According to Reuters, Italy’s Industry Ministry has confirmed that BMW is one of the parties interested in buying the defunct De Tomaso brand, with a sale process targeted to open by mid-October.

“We had confirmation that talks with possible Italian partners (who would buy the structural assets) and with BMW continue,” said UILM trade union secretary Giuseppe Anfuso, after a meeting attended by ministry, union and local government representatives of the Piedmont region and the city of Grugliasco recently.

However, it was only in May that a BMW spokesman told Reuters the German company had no interest in De Tomaso or any of its sites.

De Tomaso’s heyday was in the 1960s and 1970s, when it brought out Ford V8-engined sports cars such as the Mangusta and Pantera (Elvis Presley was an owner). The Modena, Italy-based firm folded in 2004 and attempts at reviving it have so far been unsuccessful. Earlier this year, plans to build a luxury crossover SUV in an ex-Pininfarina factory failed to materialise.

We can only speculate as to what would happen if BMW bought De Tomaso. A 21st-century Pantera with a BMW V8 engine would be great, but imagine a De Tomaso-badged X5…