De Tomaso Vallelunga Berlinetta 1967
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia
Chassis no. 807DT0115
* One of approximately 50 made
* Present ownership for nine years
* Offered from a select De Tomaso collection
* Registered in Italy
Alejandro De Tomaso began racing in his native Argentina in 1951 before moving to Italy to drive for Maserati and OSCA, the latter firm having been founded by the Maserati brothers after they sold up. This experience inspired him to form his own company - De Tomaso Automobili - in Modena, Italy in 1959. Racing was the order of the day to begin with, the fledgling firm building cars for Formula Junior, Formula 3, Formula 2 and Formula 1. De Tomaso's first road car - the Vallelunga - did not appear until 1965. A pretty, mid-engined coupé, the Vallelunga was built in small numbers and would contribute its short-wheelbase, backbone chassis - extensively re-engineered - to the Mangusta, the arrival of which in 1967 established De Tomaso as a serious automobile manufacturer.
Styled and constructed by Carrozzeria Fissore, the Vallelunga prototypes - an alloy-bodied spider and a couple of closed coupés - first appeared around 1963/64. Named after the Italian circuit where De Tomaso had raced with some success, the Vallelunga featured a Chapman-esque backbone chassis frame and was powered by a 1.5-litre Ford Kent four-cylinder engine. Unusually, the latter acted as a stressed chassis member, a practice that has since become commonplace for competition cars but remains rare among passenger vehicles. De Tomaso's background as a manufacturer of racing cars was reflected in the Vallelunga's running gear, which consisted of all-round independent suspension by means of wishbones and coil springs, rack-and-pinion steering, and four-wheel disc brakes.
It had been De Tomaso's hope that a major motor manufacturer would take on the project, but when no approach was forthcoming he decided to go it alone, turning production over to Carrozzeria Ghia, a company he would later acquire. The production Vallelunga featured striking glassfibre coupé bodywork - styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro - with more than hint of Ferrari 250LM and Dino 206 about it. Compared with the Fissore cars, there were numerous detail differences, the most obvious concerning access to the engine bay, which was by means of a glass hatch rather than the hinged rear body section of the prototypes. Although a humble pushrod unit, the Ford Kent engine was robust and tuneable, and when installed in the Vallelunga was fitted with Weber carburettors. Power was transmitted via a Hewland transaxle. Approximately 50 production Vallelungas were made during 1965/66 before De Tomaso moved on to the Mangusta.
Currently forming part of a select de Tomaso collection, this Vallelunga was bought nine years ago by current owner and has been used sparingly since then. In working order mechanically, the car is believed never to have been restored and is presented in original condition – even the paintwork is believed to be original. Offered with a recent Revisione (roadworthiness certificate) and the original Italian libretto, this ultra-rare Vallelunga represents an exciting opportunity to acquire a limited edition Italian coupé eligible for entry into a wide variety of the most prestigious historic motoring events.
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