De Tomaso P72 supercar makes its Canadian debut

The coupe is sold out, but the roadster is destined for Canada when production begins in 2024.

By Stephanie Wallcraft Wheels.ca

Mar 10, 2023 4 min. read

Article was updated 7 months ago

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It's time to bring back the romance to automotive.

This was the message from De Tomaso Automobili as its P72 supercar made its Canadian debut at an invitation-only reception, hosted by ultraluxury dealer Grand Touring Automobiles in Toronto.

If the brand name sounds familiar but you can’t quite place it, its Chairman Norman Choi can jog your memory. Choi is based in Hong Kong, and his automotive career has seen him raise financing for Croatian automaker Rimac and act as CEO of supercar brand Apollo. He rescued the De Tomaso brand out of bankruptcy in 2014 in a moved based largely on nostalgia.

Norman Choi

“I went to school in the U.S. back in the late 80s, and De Tomaso at the time was still a big hit,” Choi told Wheels.ca. “My neighbour had a Pantera, so every weekend he would take out the car and I was like wow, holy smoke, that's a nice-looking car. So, that's how I got started.”

Upon taking ownership of the De Tomaso brand, Choi began development of the P72 supercar, which is named in homage of the De Tomaso P70 prototype from the 1960s that was touched by the hands of both Peter Brock and Carroll Shelby. The De Tomaso P72 is based on the Apollo Intensa Emozione, which itself was developed in part by HWA, a German motorsport company founded by AMG co-founder Hans Werner Aufrecht. The car uses a monocoque chassis formed from 26 layers of directionally laid carbon fibre, including the crash structure and subframes, meaning the chassis itself weighs only 135 kilograms (or just under 300 pounds). Pair that with a six-speed manual gearbox as the only transmission option to go with the supercharged Ford Coyote V8—which in some markets Choi says can produce as much as 820 horsepower and 678 pound-feet of torque, depending on local regulations—and the P72 is nothing short of a rocket on wheels.

De Tomaso P72

De Tomaso P72

There are also persistent rumours that an associated Le Mans Hypercar is in development based on the P72, powered by a V12 engine and set to launch in 2024. And here’s some information to stoke the flames of that rumour: Choi says he’s planning to host the Pantera’s designer, Peter Brock, and his wife at the 100th anniversary of the 24 Hours of Le Mans this June.

Back to the road-going version of the P72: the planned production run of the coupe, set at 72 units, is sold out. But a roadster is in development and is currently undergoing homologation for the North American market, which is expected to be complete by this summer with production getting under way by late 2024. In Canada, Grand Touring Automobiles will be the exclusive distributor, serving clients in eastern Canada from its luxury-marque dealership in downtown Toronto and on the west coast from its Calgary locations. Pricing is yet to be determined, but expect it to exceed $2 million Canadian.

De Tomaso P72


De Tomaso P72

De Tomaso and Grand Touring Automobiles chose to host the P72’s Canadian debut on International Women’s Day and mark the occasion by telling a little-known story about the origins of the De Tomaso brand. Car enthusiasts may be familiar with the name of the marque’s founder, Alejandro de Tomaso, who was an Argentinian businessman and racing driver who entered a pair of Formula One races in the late 1950s. But little is said about his wife, Isabelle de Tomaso: her father, Amory Haskell, was a Vice-president of General Motors, and that exposure to the industry formed a passion for automobiles in her at an early age. She raced competitively, including at the 12 Hours of Sebring, but grew frustrated with her limited options in America and moved to Europe to further her motorsport career. There, she met Alejandro, and they married and later co-founded the De Tomaso automobile brand.

“Those Italian iconic (automotive brands), they never talk about the women behind them,” Choi said. “And actually, De Tomaso never talked about it, either. This is part of the respect that we want to pay to history, pay to women and their importance. At the end of the day, if it wasn't for Isabelle, there wouldn't be De Tomaso.”

An automotive brand, founded in romance, pays homage to it and brings it back to life. When we remember and honour these roots, our shared passion for the automobile lives on.




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