There was a time in automotive history where one could argue that the United States was home to some of the most beautiful cars in the world. Some of our favorite vehicles of today even pay homage to these high points of Americarna: the Ford Bronco, the Chevrolet Camaro, and most recognizably the Dodge Challenger. However, not everything that comes out of the United States carries the same style that spawned America’s cultural obsession with the car. Italian sports car manufacturer De Tomaso has made a decree that they are looking to change this. In fact, they are on a mission to save us.
The automaker has begun what it is calling Mission American Automotive Renaissance. In their statement, the company states both their love and discontent for the American auto industry. De Tomaso laments the fact that we have strayed from the bold and elegant styling that existed between the 1920’s and 1960’s, and the sentiment that Europe leads the design world. In order to return the United States to its once former glory, De Tomaso will officially be moving their core business operations to the United States.
Now, De Tomaso is not yet sure where they will be landing in the United States, as they are still in talks with several state officials. However, they have confirmed that their upcoming P72 sports car will be manufactured by hand here in the States. The car has been co-developed by Roush, who also supply the supercharged 5.0L Coyote powertrain. Production is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of 2022, wherever the company ends up landing.
The Italian automaker has a long history when it comes to the U.S. auto industry. Starting with the Pantera back in 1971, every De Tomaso sports car has utilized a Ford V8 engine. The company worked with some guys named Lee Iacocca, Carroll Shelby, and Peter Brock during that time, who you may have heard of. The designer of the Pantera Tom Tjaarda was even born in the Motor City. They managed to sell 5,600 Panteras here in the United States, and the car still has a dedicated fan-base. Even the folks at Ringbrothers gave one their unrivaled build treatment. That said, not everybody is impressed with De Tomaso’s position. Particularly, one James Glickenhaus. On social media, the official SCG pages sounded off:
These guys are sniffing glue. They’re going to save the American car/design Industry? By making bling, clownish, bloated versions of Ferrari P 4/5 by Pininfarina? By racing at Le Mans, The Nurburgring, The Baja 1000? By going faster than our friends at SSC? By making the best sports car in the world for the money The Corvette? Something as cool as and reasonably priced as The new Bronco? By making better electric cars than Elon? Fuck them and the horse they are trying to ride in on.
While Glickenhaus makes several fair points, De Tomaso has made quite the statement with Mission AAR. That said, we are sure there are a few designers that would argue we’ve done our share of good things in the last fifty years. The P72 is a striking car nonetheless, and one that we get to call American now. Sort of.