Alejandro de Tomaso (born in Buenos Aires, July 10, 1928 - died in Modena, Italy, May 21, 2003) was a racing driver and industrialist from Argentina. His name is sometimes seen in an Italianised form as Alessandro de Tomaso. He participated in two Formula 1 Grands Prix, debuting on January 13, 1957. He scored 0 championship points.
Complete Formula One results
De Tomaso the carmaker
Despite his Formula 1 career, de Tomaso was much more significant in the motoring world as a maker of cars. He founded the Italian sports car company De Tomaso Automobili in 1959, and later built up a substantial business empire.
Born in Argentina of a prominent political family, de Tomaso fled to Italy – from where his paternal grandfather had emigrated – in his late twenties after being implicated in a plot to overthrow the Argentinian president, Juan Perón. He started his career in the car industry as a racing driver for Maserati and O.S.C.A. and married Isabelle Haskell, an American heiress who also raced cars.
In 1959 he founded the De Tomaso car company in Modena, originally to build prototypes and racing cars, which included a Formula 1 car for Frank Williams's team in 1970. De Tomaso then turned to high-performance sports cars, most of which used aluminium backbone chassis, which were to become the company's technical trademark. De Tomaso cars include the two-door, mid-engined Vallelunga, Mangusta and Pantera; the Deauville, a four-door saloon resembling the Jaguar XJ6; and the Longchamp, a two-door coupé version of the Deauville which later formed the basis of the Maserati Kyalami. De Tomaso's most recent product has been the Guarà, a two-door sports car with a carbon fibre bodyshell.
During the 1960s and 1970s, de Tomaso acquired a number of Italian industrial holdings. As well as the Ghia and Vignale coachbuilding studios, he gained control of the Benelli and Moto Guzzi motorcycle firms, the Innocenti car company (founded as an offshoot of the British Motor Corporation to build Minis in Italy), and, in 1975, the celebrated sports car maker Maserati, which he rescued from bankruptcy with the assistance of the Italian government. Over time, however, he sold many of his holdings; Innocenti and Maserati were sold to Fiat (which promptly closed the former) in 1993. De Tomaso suffered a stroke in 1993, and the day-to-day running of the De Tomaso company passed to his son Santiago.
Alejandro de Tomaso died in Italy in 2003.
- Ron Hyde's De Tomaso cars page has information on various De Tomaso cars, technical information, factory documents, and a small registry database.