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Manufacturers / Italy / De Tomaso


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De Tomaso vehicles


1960


F1
De Tomaso F1   (1961)

Alejandro De Tomaso was born in Buenos Aires on 10th July 1928. His father was an eminent politician, who had been appointed minister of agriculture in the thirties; his mother belonged to one of the oldest originally Hispanish families which controlled Argentinian agriculture.

According to the founder's narration, the symbol of De Tomaso stands for the iron tool used to brand horses in his "estancia", while its colours are those of Argentinian flag. When Alejandro interrupted his studies, he already foresaw his destiny: he would have devoted his life to automobiles. At the age of 27 he arrived in Modena, the right place for racing a Maserati car in 1955/56 and for the famous constructor Osca in the three following seasons.

However, he felt he needed a change, so in 1959 Alejandro De Tomaso founded his own automobile company. The assembly facilities were built in Albareto, a suburb of Modena, just a few miles from where the plant stands today.

801
De Tomaso 801  concept (1962)

Followed by a project for Indianapolis, among the first cars manufactured we find a Formula Junior and a F1car, powered by a flat counterposed 8 cylinder, designed by Engineer Massimino. After they had given up their factory "Officine Alfieri Maserati" to Orsi family, Maserati Bros founded their new activity for racing cars called Osca, to which Mr. De Tomaso was very tied. As a consequence of this business relationship, in 1962 Osca supplied De Tomaso with two engines, a 1100 cc and a 2000 cc with two camshaft, that were used for sport "Barchetta" models.

In October 1963 De Tomaso became well-known to the public rolling out at Turin Motorshow the spider "Vallelunga", equipped with a central backbone chassis, which is the same peculiarity we can find in other of its productions, such as "Mangusta", "Guarą", and also in Lotus Elan and Alpine A110 as well. 56 "Vallelunga" were built, and many of them took part in races, thus obtaining remarkable successes.

Anyway, cental backbone chassis remains an important goal in De Tomaso history, and somehow it seems to be the real brand of this "estancia" in Modena. Eqiupped with a Ford 5000 cc-V8 engine, "P-70" was introduced at Turin Motorshow in 1965. However, this sport prototype was more an exercise of style than a pure racing car, and it participates in a few races. In 1966 De Tomaso presented in Geneva an 8 cylinder-2000 cc barchetta, penned by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who in 1965 started working at Ghia. In its turn, Ghia became a De Tomaso possession in 1967.

Vallelunga
De Tomaso Vallelunga  concept (1965)

Thanks to the fruitful cooperation between De Tomaso and Giugiaro in 1966, people could admire the aggressive styling of the first "Mangusta" at Turin Motorshow. Two models of "Mangusta" were sold: on the one hand, the European version with 4728 cc-306 Hp, and on the other, the version for America (4949 cc-230 Hp), where 280 manufactured vehicles were delivered. It was an unforeseen success, that led Ford to take over the 80 per cent of De Tomaso S.p.A. shares.

Designed by the American stylist Tom Tjaarda, the new sedan "Pantera", ordered by Ford, could boast many versions: 3000 cc called "290", 5700 cc GT4, and also 350 Hp GTS. Up to then, nobody reached such a quantity of cars produced in Modena, while in 1972 De Tomaso was able to come in second at Gran Turismo championship, thanks to Mike Parkers and Clay Regazzoni's wins in Imola and Hockenheim respectively. Races have always been of primary importance for De Tomaso, not only for the pursuit of win, but also as a way of testing how good its ideas and, as a consequence, its cars were.


1970


Pantera
De Tomaso Pantera  concept (1970)

However, the participation in Formula 1 in 1970 was an exception. De Tomaso took part with only one vehicle, a red racing car with typical De Tomaso colours on the top. That time, Project Leader was Giampaolo Dallara, the same man who today is responsible for the production of 80 per cent of vehicles that race in Indianapolis and many other categories, while Frank Williams played the role of Team Manager and owner. But unfortunately, during the fourth race the 28 year-old English driver, Piers Courage, had an accident and died in Zanvoord on June 21st. Owing to this tragedy, Alejandro seemed not to be attracted by Formula 1 project and races in general any longer.

In 1972 Ford acquired even Ghia and Vignale, where Panteras were manufactured, and the whole shares were took over again. In the meanwhile, De Tomaso built Deauville and Longchamp, and purchased Benelli. Just three years later, Alejandro succeeded in acquiring Maserati. The following year together with Gepi he took over Innocenti, which built the new model of English Mini, designed by the famous stylist Bertone. On 10th July 1981 De Tomaso concluded an agreement with Daihatsu for 100.000 engines, thus giving birth to a very important relationship, which led to the production of 120.000 vehicles.

Furthermore, a 4 doors Maserati with an 8 cylinder-4700 cc engine was rolled out. That was the same model delivered to the then President of the Republic Sandro Pertini.


1990


Guara
De Tomaso Guara  concept (1994)

In 1980 Guzzi started manufacturing four new V-twin engines at Innocenti plant in Lambrate, and in the meantime De Tomaso built the sport version of Daihatsu Charade only for Japanese market. "Biturbo" was produced by Maserati in 1981, and 4 doors sedan followed coupč a year later.

After he had left Ford, Lido A. Iacocca arrived in Modena in 1984, and asked his friend Alejandro to build a convertible coupč: it was the Chrysler-Maserati TC. Between 1987 and 1990, 7500 vehicles were manufactured for American market in Lambrate plant, while in 1990 FIAT took over the 49 per cent of Maserati. In 1992 a German fan acquired the last Pantera delivered to a client. On the other hand, the last Pantera produced can be seen in De Tomaso showroom. Unfortunately, in 1993 Alejandro was struk by a serious illness and according to doctors, just a few were the possibilities of his surviving. However, in the same period Guarą was being manufactured, and in order to let his car survive with him, the founder of De Tomaso had to give up Maserati and Guzzi.

Nowadays, De Tomaso is regarded as the only Italian exotic carmaker, which remains completely independent, and after 40 years Alejandro can look proudly at his factory.

Bigua
De Tomaso Bigua  concept (1999)



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