Alejandro De Tomaso of Argentina raced in his native country during the early 1950s prior to moving to Italy to drive for Maserati and OSCA. Later, he formed his own company using his surname. The De Tomaso Automobili Company was formed in 1959 and based in Modena, Italy. Their early cars were built to contest Formula Junior, Formula 3, Formula 2 and Formula 1. The company's first road car was the Valleluna which did not appear until 1965. It had a mid-engine layout, a short wheelbase, and a coupe body. Power was from a 1.5-liter Ford Kent four-cylinder engine offering just over 100 horsepower and mated to a four-speed Hewland transaxle. The suspension was comprised of an all-round independent setup by means of coil springs and wishbones. Other mechanical features included four-wheel disc brakes and a rack-and-pinion steering system. The production glassfibre coupe bodywork was styled by Giorgetto Giugiaro and constructed by Carrozzeria Ghia.
The Vallelunga prototypes wore styling and construction by Carrozzeria Fissore. These prototypes consisted of an alloy-bodied spider and a few closed coupes which first appeared around 1963 and 1964. Differences from the prototype and production examples were many, with one of the more noticeable changes being the rear section of the car. The prototypes had a hinged rear body section while the production models had a glass hatch.
The name 'Vallelunga' was chosen after the Italian circuit where DeTomas had raced with some success.
DeTomaso had hoped the Vallelunga prototypes would inspire interest from a major motor manufacturer that would take on the project. When no one agreed to take over production, he decided to produce them himself. Carrozzeria Ghia was sourced for completing the production - a company that DeTomaso would later acquire.
During the production lifespan of the Vallelunga, which lasted until the late 1960s, a total of 53 examples (estimated) were built.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2017
When the president of the Swiss De Tomaso Owners' Club purchased this Vallelunga in 1993, it had just 22,000 km on its odometer. A high-quality concours restoration soon followed and would consume 2,000 man hours to complete. After the work was completed, it was shown at Concorso d'Eleganza Villa d'Este in 2004 where it earned a Second in Class.
Currently, this coupe has an uprated, 1499cc SOHC inline 4-cylinder engine fitted with Dual Twin-Choke 40 DCOE Weber Carburetors and offers 125 horsepower.
By Daniel Vaughan | Nov 2017
The DeTomaso was introduced in the early 1960s and produced until 1968. It was an exotic, mid-engine, rear-wheel drive sports car that was based on a roadster designed by Carrozzeria Fissore. It was named after the Autodromo di Vallelunga first shown as a concept car at the Turin Motor Show in 1964. DeTomaso planned to sell the design of the concept to another automaker but an interested party could not be found. As a result, DeTomaso undertook the project with the vehicle assembly outsourced to Ghia.
The Vallelunga was powered by a 1.5L four-cylinder Kent engine sourced from the Ford Cortina. It produced just over 100 horsepower. The chassis was a pressed steel backbone with tubular subframes. A Volkswagen Beetle transaxle was used and fitted with Hewland gearsets. The entire package was clothed in a fiberglass body along with many drilled aluminum parts. At all four corners were disc brakes.
Only 53 production examples were produced (a total of 58 examples when including the prototypes and race cars). Production ceased before the vehicles problems could be resolved, such as quieting the noisy, high-torque engine or working out the drive train vibration issues. It was replaced by the DeTomsao Mangusta which used a modified Vallelunga chassis and powered by a Ford Boss 302 motor.
By Daniel Vaughan | Oct 2011