1968 De Tomaso Mangusta

Ford 289ci - Euro spec - ex Jim Redman

Summary

  • Year of manufacture 
    1968
  • Mileage 
    44 350 km / 27 558 mi
  • Car type 
    Coupé
  • Chassis number 
    8MA520
  • Engine number 
    8MA520
  • Drive 
    LHD
  • Condition 
    Used
  • Metallic 
    Yes
  • Interior colour 
    Beige
  • Interior type 
    Leather
  • Number of doors 
    2
  • Number of seats 
    2
  • Location
  • Exterior colour 
    Blue
  • Gearbox 
    Manual
  • Performance 
    321 BHP / 326 PS / 240 kW
  • Drivetrain 
    2wd
  • Fuel type 
    Petrol

Description

The De Tomaso sports car brand was founded by Argentinian-born racing driver, Alejandro De Tomaso in 1959 in Modena, Italy. The factory was located around the corner from Maserati and just 20km from the Ferrari factory. After initially building race cars and prototypes, Alejandro moved into the production of road-going sports cars with a mid-engined 4-cylinder model known as the Vallelunga. The arrival of the Mangusta in 1967 established De Tomaso as a serious automobile manufacturer, with a total of 401 of these cars being produced over a period of 4 years, of which 250 are thought to have survived. The name “Mangusta” (Mongoose) was supposedly a dig at his friend & rival Carol Shelby - creator of the AC Cobra - the mongoose being one of the few animals quick enough to take on the hooded snake in nature.

The Mangusta's 41-inch-high body was penned by Italian design maestro Giorgetto Giugiaro during his time as head of design at Carrozzeria Ghia and featured unique & dramatic diagonally-opening engine bay covers. The chassis is a highly innovative square-section central backbone, fanning out either side of the cockpit to accommodate the attachment of the drive train and running gear. Fully-adjustable independent suspension, Girling disc brakes on all four corners, and rack & pinion steering were pure “racing car” in design, while a gorgeous leather interior with power windows & optional air conditioning provided impressive levels of comfort. Early Mangustas were delivered with the same drivetrain found in the Ford GT40 - the free-revving Ford 289 (4.7 litre) 306hp V8 mated to a 5-speed ZF transaxle incorporating a limited-slip differential - and a few were even said to have been built to Shelby-spec HiPo spec and fitted with sequential-shifting transmissions. Early European versions are therefore highly sought-after and should not be confused with the later pop-up headlight models designed for sale in the United States, which were powered by a relatively sedate 230hp Ford 302.

This De Tomaso Mangusta (VIN: 8MA520) was the 10th car built, if you include the prototype. It was imported to South Africa via Switzerland by 6-time Grand Prix World Motorcycle Champion Jim Redman in 1971, subsequently owned by occasional Formula 1 driver Gordon Henderson, and has since been in continuous single-family ownership since 1980. A ground-up refurbishment was completed in 2008, with every effort made to conserve the car's highly authentic state, right down to the last detail. Several very unusual but original details including the wooden Vallelunga-style wooden gear knob, unique front park lights and curvaceous folding front seats were noted and carefully preserved. The rebuild of the matching-numbers engine showed it to contain all the key Ford 289 HiPo specifics including high-compression solid-lifterheads, tubular exhaust manifolds & a high-performance camshaft. For good measure, the cylinder heads were gas-flowed, the sump was expanded and baffled, and a new Holley 650CFM double-pumper carburetor was fitted in place of the Autolite original. The completed unit produced 321hp at 6000rpm on the engine dynamometer. The original ZF DS-25 transmission was, and still is, in perfect working order & clearly features the sequential-shifting mechanism typically fitted on GT40s for racing purposes to prevent the incorrect selection of gears. The car sits on Dunlop M-section racing tyres, as fitted to the original 1966 Turin Motor Show car, to provide the correct wheel-arch fill and ride height. Original factory options include air conditioning, Campagnolo magnesium-alloy wheels, and a Voxson radio / 8-track cassette player.

Having been renovated some years back, 8MA520 shows gentle signs of aging, but remains in great overall condition and represents the ultimate specification of these jaw-droppingly beautiful rare cars. Showing an original 44 000 kilometers on the clock, it drives as you would expect of a car weighing in the region of 1300kgs with well-over 300hp, and easily offers performance to rival it's contempories from Sant’Agata or Maranello without any of the expensive engine-maintenance concerns.
Mangustas have risen sharply in value in the past few years, but arguably still have a long way to go as they become more widely appreciated as one of the world's first mid-engined supercars.

With her free revving V8 engine and superb gearshifts, this De Tomaso Mangusta makes for a truly memorable drive experience. It is difficult not to smile once you have a chance to really stretch her legs on the open road.

Presented by Crossley & Webb based in Cape Town South Africa, the car is accompanied by a recent DEKRA technical inspection report and can be shipped from Cape Town to virtually anywhere in the world.