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Rare 1965 De Tomaso Vallelunga, Restored and Iconic, Heads to Auction

1965 De Tomaso Vallelunga
1965 De Tomaso Vallelunga (Carrozzeria Ghia)

De Tomaso Modena SpA, founded in 1959 by Alejandro de Tomaso, originally focused on manufacturing racing cars before transitioning to high-performance road vehicles. One of its earliest successes was the Vallelunga, a lightweight mid-engine sports car introduced in 1965.

This model, built by Carrozzeria Ghia, marked De Tomaso’s first foray into series production, with only 50 units produced. It featured a Ford-sourced 1.5-liter Kent four-cylinder engine producing 104 horsepower, paired with a bespoke four-speed transmission.

Despite its modest power output, the Vallelunga weighed just 1600 pounds, comparable to the Lotus Elan, and boasted a well-balanced mid-engine layout. Its chassis utilized a pressed-steel backbone design with advanced suspension systems, including control-arm suspension at the front and a multilink setup at the rear.

1965 De Tomaso Vallelunga

1965 De Tomaso Vallelunga (Carrozzeria Ghia)

The car was equipped with cast magnesium components, 13-inch Campagnolo wheels, disc brakes on all corners, and rack-and-pinion steering.

Marcel Schaub, a renowned De Tomaso specialist, owned the featured Vallelunga from the 1990s onwards. Recently refreshed, the car underwent interior retrimming and carburetor replacement this year. This particular Vallelunga is historically significant as the first production of De Tomaso, embodying both Italian craftsmanship and racing pedigree influenced by De Tomaso’s Formula 1 and sports car racing background.

The Vallelunga’s design echoes the era’s trend of lightweight, small-displacement sports cars pioneered by manufacturers like Abarth and Michelotti. Its name derives from the Autodromo Vallelunga near Rome, underscoring its racing origins.

This exemplar is currently up for auction on Bring a Trailer, concluding on June 27th, showcasing its timeless elegance and engineering finesse—a true testament to De Tomaso’s early automotive prowess and innovation in the sports car realm.

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