De Tomaso Vallelunga

De Tomaso Vallelunga Ghia Berlinetta

The De Tomaso Vallelunga was the first road-going sports car of Italian car maker De Tomaso. Its construction was technically innovative; the Vallelunga was the first Italian sports car has a central tube frame and mid-engine. The vehicle was unveiled to the public in 1963. In the following years, including the prototypes emerged about 55 copies. Most of them wore a designed by Fissore Coupé body; also some other vehicles were coated with special bodies. The model name recalled the Autodromo Vallelunga Piero Taruffi Campagnano di Roma.

The background

The company De Tomaso Automobili was founded by Alejandro de Tomaso in Modena in 1959 was initially targeted in the first years of its existence on the participation in motorsport. Alejandro de Tomaso had designed numerous race cars, including some for Formula 1, which were lined up in 1963 with moderate success in mostly secondary, not the World Cup scoring Grand Prix. Besides created numerous race cars for smaller classes such as Formula 2 or Formula Junior, who were driven partly under the model name Isis. A production of road-going sports car was not initially planned. The fact that Alejandro de Tomaso in 1962 nevertheless decided to expand activities, had primarily financial reasons: De Tomaso wanted to fund the costly racing through the sale proceeds of street sports car. To make these vehicles again attractive, de Tomaso used many elements from racing in their construction.

The technique

The De Tomaso Vallelunga had a central tube frame, which was similar to that of the Lotus Elan in its conception. The wheels were front and rear independent suspension. There are reports that the front suspension was taken from the Triumph Herald. The motor was positioned between the driver and the rear axle. The engine block, a 1.5 -liter four- cylinder ( " Kent engine " ) came from Ford in the UK and was built regularly in the Ford Cortina. De Tomaso installed a light-alloy cylinder head and raised the compression ratio to 9:1 at. In addition, two double Weber carburetors were used by the Type 40 DCOE2. This resulted in a power output of 74 kW (100 hp) at 6,200 revolutions per minute. The transmission came from Hewland, a British racing suppliers and contained components from Volkswagen. A similar engine-transmission combination was found in numerous contemporary Formula 3 cars.

The constructions

The Fissore - Spider

The prototype of Vallelunga in 1963 dressed with an open body, which was based in Savigliano Carrozzeria Fissore designed and manufactured. The car had a low, slightly curved waistline with an eye-catching, clear towering roll bar behind the driver's seat. The general view of the structure of the Porsche 550 was similar Sypder. The body was made of aluminum, the entire car should not have weighed more than 480 kg. Alejandro de Tomaso claimed top speed came in at over 220 km / hr.

The Fissore Spider remained unique. Although De Tomaso was considering to launch a production version of this model, but opted for a closed version. The Spider has been used successfully for several years in road racing.

Fissore and Ghia Berlinetta Berlinetta

After Spider designed Fissore a closed structure for the Vallelunga chassis. The technical orientation of the vehicle remained unchanged, but the body had no resemblance to the heavily tilted toward racing Sypder. The headlights were located behind a plastic cover, and was located on the rear of a large panoramic window.

Fissore built two prototypes made of aluminum. They were presented at the Turin Motor Show in October 1964. A special feature of Fissore prototype was that the entire body portion could be folded behind the B-pillar as a unit.

With the series production of the Berlinetta but not Fissore, but Carrozzeria Ghia of Turin who was tasked at the time did not yet belong to Alejandro de Tomaso's group of companies. The Ghia bodies were in contrast to the Fissore prototypes made ​​of plastic. Stylistically they corresponded designs essentially Fissores. However Ghia renounced the hinged rear section. Other differences were limited to details such as lighting components and trim. According to the predominant view emerged until 1966 (according to other sources: up to 1965) about 50 vehicles, designed by Fissore construction.

Special bodies

In addition to the standard Berlinetta structure erected on the Vallelunga chassis some unique pieces that were equipped with special structures. These included:

  • The De Tomaso Vallelunga Ghia Spyder ( Competizione 2000), was an open, ultra-flat racing sports cars. It was completed in December 1965 through the body building firm Ghia, unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1966 for the first time and presented in the following years to other fairs. When the engine De Tomaso referred for marketing reasons regularly on a 2.0 -liter eight-cylinder boxer engine from its own production, but the should not be advanced beyond the planning phase; in fact, he had an enlarged version of the engine capacity of the conventional 1.6 -liter Ford four-cylinder engine in a specially tuned by De Tomaso form with new cylinder heads and camshafts. The gearbox was from Volkswagen, the gearbox innards of Colotti; the transmission corresponded to essentially the De Tomaso Formula 3 and Formula Junior racing cars. The Ghia Spyder had first tire with a width of 6 inches at the front and 7 inch rear on relatively small 13 -inch wheels, but was later converted rüstetd De Tomaso Vallelunga Fantuzzi Spyder analogous to ( Sports 1000) on 15 -inch wheels.
  • The De Tomaso Fantuzzi Spyder ( Sport 1000 ), also an open, ultra-flat racing car, dressed by the Modenese Carrozzeria Fantuzzi; He was presented at the De Tomaso stand the Turin Racing Car Show in February 1966. Initially, he still had the regular Kent engine, however, was soon after the exhibition with a modified De Tomaso four-cylinder Formula 2 engine of BRM provided with 998 cm ³, which on a model developed for Formula 1 eight-cylinder decreased (power 129 hp at 9750 revolutions per minute). The body was extensively modified to take this opportunity, also received the vehicle Campagnolo rims as they also had the De Tomaso Formula 3 race car.
  • Another unique piece was the De Tomaso Pampero, an open road sports car with a designed by Giugiaro body. The wheelbase was lengthened to 2350 mm; apart from the technique of serial Vallelunga remained unchanged. The Pampero was taken shortly before production of the Vallelunga was adjusted. His presentation took place at the Turin Motor Show in November 1966. He remained a one-off.