Argentinian racing driver Alejandro De Tomaso launched his first supercar, the Vallelunga, in 1963. The mid-engined Vallelunga was first aluminum bodied, then fiberglass, and built in small numbers. De Tomaso named it after the Vallelunga circuit outside of Rome, Italy, where he did most of his testing, and it led to the much more widely-known Pantera.
Fast forward to 2019, when the revived-from-the-dead De Tomaso brand debuted the P72 as a retro-styled tribute to its history. It’s a showstopper, with a swoopy profile and haunches that evoke a panther just before it leaps forward. At long last, the company has finally announced that it’s starting production of this gorgeous hypercar in the second half of this year.
Gorgeously crafted, the P72 is built on an all-carbon monocoque chassis and is powered by a mid-mounted supercharged Ford V8 engine. The company has a history with Ford; the Vallelunga shared a four-cylinder engine with the Blue Oval’s Cortina and sold the Pantera for a time at U.S.-based Lincoln and Mercury dealerships.
Jowyn Wong designed the P72 with inspiration from the P70, a one-off racecar developed in a short-lived collaboration between De Tomaso, Peter Brock, and Carroll Shelby. When Shelby was hired by Ford to develop the GT40 (which went on to dominate Le Mans in the late 60s), the P70 project was canceled.
Rumored to be an “Italian salute” (basically, the middle finger) to Shelby, De Tomaso named his follow-up car Mangusta, which means mongoose in Italian. The mongoose, incidentally, are fierce hunters who eat snakes like King Cobras in the wild. Unfortunately for De Tomaso, his Mangusta never slayed a Cobra on the track.
Only 72 of the P72 will be made in conjunction with the motorsport specialists at HWA. Each will cost around 750,000 euro, or just a tad shy of $850,000. The company bills them as “modern-day time machines” and most of us will never see one on the road, but we can dream about it.
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