Year: 1964 to 1968
Marque: De Tomaso
Most people know De Tomaso as the manufacturer of burly Ford V8-powered supercars from the 70s and 80s, but the company’s history is much richer and more diverse than that, fueled mainly by its founder Alejandro de Tomaso’s eclectic passion for all things automobile. The company was founded in 1959 to support de Tomaso’s sports car racing career, which included runs at Le Mans. In 1963 he resolved to create road-going sports car to help finance his racing. What issued from that fateful decision was the car we now know as the Vallelunga—named after the Italian circuit upon which de Tomaso had enjoyed success. It wasn’t just a first for De Tomaso—the Vallelunga holds the distinction of being the first commercially produced mid-engined street car!
De Tomaso hired Carozzeria Fissore to pen the original design. The first draft was a roadster that shared almost nothing with the coupe we see here. In addition to the roadster, Fissore built several prototype coupes that refined the design to its current look. These prototypes featured an aluminum body over a backbone chassis with wishbone suspension subframes fore and aft. Power came from a 1.6L Ford out of a Cortina producing 104hp, reasonable power for a machine weighing just 1600 pounds.
The plan was to craft a design that he could sell to another manufacturer to produce. That never came to fruition, so de Tomaso decided to produce the car himself. He handed the production duties over to design firm Ghia, establishing a relationship that would eventually see de Tomaso purchase Ghia and run it before eventually selling to Ford. The production Vallelungas switched from aluminum bodies to fiberglass, and Ghia added the large rear hatchback that is a signature element of its styling.
The Vallelunga is obviously an attractive design and it performed well, but ultimately only 58 examples were built—mainly because de Tomaso himself switched his focus to other ventures—including the acquisition of Ghia, motorcycle builder Moto Guzzi, Maserati, and building Formula 1 race cars for Frank Williams. And of course those burly V8 supercars. Still, the Vallelunga was his first, and serves as beautiful stepping off point for a much respected brand!
Automodello has an affinity for firsts, and for lesser-known forebears to famous automotive designs. The Vallelunga certainly qualifies, and it sits nicely in a niche of 1:43 replicas of small-volume sports cars with Italian, British and American heritage, (and in de Tomaso’s case, Argentine.) The standard edition (red with a black interior) is limited to 499 units, while the special hand-numbered Homage Edition in black with tan interior is limited to just 24! Congratulations on your purchase, and enjoy this precision replica that represents the beginning of a legend!
Diecasm Payment Plan:
This model is eligible for Diecasm's exclusive Automodello 3 payment plan. Please see details here.