De Tomaso Vallelunga
|Body and chassis|
|Body style||Coupe (53 produced)
|Engine||Ford 1592 cc straight-4|
|Wheelbase||2,310 mm (90.9 in)|
|Curb weight||726 kg (1,601 lb)|
|Successor||De Tomaso Mangusta|
The Vallelunga is a mid-engined, rear wheel drive sports car produced by De Tomaso from 1964 until 1968.
The Vallelunga was based on a roadster designed by Carozzeria Fissore and named after the Autodromo di Vallelunga first shown as a concept car at the Turin Motor Show in 1964. De Tomaso had hoped to sell the design of the concept to another company, perhaps Ford, but when there were no takers had the car produced by Ghia.
The engine was a 1.5 L straight-4 Kent engine from the Ford Cortina with 104 hp (78 kW) at 6200 rpm. A Volkswagen Beetle transaxle, fitted with Hewland gearsets, was used. The chassis was a pressed steel backbone with tubular subframes. Suspension was double wishbone and coil springs at all four corners with uprights sourced from Triumph. The small car weighed 726 kg (1600 lb) with a fiberglass body and many drilled aluminium parts. Brakes were disc all around.
The chassis was not torsionally sound for engines with higher torque, a problem made worse by faulty welding in the Italian-made backbone. Drivetrain vibration was a constant problem for those cars. A total of 53 production cars were built (58 including aluminum body prototypes and race cars) before the model was replaced by the Mangusta. The Mangusta used the concept of the Vallelunga chassis, significantly re-engineered to take a Ford 302 engine , all packaged with a body by Giorgetto Giugiaro.
One enthusiastic young owner of the Vallelunga was Ricci Martin, son of the late entertainer Dean Martin. Ricci obtained the red car around the time of his sixteenth birthday in 1969, but his brother wrote it off a few months later in a road accident. Ricci's mother went to some effort to locate a replacement car in an auto showroom in Milan, Italy, and arranged for the new car to be air-freighted to California. A few years later, Ricci Martin sold the replacement Vallelunga after purchasing a version of its successor, the Mangusta. The Ricci Martin car (VIN 807DT0116) was generally restored by machinist and sports car enthusiast Kenneth Krohncke in San Jose, California, sold to a collector in Southern California in 1980, and was later located in Florida.
The 1964 DeTomaso Vallelunga spider