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DE TOMASO PROTOTYPES

During the same year a similar car was built but this time with a 1000 cc OSCA unit (dubbed, logically, the Sport 1000).

The Sport 2000 was the most interesting car of the three: the chassis was (like that of the Vallelunga), formed by a central backbone, but this time it was made of titanium and with a diameter of 33 cm. It not only served as a frame, but also as a fuel tank carrying 120 litres. Seven load-carrying collars were pop-riveted at unequal intervals along this tube and these intervals were progressively reduced towards the more heavily stressed rear end of the car where the engine was fitted. At the front and rear end of the tub, sub frames were bolted on carrying the front suspension and the engine. This engine was the Massiminio designed flat eight, now with a capacity of 1931 cc and a claimed output of 208 hp at 8400 rpm and a maximum torque of 19.4 mkg at 5800 rpm. Twin distributors and plugs plus two overhead camshafts per cylinder bank made the engine a technical dream. Behind the all alloy engine, a six-speed gearbox was mounted longitudinally and its gears could be replaced within nine minutes. Again the engine was part of the load bearing chassis and the rear suspension parts were directly fitted to it.

The Sport 2000 was a small car with a wheel base of 2,300 mm, a front track of 1,300 mm, a rear track of 1,360 mm and an overall height of 720 mm. Its weight was only 570 kg. The body resembled that of the Vallelunga spider and as the car could reach a speed of 256 km/h it would have been ideal for hill climbs, the main purpose DeTomaso built the car. It was never used, however, and was put aside when new ideas entered DeTomaso's mind.

One of these ideas was the Sport 5000 that was seen at the forty-seventh Turin Motor Show held in November 1965. This time the car shown was an open sports racer for the Group 9 racing. The car was called "Ghia-DeTomaso Sport 5000" and was, so the press information said, a "Novita Assoluta". The car was certainly new and certainly something special as even the name "Ghia" was mentioned. Medaro Fantuzzi in Modena built the automobile, with a body designed by American Pete Brock, as early as 1963 while working for Carroll Shelby. It could have become the successor to the Shelby Cobra on a chassis made by DeTomaso. The Shelby-DeTomaso marriage never came about and when Brock left his American boss, he took his drawings with him to offer them DeTomaso.

With money from Ghia (therefore "Ghia" as part of the name) ten cars could be built by Fantuzzi, who had built bodies for Maserati racing cars since 1926.

The Sport 5000 was an interesting car in many ways. Exciting was the spoiler at the rear of the car that adjusted itself relative to the speed of the car, as it was connected with the gearshift lever. The body looked aerodynamic enough with big air intakes on top of the rear fenders. The chassis layout was similar to that of the Vallelunga but stronger and heavier and again the engine was a stressed member. The power plant used was a 4.7 litre Ford V8 as available in various high performance Mustangs. This unit was then upgraded by DeTomaso: new light alloy cylinder heads, pistons and connecting rods were fitted and the compression ratio was brought up to 12.75:1. The measured output was a claimed 475 hp at 7300 rpm.

At the Turin Show the car attracted many visitors and gave its creators great expectations. Pete Brock was to become the sole dealer for the USA where he could offer the car for $ 13,000. He intended to make the car legal for the GT class, for which reason doors had been fitted already, and the fifty cars required for homologation was not considered a problem. The car was modified at Ghias to be raced by Baghetti and Bussinello in the 1000-km race at Monza in 1967. The car was entered and the drivers contracted, but none of the three were seen for the event, nor were the remaining forty-nine cars.

The visitors of the 1966 Geneva Motor Show were invited to see a world premier at the DeTomaso stand, and the press bulletin advised the following: " World premier at Geneva. It's a new model by DeTomaso Automobili of Modena with body designed and built by Ghia. Following the trend set with the DeTomaso 5 litre, already shown at Torino and which will enter the 12 hours at Sebring (the car was really entered, with Umberto Maglioli and an unknown second driver, but never appeared at the track) the Ghia/DeTomaso two litre is strictly a racing car of original design, streamlined profile and aerodynamically tested.

A 2000 cc, eight opposed cylinders engine, is located at the center, behind the seats, on a backbone frame according to the scheme successfully adopted by DeTomaso on his five litre and Vallelunga models. The rollbar hides the air intake of the carburetors. The front radiator has a low air intake with two exhaust vents on the front lid. A single wide exhaust vent for the air in the engine compartment cuts the rear end in all its width. This wide vent incorporates four rectangular barrels, of which the outer ones are housing the taillights and the inner ones the exhaust pipes. It was somewhat of a modified version of the Sport 5000. The tail spoiler had disappeared and so had the headlamps as the car was meant for racing only. Giorgetto Giugiaro made these face-lifts but it is doubtful if he was totally pleased with the job.

Another one off, but this time built as a passenger car, was the Pampero. 1966, the first year Giorgetto Giugiaro had worked for Ghia as their chief designer, had been a busy year for the young artist. How was that again: With "brushes that clean so well?" For the 1966 Geneva show, he had designed the Isuzu 117 sport coupe and when the Turin Show opened later that year he saw his Maserati Ghibli, a Fiat Vanessa prototype, the DeTomaso Mangusta and the Pampero exhibited.

The Pampero, named after a special wind that blows across the Argentine Pampas, was in principle a new open version of the Vallelunga, but with slightly different dimensions and a completely new body. Giugiaro had lengthened the Vallelunga wheelbase by 1.5 cm to 2,350 mm. The chassis was basically unchanged so the heavy spine frame ran from the front suspension back to the 1500 cc Ford engine. The front end of the car looked a bit like that of the Mangusta, but with the twin headlights fitted behind a meshed grille, making them hard to clean. The tail end of the car had much similarity with that of the Fiat 850 spider Giugiaro had designed in his days with Bertone. Interesting were the two air intakes in the front part of the rear fenders. They did not only serve as vents, but also hid the fuel tank filler cap and the handle for opening the rear end of the car. The dashboard was "V" shaped for easy reading of the instruments.

The Pampero remained a one off and if DeTomaso had decided to put the car in production he would have had a hard time competing against the Fiat 850 Spider.

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