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De Tomaso Mangusta (1967 - 1971)

Last updated 7 May 2014

 
5
Extremely fast, fragile, lairy, scary and amazing - and we love that engine cover
Priced beyond reason these days, but a mid-engined pioneer
401
were produced
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Introduction

The De Tomaso Mangusta is an amazing 1960s supercar with a fearsome reputation that may actually overshadow it actual abilities. It's a well-known fact that Alejandro De Tomaso, the car-loving industrialist, called his replacement for the Vallelunga the Magusta because it's a type of mongoose that eats Cobras, but fewer people might tell you that the car actually started life as the cancelled Ford 70P racing car programme, and was originally a rejected Iso design proposal by Giorgetto Giugiaro, while at Ghia. The chassis was based on that of the pioneering mid-engined Vallelunga - but what differentiated the two cars was that the original was powered by a 1.6-litre Ford engine, while a 4.7-litre Ford V8 (the 289cu in also used in the AC Cobra) pushing out 306bhp was the Mangusta's motive power. It was a spectacular mix.

Which ever way you cut it, the Mangusta was spectacularly fast, essentially being a racing car for the road. But contemporary road tests criticised the car for being too hard to handle on the road, and extremely difficult to live with as a day-to-day proposition (even in supercar terms). Equipment levels were generous for a supercar, as De Tomaso had designs on the American market, so you could pick up a Mangusta with air conditioning and electric windows, but sales were limited during its short production run. Still not considered a blue chip supercar by some aficionados, but values are now reflecting the Mangusta's giant killing reputation and drop-dead gorgeous styling.

 

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