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Thanks to Charlie McCall who sent me directions and maps, and to Roland for telling me what to look for as I arrived in Modena.

Over the 30 something years that I’ve been in love with Panteras, I had seen many photos of the factory in Modena. But as I turned the corner and looked to that logo and those colors, it was as if I had found buried treasure.

PI members had written here that getting in was difficult and that I could expect to see very little. The gates were wide open as I arrived, but the batteries in my camera were low, so I made a quick pit stop to find batteries – well not so quick – but that’s another story.

I expected a very short visit, so as I drove in I had my camera blazing. Some worker came over waving his finger. He could not speak English and for some reason didn’t understand my Italian, even though I had been practicing all week.

He went to get help, while I kept shooting. He returned with a well-dressed 'officiale' in a pi striped gray suit. He introduced himself as the man in charge of the company 'in liquidation'. I explained my pilgrimage and the history of my cars. I also told him I had emailed my request and a notice that I would be arriving today.

He was wonderful. He showed me around. Opened up 'what was left' of the showroom and talked all about the company, the history, the family, the cars and the current state of affairs. I just fired off questions and as he answered I walked and shot.

He told me a lot things that I am sure he wouldn’t want repeated – let alone posted on a website. There were two areas that he did not let me take photos of – the inside of what was once the assembly area and the warehouse. Given the current state of affairs, I can understand. But I had a good look and an eyeful of some very interesting things that contradicted a lot of what I had heard before.

This official was no 'company wind up' man; he was a passionate De Tomaso aficionado who obviously had spent many years either with a the family or in the company. He loved the cars and knew everything about them. So I’ll protect his name and his job.

We spent about 45 minutes and then I thanked him profusely and went to buy some Aceto Balsamica de Modena.

My Italy Guide Book says this about Modena. “Ferrari, Lamborghini and De Tomaso help make this a very affluent city.” While the De Tomaso factory was not all that affluent to look at, it was an emotional experience to see the place where my cars were assembled – sort of like visiting the delivery room where your kids were born.

Have a look at the photos I’ve posted. Many of you will surely know a lot more than I do about what I saw and photographed. So go ahead and fill us in. The shots of the cars in the showroom show drawings rolled up beside them. These are the actual working drawings of the cars, which were rescued from some poorly organized storage. The front half of the F1 car is the De Tomaso chassis. Frank Williams took back his drive train and rear suspension. There are several panels with at least a hundred signatures of so many greats – including Beltoise, Chapman, Stewart, Hill …even Gurney and Shelby! I know little about the bikes and some of the photos but I’ve seen many of them in books and articles. Check out the mechanic rushing by in his De Tomaso uniform. The Mangusta is a customer car in for some work. Note the noses of the F3 cars sticking out on the right side of the factory. There are some 4x4s inside as well – another not so successful De Tomaso venture. And right across from the warehouse is a small corral where a miniature South American horse is looking after her new arrival. The horses, like everything else, belong to Mrs. DeTomaso.


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