1969 De Tomaso Mangusta
Documents: Belgian Certificat d'Immatriculation
- A legendary 1960s mid-engined supercar
- A prototype example; the seventh Mangusta built
- Fully restored by US De Tomaso specialist Gary Hall
- Recent, documented cosmetic restoration
In the midst of anti-Peron upheavals in Argentina in the mid-1950s, racing driver Alejandro de Tomaso made his way to Italy, where he drove OSCA race cars for the Maserati brothers. Like several other racing drivers of his day, de Tomaso eventually developed his own automobile, which combined a racing-style chassis with Italian design and reliable American power, in this case, from Ford.
The first true production De Tomaso was the Mangusta, which was introduced in 1967. It was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, built by fabled Turin coachbuilder Ghia, of which de Tomaso had become president, and was reportedly based on the Ford GT40 concept, as it featured a mid-ship V-8 engine, rear transaxle, and backbone chassis. Giugiaro’s muscular, wide-shouldered bodywork emphasised that the engine, which was visible under two clamshell-style rear windows, could propel the car from 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds, through the quarter-mile in 15 seconds at 94 mph, and to a claimed top speed of 155 mph.
The car offered here was, according to the owner, originally delivered in Italy in March 1969. According to Mangusta International, it was the seventh Mangusta built and one of the initial prototype cars, as distinguished by the louvered opening between the rear exhaust outlets. It later travelled to the United States, where it was restored by California-based De Tomaso enthusiast Gary Hall in 1998 for Richard Lee, who is reportedly a relation of famous martial artist Bruce Lee.
The car later returned to Italy in 2008 and was sold to a Belgian collector. This owner elected to complete a full repaint and necessary body and mechanical work in 2010 and 2011, all of which is documented by pictures accompanying the car. Since its completion, the Mangusta has participated in several concours d’elegance, with the most prominent being the Zoute Concours d’Elegance in 2012. It was also the subject of a feature article in Dutch magazine Autovisie, appearing in the recent 18 June 2015 issue.
This exciting automobile, one of the earliest surviving examples of an important American-engined European supercar, is undoubtedly as thrilling to drive as it is to look at—perhaps even more so!
Please note that since the catalogue was published, we understand that this car is fitted with a 351C (Cleveland) engine which is most likely to have been fitted in period due to the car being a prototype.