De Tomaso Vallelunga RHD

Car producer : 

De Tomaso


Vallelunga RHD





De Tomaso Modena SpA was an Italian car-manufacturing company. It was founded by the Argentine-born Alejandro de Tomaso (1928–2003) in Modena in 1959. It originally produced various prototypes and racing cars, including a Formula One car for Frank Williams' team in 1970. The company went on to develop and produce both sports cars and luxury vehicles. From 1976 to 1993 De Tomaso owned legendary Italian sports car maker Maserati, and was responsible for producing cars including the Biturbo, the Kyalami, Quattroporte III, Karif, and the Chrysler TC. De Tomaso also owned motorcycle company Moto Guzzi from 1973 to 1993.

De Tomaso's first road-going production model was the Vallelunga (named after the racing circuit) introduced in 1963. This mid-engined sports car had a 104 bhp (78 kW) Ford Cortina engine, and reached a top speed of 215 km/h (134 mph). It had an aluminium backbone chassis, which was to become a common feature of De Tomaso cars. The Vallelunga prototypes, meanwhile, had been styled and constructed by Carrozzeria Fissore, an alloy-bodied Spider and a pair of closed Coupes having been completed in 1963-64 while production cars had fibreglass bodywork.

De Tomaso's long racing experience was also reflected in the design of the Vallelungas running gear, which comprised all-independent suspension by wishbones and coil springs, rack-and-pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes.

Alejandro de Tomaso had hoped that a major motor manufacturer would buy into the programme and adopt the project as its own, but when no such approach was forthcoming he decided to go it alone.

The production Vallelunga featured striking glass-fibre Coupe bodywork styled by the young Giorgetto Giugiaro with more than a hint of Ferrari 250LM and Dino 206 combined. Compared with the Fissore-styled cars, there were numerous detail differences, the most obvious concerning access to the engine bay, which was via a glass hatch rather than the hinged clamshell-type rear body section of the prototypes.

Although just a humble pushrod power unit, the Ford engine was both robust and immensely tunable, and when installed in the Vallelunga it 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 manufacture the Mangusta. Of the Vallelunga series, only two cars are believed to have been completed in right-hand drive configuration for delivery to the UK market

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