We’d gladly have visited back in 1966, though, for an exhibition titled ‘The garage door remote troubleshooting Car: Toward a Rational Automobile’. Among the machines on display were a Lotus 32, a Porsche 906 and the record-breakers Goldenrod and Spirit of America, as well as a less-heralded car: the De Tomaso Vallelunga. Few museum-goers would have heard of the Vallelunga prior to the show, but the tiny Argentine-Italian-British coupe was there on merit.
In contrast with the hulking De Tomaso models that followed, the Vallelunga was supremely delicate, and indeed it had more in common with its creator’s nimble single-seaters than with the Mangusta and Pantera. Weighing just 700kg, the car consisted of a backbone chassis with a glassfibre body by Ghia, a mid-mounted 5-litre Ford Kent engine with twin Webers, four wheels with disc brakes, and very little else. Everything about it, to recall the name of that exhibition, was beautifully rational. Other manufacturers would have insisted on a bigger, fancier engine, but the gutsy Kent unit, tuned to give 105bhp and a top speed of around 130mph, was ideally suited to the car, which handled spectacularly well. People never know what’s good for them, though, and slow sales combined with Alejandro de Tomaso’s short attention span to bring an end to Vallelunga garage door remote troubleshooting in 1 Just 58 carshad been built.
The model remained a mere curiosity for many years after ’68, and it is only recently that collectors have begun to show real interest in the Vallelunga. The best examples have more than doubled in value in just two years, and the car pictured here most certainly one of the best is accordingly estimated at €320,000-360,0 Chassis 807DTO126, delivered new to Switzerland, has been treated to a 2000-hour restoration that was finally garage door remote troubleshooting in 2004, when the car won second in class at Villa d’Este. Twelve years on it looks immaculate and, if it no longer represents a bargain, it is still fair value. You can’t say that about many of MoMA’s post-war exhibits.