|First race||Argentine Grand Prix||Buenos Aires||January 13, 1957||Race results|
|Last race||United States Grand Prix||Sebring||December 12, 1959||Race results|
Despite his Formula One career, Alessandro 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 in 1955 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 Peron. He settled in Modena and started his career in the car industry as a racing driver for Maserati and O.S.C.A. having 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 One car for Frank Williams' 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; Ghia infamously was sold to Ford (who would make much use of the name) in 1973; 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.
He helped in the engineering of the sports version of the fourth generation Daihatsu Charade, introduced in 1994, which was known as the Daihatsu Charade De Tomaso.