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1965 shelby/de tomaso p70 can-am sports racer coachwork by
Estimate

£2,000,000 - £3,000,000

Time left

Auction over

Description

1965 Shelby/De Tomaso P70 Can-Am Sports Racer Coachwork by Fantuzzi - Design by Peter Brock Chassis no. P70-001 289ci Hi-Po Gurney-Westlake V8 Engine Est. 350bhp at 6,000rpm 5-Speed Manual Transaxle 4-Wheel Independent Suspension 4-Wheel Hydraulic Disk Brakes *Sports racing prototype developed by Carroll Shelby in collaboration with Alejandro de Tomaso *Intended to compete in USRRC racing series that Shelby had previously dominated with the Cobra *Designed by Peter Brock with coachwork by Carrozzeria Fantuzzi in Modena *Comprehensively restored to current condition *Winner of Best Postwar Racing Car at The Quail – A Motorsports Gathering THE SHELBY/DE TOMASO P70 Carroll Shelby went into 1964 with uncertainties: he needed to assure his Cobras would remain dominant over the Corvettes, he was uncertain if he would be handed the reins to the GT40 program by Ford, and he needed to keep his King Cobras competitive in the face of McLaren's rumored 7-liter cars. Shelby approached Alejandro de Tomaso to build a new car with a new engine to bring the fight to McLaren. With Shelby at the helm, engineering by de Tomaso, and a revolutionary aerodynamic body designed by Peter Brock and constructed by Fantuzzi, the P70 project had the ingredients to be an epic racing program. However, through conflicting egos, misaligned timeframes, and Shelby focusing on the GT40, only one P70 was completed. After the successes of the Daytona Coupe with Shelby, Peter Brock was able to exploit the lenient regulations of USRRC and Can-Am racing- and the more open-minded Italian carrozzerie- to execute the groundbreaking design of the P70, both technically and aesthetically. Brock implemented an adjustable airfoil to keep the rear end squat while minimizing drag, and thanks to the more lenient rules on streamlining and windscreen height, added partially covered rear wheels and a very low wraparound windshield that blends seamlessly with the hand formed Fantuzzi bodywork. The result is a car with subtle curves, ingenious aerodynamic innovations, and beautiful proportions that would impact racecar design from that point forward. Alejandro De Tomaso began racing in his native Argentina in 1951 before moving to Italy to drive for Maserati and OSCA, the latter firm having been founded by the Maserati brothers after they sold up. This experience inspired him to form his own company - De Tomaso Automobili - in Modena, Italy in 1959. Racing was the order of the day to begin with, the fledgling firm building cars for Formula Junior, Formula 3, Formula 2 and Formula 1. De Tomaso's first road car - the Vallelunga - did not appear until 1965. The Vallelunga's ingenious backbone chassis was the same basic principle as the P70, with the V8 playing an integral structural role, with suspension elements anchored directly to the engine and gearbox. De Tomaso was also to provide a 6786cc 526 horsepower engine based on a small block 289 Ford. Though Ford made a 7-liter engine, the racecar could ill-afford the added heft of the cast iron Big Block and Ford was unwilling to produce this engine in an aluminum alloy. Unfortunately, this extensively modified small block never came to fruition and is one of the deciding factors in the project coming to an unceremonious end. After Shelby and de Tomaso parted ways, de Tomaso finished the car and showed it at the 1965 Turin Auto show as the Ghia de Tomaso. The car predictably stole the show and garnered attention for his new roadcar, the Mangusta, meaning mongoose in Italian. It is no coincidence that the mongoose is one of the few natural threats to cobras in the natural world, signaling de Tomaso's desire to best Shelby. After its time as a show car for de Tomaso, the P70 concept was shelved at the de Tomaso factory in Modena, fading into obscurity until 2004. Philippe Olczyk was researching de Tomaso and spotted the body panels of P70, which Peter Brock confirmed. The body and all the components were then purchased and assembled into the very complete - if rough - P70 that was displayed at the 2005 Quail Motorsports Gathering. The P70 was shown again at The Quail in 2013 in the same condition, where it won Octane Magazine's Best of Show award, despite being entered as a display only car! After its unexpected award-winning appearance at its second Quail the P70 was meticulously restored in red with gold wheels, darkened windscreen, and its 289 Gurney-Westlake V8 with its unmistakable intake peeking through a simple mesh cover. This resurrected racecar made its third Quail appearance in 2015 and was awarded Best Postwar Racing Car. The following spring, it was displayed at the Amelia Island Concours d'Elegance and participated in the Eight Flags Tour. As it is presented today, this historically significant racecar is in excellent condition and runs and drives as intended. It is a fortunate survivor of one of the most interesting collaborations of the Can-Am era and would be a focal point of any collection. With the recent launch of the De Tomaso P72, the offering of the original P70 here is quite the opportunity for the astute collector of unique, sports racing cars.