De Tomaso Longchamp (1972 – 1989) Review

De Tomaso Longchamp (1972 – 1989) At A Glance


+Understated good looks of the earlier versions, plenty of performance from the Ford V8 engine

-Lacking the finesse and subtlety of something like a Ferrari 400, altogether more appealing in Maserati guise

The De Tomaso Longchamp was a straightforward development of the Deauville - effectively being a short-wheelbase two door version. Although Tom Tjaarda was also responsible for the styling of the Longchamp, there was little resemblance between the two - although commentators were soon pointing out that this, too, was a derivative-looking car, most closely resembling the Mercedes-Benz 450SLC. Under the skin, the Longchamp shared the Deauville's suspension, engine and transmission.

It was first shown at the 1972 Turin Motor Show, two years after the Deauvilled debuted, leaving its maker with a three car range that had been conceived to challenge Ferrari and Lamborghini in the supercar market, but do so, based on simple, but effective, Ford Cleveland V8 power. The earliest cars boasted 330bhp for a 150mph maximum speed, but that was later reduced to 270bhp. Most cars ran with Ford automatic gearboxes, but a handful were fitted with ZF five-speeders. Look out for these ones. Emphasis was on luxury, which was what wasn't needed in the wake of the 1973 Energy Crisis - so sales were slow. Once De Tomaso took a controlling interest in Maserati in 1975, it relaunched the Longchamp as the altogether more appealing Kyalami (which used its own 4.7- and 4.9-litre V8s), but that, too, hardly flew out of the showrooms.