Alejandro De Tomaso came over to Europe from Argentina in 1955 to try his hand as a racing driver. His racing success was moderate but while he was in Italy he met and married Elizabeth Haskell, and they raced Maserati and Osca in Italy and the Americas. De Tomaso tried his hand at making cars, most of them being one offs and prototypes until the Vallelunga coupe of 1963 with Ford Corsair engine, having his now trademark aluminium backbone chassis. The Vallelinga bodywork was designed by the then little known Guigaro. The Mangusta that followed in 1966 was an enlarged version of this Vallelunga, but powered by a Ford V8. Finance in De Tomaso Modena SpA was provided by Tomasos brother in law and in 1971 took on majority Ford ownership with the remaining shares with De Tomaso himself, the same time as the Pantera replaced the Mangusta and sold in the thousands. Lucky for DeTomaso Ford bought out all his shares in the company and took control just about as the Fuel crisis took hold and everything ground to a halt, but De Tomaso himself had te rights to sell in Europe and the cars were hand built on a small scale.
As a post script, De Tomaso took over Maserati in a partnership with the Italian Government, to keep it going when Citroen went into liquidation and got taken over by Peugeot. It was under DeTomaso that the Kaylami (built around the previous DeTomaso Longchamp), Biturbo, Quattroporte , Ghibli and Shamal. And all while taking over Innocenti.