When most people hear the name De Tomaso, they immediately think of the Ford powered, mid-engined Pantera. Its sleek wedged shape design is timeless and with a blend of Italian style and American firepower under the hood, it’s thought by some to be one of the easiest of the classic super cars to own and operate. Unbeknown to some however, there was a predecessor to the flying wedge in the form of the De Tomaso Mangusta. The Mangusta is a car that made its debut in 1967 and is, in my opinion leaps and bounds ahead of the Pantera in terms of sheer looks and desirability. Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the car looks like an organic cross between a manta-ray and a great white shark.
The Mangusta was powered by a mid-mounted 289 cu-in Ford V8 that put out around 305 hp through a standard 5-speed gearbox. Due to a very uneven weight distribution of 32/68, controlling the Mangusta though could sometimes be a handful. Engine bay access, while not the most practical, was done by way of split gull-wing clam shell doors that not only shrouded the engine, but a full size spare as well. With a production run of only 4 years, the world was only treated to around 400 Mangusta’s which is a true shame, as visually the car is a knockout.