will be leaving Italy to setup shop in the Canary Islands. The move to the Spanish archipel off the coast of Morocco will reportedly bring a number of benefits including tax incentives and easier shipping to global locations. Unfortunately, the change has caused the company to refocus their efforts and drop necessary projects. As a result, ATS have withdrawn their bid for De Tomaso and sold their Leggera Roadster program and sold their to an unnamed – British? – automaker.
ATS appears to be going through a management dispute between its two owners – one party supporting the course of action described below and the other working to stop it and keep ATS in Italy. We’ll be watching to see how it develops.