It's 15 years since I first picked this up somewhere - and I've treasured it ever since. It's the most entertaining auto history I've ever read, and unlike the mainstream Ferrari, Porsche, Jaguar, et al, glamour titles, this isn't the umpteenth retelling of the same well-known story. This is much more, too, than a dry model-by-model summary filling in the gaps between mouth-watering pictures. Here we get the story of the enigmatic Alejandro de Tomaso and his rise to Italian auto magnate of sorts; the whole intriguing story of his speculation in the likes of Ghia and Maserati; and his projects with Lee Iaccoca at Ford and Giugario, among others. Most importantly we get the cars - and not a single prototype is overlooked - not least the Pantera, De Tomaso's attempt to fill Ford's post-Cobra hole. While Enzo Ferrari and Ferruccio Lamborghini wanted to make wonderful cars for their own sake, De Tomaso seemed to want to make wonderful cars AND his fortune, with rather mixed results. So here is the enthralling, frequently surprising and sometimes hilarious story of how the mixed-blood supercar from Italy didn't quite take the US by storm. And we get an earnest, irony-free (so all the more entertaining) insight into the US cult of the Pantera and the things which Californians will do to their cars (things you would never do to a Ferrari or a Lambo!). The Pantera's eccentric siblings are also covered in some detail, as are the more sophisticated near-relatives from Maserati.
Although written 20 years ago, the stories told in this book are still fresh and entertaining - you really couldn't make any of this stuff up! And, love 'em or hate 'em, De Tomaso made some gorgeous-looking cars and they're all here in this beautifully-written, well-illustrated book.