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Shelby de Tomaso P70

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Alejandro de Tomaso StoryMangustaShelby de Tomaso P70

So where does Carroll Shelby enter into this picture? In 1964 Pete Brock at Shelby American designed a body for de Tomaso. Pete called it “sensual”. The prototype called the P70 was built by Shelby American for de Tomaso. Brock based the lines of the car on his design for the MacDonald Lang Cooper.

Shelby was looking for a replacement the “King Cobra.” He wanted a body that would hold the 7.0 litre (427 cid) engine to race in the United States Road Racing Championship (USRRC).This racing series would become the Can-Am series in 1968. Shelby knew de Tomaso from his racing in Europe and was aware of the Vallelunga. Shelby and de Tomaso started a joint venture for de Tomaso to build the car(s). The de Tomaso Vallelunga was to be the basis of the car fitted with an aluminum body designed by Pete Brock.

The body would not accommodate the large 427 block. So the next plan was to bore the 289 engine out to 7 litres but that didn’t work. The 289 couldn’t be bored out enough. Shelby knew what he wanted and this car was not going to work.

The body design had been sent to Carrozzeria Fantuzzi, a Modena coachbuilder. The finished car was not satisfactory to Shelby. He sent Brock to Italy to supervise the building of a new body. Just as the body was to be fitted, Shelby called Brock and told him there was a return ticket at the airport. Ford had given Shelby American the GT 40 to race with no option to be racing anything else.

The project was started, the prototype built but Shelby cancelled it. de Tomaso was outraged at the cancellation. He used a modified design to base the Mangusta on it. de Tomaso completed the P70 project, renamed it Ghia de Tomaso after Ghia, a coach building company he acquired. The car was introduced at the 1965 Turin Auto show as “Ghia De Tomaso Sport 500.”

The car was fitted with a 5.0 Gurney-Westlake engine. It was raced at the 1966 Grand Prix of Mugello. It did not finish the first lap. This car was in de Tomaso’s private collection for many years. It was sold to a Southern California collector.