Best In The World? 1969 De Tomaso Mangusta Survivor

Mangusta comes from the Latin for mongoose, the snake killer. I’m not sure if that was intended as a reference to the Cobras that were winning everything in sight when this mid-engined monster was being designed, but it sounds good regardless. This successor to the Vallelunga and predecessor to the Pantera is listed for sale here on eBay with an eye-opening buy it now of $319,995, although lower offers are welcomed. However, with this true documented survivor possibly being the best and most original Mangusta in existence, perhaps it’s worth that much. The snake killer is located in Lutz, Florida.

One of the many spectacular features of the Mangusta is the access to the drive train. The view is almost startling from this angle. I think this is a special survivor as well–this car is believed to have its original paint in place, as a matter of fact apart from a few maintenance items such as tires and a few pieces of carpet, the De Tomaso is believed to be completely original with 8,873 miles!

Once the cover is down, the almost impossible sleekness of the Mangusta is apparent. I had an Aurora “Speedline” version like this as a child, and I remember thinking it was unbelievably low compared to my other cars. Having never sat in one, I’m guessing rear visibility wasn’t great, but the view out the front would be terrific!

The interior is gorgeous, with the gated shifter and original leather seats being highlights. Remember, only 401 of these beauties were built; I can’t imagine many survivors looking like this one!

Even the “frunk” looks perfect! Hard to believe this isn’t a restoration, isn’t it?

Here’s the original Ford 302 V8 and ZF 5-speed transaxle. Beautiful!

The underside of the car looks great as well. Do you want to be owner number three? I know I’d love to, but even if I sold every car I have I wouldn’t be close to the asking price. But it sure is beautiful!

Fast Finds

Comments

  1. gord

    any link?

    • Jesse Staff

      It’s right there in the first paragraph.

  2. boxdin

    My rich friends dad bought one of these new. It was truly a sight to behold. Imho these are far better looking than the Pantera, much more sensual eh.

  3. BillB

    It’s ready for Jay Leno’s garage!

  4. Bradshaw from Primer

    i think it had a 289 not a 302?

    • glen

      I think Ford stopped making the 289 in 1968. This car is listed as a ’69, so I’m guessing it’s a 302 as stated.

  5. Dolphin Member

    IMHO the Mangusta is one of the best looking supercars ever. The front is good but maybe a bit blunt. But overall, a terrific design. I even like the big fat tires, which all supercars had back then—-Ferrari 275GTB, Daytona etc.

    It’s the kind of design you would expect from probably the best car designer of all time, Giorgetto Giugiaro. But….

    These were known for or alleged to have less than perfect handling. This is going on memory from not long after the cars were new, but there was quite a debate on it at the time. The view of some people was that the cars looked beautiful, just like Giugiaro and deTomaso intended, but chassis development wasn’t carried out to the extent it could/should have been. IIRC there was even a lawsuit begun by deTomaso against people who criticized the cars’ handling and chassis design, but I don’t recall how far that went.

    From Wikipedia:
    “The initial cars are claimed to have a more powerful Ford HiPo 289 cu. in. engine; the later cars all had Ford 302 engines.”

    A fabulous car to look at, but at that mileage and price that could be the most you would want to do with the car.

  6. sccaracer31

    Is the drivers seat correctly installed? To me it seems that it is installed in such that the driver is sitting on the seat back.

  7. Car Guy

    Wow,
    I didn’t know only 401 of these were built. When I was 12, there was a guy in our neighborhood that had a silver Mangusta. When the weather was nice he would leave it parked ouside his house. One day he saw me stopped on my bike looking at the car. I yelled, “Nice Mangusta!”. He replied, “You are the first kid that knew what it was. Wanna go for a ride?”

    Well that decison took about one millisecond. He drove me around the neighborhood with a couple of runs up the rpm range just to see my eyes get big. That was one of the coolest rides I have ever been on.

    • Jeffro

      I love stories like this!

      • Rspcharger Rspcharger

        too bad in this day an age that Mangusta owner would have some P.O’d parents to deal with & possibly the cops.

  8. Chris Hejmanowski

    I’ve seen this car in person, and it certainly looks like a survivor not a restoration. The Buy it now price is at least $20,000 over what the owner actually wants as this place in a Lutz, Florida is a consignment shop (where I previously had one of my own cars). This particular car has been sitting there for well over a year with a price drop from the mid 400s if I’m not mistaken.

    • Dolphin Member

      The SCM Guide says the median price paid at auction for these has been $290K. If this Mangusta is a driver quality car it’s probably worth less than that.

  9. Bruce Best

    I totally agree with the thought that it is one of the most beautiful cars ever designed but not only is the handling not good, (read in truly dangerous at the limits going from massive understeer to massive oversteer in a fraction of a second due to chassis flex) it is also one of the most uncomfortable. If you look closely you will see that the position of the top of the windshield is extremely close to your face.

    I love the design but after having a ride as an adult I would like one with better interior positioning of the seats and better visibility out the back. As for the ride I got it was the first time I did more than one 360 rotation while going in a straight line. Thank god it was on a race track with generous overruns or we both would have been dead.

    I do not know about being deadly to the cobras of the world but they have a nasty reputation as a drivers car that in my mind is deserved. That being said if I had the income I would be one of the bidders.

    • Dolphin Member

      Wow, that must have been an ‘interesting’ experience with that Mangusta. I think your 360 degree spin while going in a straight line is similar to stories I had heard years ago about the Mangusta—a result of snap oversteer. One line that I read about the handling problems of the Mangusta was:

      “One American tester found that the Mangusta was capable of understeering and oversteering at the same time.”

      • Bruce Best

        Both the owner and I were scared white and were silent for more than a few minutes. He was a very successful SCCA racing driver and he stated he had never seen a car do that in all his years. I have ridden in some pretty amazing cars just because I asked good questions and was polite. Those include an amazing ride in a SM, and a MK-8A McLaren Race car that left bruises from the seat belt straps. (I now understand why they are so much wider then normal cars have.) The Mangusta is more like a under vetted and under tested prototype that got manufactured because of beauty alone. I needed more development and never got it.

        I think the Mangusta could be remanufactured with a Turbo V-6 of today designs and with the seat moved back and a much stiffer chassis you could have something truly amazing. As small as it is you do not need all that much power and a Turbo V-6 could give it all it needed.

        To all I can tell you that photos do not show how beautiful this car really is. There is not a bad line on the exterior. The interior and the dash not so much but the exterior is amazing. If you wish to see one in the big screen check out Kill Bill II there is one parked outside Bud’s trailer home.

        Enjoy

  10. Ed Williams

    I have always liked the Mangusta’s design but I think the three quarter view from either side is the best.

  11. redwagon

    wow. simply wow. what lines. this thing is gorgeous and if i never drove it i think i could be happy just looking at it. another case of automotive porn.

    still i would drive it if i owned it bc why the hell not?

    knowing the handling issues i would not drive it at 10/10 or even 9/10, heck 8/10 would probably cause a code brown.

  12. Bobror

    As stated, Mangusta means mongoose and I believe a mongoose is the only creature that can kill a cobra. So, yes, I believe that is a definite shot at Shelby. Of course, I don’t think any 4 wheeled Cobras were killed by Mangustas.

  13. Joe Howell

    Wow! I like.

  14. Danno

    Probably my favourite-looking car of all time, at the moment. I’d totally hoard these if I was a frivolous billionaire.
    BTW, is it “duh TOM-ass-oh”, or “dee toe-MAH-so”? Or something else?

  15. boxdin

    If stinking rich I would have no prob owning the car as a boulevard cruiser. It and Pantera were never race cars and like others have said handling is atrocious.
    I remember reading how the craftsman who built these often left unpainted bodies outside until they could bring them inside to work on. Rust happens…

  16. ACZ

    Gorgeous! but, brown?

    • Car Guy

      Looks more like a dark gold to me. I like the color. It goes great with the black interior……… I forgot to mention, I had a Mangusta…….The Tyco Pro version.

  17. Dan h

    That there my friends is one bad a** car.

  18. Mike H. Mike H

    Does anyone else see the similarity in the rear view to the 1970 Firebird, or is it just me?

  19. Rocco

    Very cool looking.

  20. the one

    coulda shoulda . Yep I had the opportunity and the dough but I passed.

  21. AMXSTEVE

    looks more like a Pantera that a Firebird.

  22. JRATT1956

    Nice car, but there are just too many new super cars that you can get for less.
    Maybe I would buy it, if I hit the Powerball on Sat. LOL.

  23. RoughDiamond RoughDiamond Member

    That is jaw dropping gorgeous! The closest I’ll ever come to owning one is the Corgi model I still have.

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