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						De Tomaso Vallelunga

1967 De Tomaso Vallelunga

By Dean Larson

Photos: Seller, eBay

The name De Tomaso is essentially synonymous with brutish Ford V8 engines today, as the formula of an Italian body with a mid-mounted, blue-oval power plant furnished the company’s reputation in the Pantera and the earlier Mangusta. Even the brand new De Tomaso P72 (unveiled October 2019) keeps the concept alive with a supercharged 5.0-liter Coyote engine. Interestingly the De Tomaso formula has always utilized Ford engines, but not always V8s. Starting this harmonious relationship was the charming and compact Vallelunga, powered by a 1.5-liter Kent four-cylinder from the Ford Cortina.

Other than the common theme of a Ford-powered, mid-engine sports car, you need to set aside most of what you know about De Tomaso to understand the four-cylinder Vallelunga. It was designed by Carrozzeria Fissore, built by Ghia and named in honor of the Italian circuit Autodromo di Vallelunga. De Tomaso showed the car at the 1963 Turin Motor Show in hopes of selling the concept, but instead went on to produce 53 production versions from 1964 to ’68.

Beyond the power plant, the Vallelunga was actually bodied in fiberglass (aside from three aluminum prototypes and three aluminum race cars), and featured a pressed steel backbone with a steel subframe in the rear. Interestingly, transaxles were borrowed from the VW Beetle and fit with Hewland gears, and suspension uprights sourced from Triumph. The rest of the running gear consisted of independent wishbone suspension with coil springs, rack-and-pinion steering and four-wheel disc brakes.

As a complete package, the Vallelunga came in at 1,600 pounds with 104 hp on tap from the Kent four-banger. While it was a small, humble pushrod engine, the 1.5-liter Kent could be tuned for good performance, especially with Weber carbs as used in the Vellelunga. It also served as a stressed chassis member in the car, an unusual practice for the time.

Information is pretty slim on this ’67 Vallelunga coupe on eBay, but it looks to be honestly presented with all its big-ticket items in place. It’s finished in green over tan with alloy wheels. Refurbishment began at some point with some exterior bodywork, but the car appears to be otherwise complete. The engine bay in particular is in remarkably complete condition, leaving one to wonder why the car was taken off the road.

With just 58 examples to draw from, valuing this De Tomaso Vallelunga is difficult. If anything, the price seems a bit high for a car in this condition, as specialist work will be required to get it back in concours condition. I’d also be sure to hassle the dealer about their lift placement in the photos, seeing as they bent one of the forward suspension links in the rear. It’ll take some expert negotiation and specialist labor to get it back on the road for the right money, but this is a low-mileage example of a seriously rare machine. See it here on eBay.

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