De Tomaso

But that’s rather to damn it with faint praise, for it has other virtues too. There are interviews with, among others, Alejandro de Tomaso s widow Isabelle Haskell – a racing driver herself – and Pantera designer Tom Tjaarda. Unfortunately these are rather perfunctory and amount to little more than short lists of questions and answers; enthusiasts will find themselves wanting much, much more. In fact, the text as a whole is relatively lightweight, its huge font size masking the fact that there aren’t actually many words.

The author begins with the story of Isabelle, a native New Yorker, and Alejandro, son of an Italian immigrant to Argentina who had the classic rags-to-riches back-story. It progresses through (the company) De Tomaso’s evolution in Italy during the 1950s to its conquest of America in the 1960s and beyond. Marque experts are unlikely to find any new revelations but it does the job in outlining the history of man and machines.

The book’s real strength, though, lies in its images, which are superb. Whether it’s a black-and-white shot of the Osca truck unloading a sports-racer at Modena in 1958 – Alejandro was an Osca works driver then – or an informal 1959 colour snap of Alejandro at Sebring, they’ve been used to maximum effect and at a size that allows you to drink in all the period detail.

There are also plenty of full spreads given over to more recent images of De Tomaso cars, ranging from the 1965 Formula 3 racer pictured above to the Mangusta prototype, below. The book’s semi-matt paper and the Italian locations give a period ’60s feel to many images, rather as if you’re leafing through a particularly lavish brochure. It’s amusing, too, to find the same full-blown treatment given to De Tomaso obscurities such as the Rowan city car, an electric ultra-compact design of the late 1960s.