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Coachwork by Ghia
The De Tomaso Mangusta was developed from a Ghia concept at the 1966 Torino Auto Show. It was designed by the young Giorgetto Giugiaro, who had bodied De Tomaso’s Vallelunga mid-engine sports car, which was powered by an English Ford four-cylinder engine.
The Mangusta (Italian for “mongoose” – the only animal that does not fear a Cobra) closely followed Eric Broadley’s Lola Mk VI design, which was modified to become the Ford GT 40. Mid-engine V-8 sports cars were cutting-edge in the mid- 1960s, and Giotto Bizzarrini (from Ferrari, Iso, and Lamborghini) had developed the P538 coupe, for which Giugiaro designed a handsome body. That project never came to fruition, but Giugiaro adapted his work to the striking Mangusta.
The Mangusta’s styling fell between Marcello Gandini’s Lamborghini Miura and Tom Tjaarda’s Pantera that followed it. The most striking element was the rear spine, which separated windowed gullwing doors covering the engine compartment. The Mangusta would sell 401 examples in five years, and launched Alejandro De Tomaso into the automotive mainstream.
Early cars were powered by Ford’s 289 cid V-8, but later examples such as the car offered here carried a 302 cid V-8 and featured pop-up headlights, power disc brakes, and rack and pinion steering. Air-conditioning, leather interior, and power windows were standard on all Mangustas, with only an AM/FM stereo optional.
Enthusiast magazines raved about the car. Car and Driver noted, “There are other cars we would rather drive, but none we would rather been seen in. Its Greek-like simplicity and beauty of its shape are stunning…the most beautiful car in the world.” Meanwhile, Road & Track reported the Mangusta “acted like a magnet for passers-by,” and said it attracted more attention than any car it had ever tested.
This Mangusta is a remarkable survivor – surely one of the few examples remaining in largely original unrestored condition. A desirable early-production Mangusta, this car was professionally maintained and serviced by one long-term owner who treasured this Italian-American exotic for almost 40 years. Today, the odometer indicates that the car has been driven less than 10,000 miles from new.
Presented here is an intriguing opportunity for lovers of style and speed. This low-mileage, impressively original De Tomaso Mangusta exudes fearlessness and raw power, and it is sure to draw crowds at any gathering of exotic Italian automobiles.