The Mangusta was the individualist’s choice of supercar. As Saab was to Mercedes or BMW, De Tomaso was to Ferrari or Lamborghini. These storied Italian thoroughbreds were precisely with whom de Tomaso wanted to compete, and compared the Ferrari and Lamborghini V8 offerings of the day, the Mangusta was a going proposition. While his competitors dropped massive and exotic aluminum v12s with overhead cams into their masterpieces, de Tomaso took a decidedly different approach by using the humble but powerful cast-iron Ford V8. It would seem to have been the right choice: power is not among the Mangusta's shortcomings. The marriage of exotic Italian coachwork with plebeian-yet-reliable American power is a potent match.
However, without a V12 to compete with the Miura and the Daytona, De Tomaso cars did not quite live up to their contemporary rivals in the supercar game. Given the contemporary reports of the Mangusta’s possibly erratic handling behavior, it is highly doubtful the chassis could have accepted a V12 (in either power or length) to battle the supercar heavyweights. Though less headline grabbing than its rivals, the Mangusta has popped up in everything from Kill Bill to a Kylie Minogue video to the original Gone in 60 Seconds.
Visual highlights of the Mangusta include gorgeous gullwing engine covers, a streamlined classic wedge-shaped body, and shrouded headlamps. To my eye the Giugiaro design looks like a more restrained and sophisticated Lamborghini coupe. It has perhaps even aged better than its rivals, taking on an exotic mystique and class. Alejandro de Tomaso did many things that other sports car makers would not, and the world is a better place for it.
Make: De Tomaso
Coachwork Design: Giorgetto Giugiaro
Years Built: 1967-1971
Total Produced: 401
Engine: 4.7L-5.0L Ford V8
Power Produced: 221hp-306hp
Torque Produced: 300lb-ft
Curb Weight: 2,612lbs
Price When New: $11,500