De Tomaso Mangusta (1967 – 1971) Review

De Tomaso Mangusta (1967 – 1971) At A Glance


+Extremely fast, fragile, lairy, scary and amazing - and we love that engine cover

-Priced beyond reason these days, but a mid-engined pioneer

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.

Ask Honest John

Why are low-profile tyres so common on modern cars?

"Telegraph Motoring recently carried photographs of two high performance cars: the Jaguar E-Type and the De Tomaso Mangusta. Both clearly show sensibly-sized wheels with hefty tyres to absorb the shocks from rough roads. Why on earth have all the manufacturers gone overboard for low-profile tyres? In addition, current seats appear to be stuffed with granite chips rather than latex foam. I am in the position to spend £40,000 to obtain a car to bring me into the 21st century, but, after trying several, I get back into my Lexus 300 with a sense of relief. Can the manufacturers not comprehend that buyers of mid-range 4-door saloons are not thinking of rally driving. Adequate acceleration for overtaking, silence and comfort are paramount."
Get a grip. Neither the Jaguar E-Type nor the De Tomaso Mangusta on doughnut tyres had anything like the roadholding of a modern car on wide, low profile rubber. The debate is not about wide, low profile tyres being fitted to high performance cars where they enhance the roadholding and handling. It is about fitting them to ordinary cars where they are totally unnecessary and detrimental to the handling and the comfort of the vehicle. A W211 Mercedes-Benz E320CDI is perfectly fine on 225/55 R16s all round. It doesn't need 245/40 R18s on the front and 265/35 R18s on the back.
Answered by Honest John
More Questions

What does a De Tomaso Mangusta (1967 – 1971) cost?