1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126

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Lot 116
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga

€ 320,000 - 360,000
US$ 380,000 - 430,000
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga
Coachwork by Carrozzeria Ghia

Chassis no. 807DTO126
•The first De Tomaso production model
•One of circa 53 made
•Delivered new to Switzerland
•Restored to concours condition in 2004
•2nd in Class Villa d'Este 2004

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 (around 105bhp at maximum) was transmitted via a four-speed Hewland transaxle. An estimated 53 production Vallelungas were made during the mid/late 1960s before De Tomaso moved on to the Mangusta.

Chassis number '807DTO126' was delivered new to Switzerland on 1st May 1968, though its first owner remains unknown. On 23rd May 1981 the car was sold to Paul Feldmann of Opfikon, Zurich, passing in 1984 to Hansueli Buchi and then in 1986 to Fritz Feldmann. The Vallelunga has changed hands again in 1996 and stayed in Switzerland until 2 years ago.

Following in excess of 2,000 hours of restoration work to bring it up to concours condition, the car was shown at the Villa d'Este concours in April 2004, gaining a 2nd in class award in the 1960-1970: Open and Closed Cars 'Le Style en Liberté' category. This beautiful De Tomaso has also been widely featured in the motoring press, appearing in 'Motor Klassik' (June 2004 edition), 'Pantera International' (Fall 2004 edition) and 'Auto Italia' (December 2005 edition). Offered with some invoices, photo prints of Villa d'Este 2004 and other photos during and after its restoration. It comes with Swiss registration papers and proof that EU-taxes have been paid, this rare survivor of the De Tomaso marque's early output is almost certainly the best of its type currently available.
Contacts
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
1968 De Tomaso Vallelunga   Chassis no. 807DTO126
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