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Lime Green Rarity: 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta

The DeTomaso Mangusta is one of those lesser-known sports cars that really does deserve our attention and respect. It has the pedigree that any automotive enthusiast would rightfully seek out when buying a vehicle as an investment, but it also represents the beautiful simplicity of a DeTomaso product: despite its exotic bodywork, it featured one of two Ford-built V8s under the elaborate aluminum engine covers. This particular car is in a curious state, appearing to have been knocked around some while still featuring tidy paintwork. It’s a project and is listed here on eBay for $135,000 or best offer.

The seller is a dealer that is familiar to us all by now, and you really have to give them credit for digging out some truly obscure vehicles. While it’s not terribly surprising to see them show up with a barn find Porsche 911 or a ragged Austin Healey, discovering a forgotten Mangusta is just another level of sleuthing. Still, some further detective work is warranted to figure out just what happened to this 1960s exotic. The passenger side has been impacted to some level, with the door missing, the right front wheel cocked at a precarious angle, and the right-side engine cover missing its glass panel. From the driver’s side, it appears largely complete.

The interior tells another story, with the seats completely roached and the leather surfaces all clearly in need of replacement. The seller doesn’t provide any details on what happened to this poor Mangusta, but it seems likely there was an incident that did serious damage to the suspension components and likely didn’t upset the exterior cosmetics all that much. Is frame damage a possibility? Who knows, but I’d want to get it on a rack to assess why that front passenger wheel is angled to the degree it is. The paintwork is surprisingly clean and is a nice change of pace from the usual reds we see the ’60s and ’70s-era Italian exotics wearing. The transmission is a ZF 5-speed manual.

The Mangusta came with the delightful Ford 289 V8 for the earlier years of production; this later shifted to a 302 towards the end of production. I’m not sure when the change-over happened but if it has a 289, it strikes me as being a bit more desirable than the later 5.0. Nothing against that engine specifically, but the 289 seems more fitting for a Ford-powered sports car from this era. The Mangusta is a rare fine in any condition, but I cannot imagine it will be easy to source a door and rear glass for the engine lid, but being “easy” doesn’t matter much if you’re of the means to restore a car like this back to good health. Thanks to Barn Finds reader Scott L. for the find.

Comments

  1. Euromoto Member

    It used to be the concrete floor with the crack down the middle with the pleated drapes behind. Now, it’s the stressed concrete wall with the wrought iron and the bougainvillea. But, by any other name, it’s Beverly Hills Car Club. Located in beautiful Boyle Heights, 10 miles away geographically, and a million miles away economically from Beverly Hills…

    Like 20
    • JOHN F

      Beverly Hills Car Club the purveyors of junk.

      Like 16
      • FrankD Member

        and overpriced junk and also reminds me of another Dealer in NY. I think they are both related sometimes.

  2. bobhess bobhess Member

    Rear panel lines don’t exactly match the roof line telling me the frame is twisted. Pretty much over priced junk here.

    Like 23
  3. alphasud Member

    Poor car! Where does one start? It needs everything! I think I will take the easy way out and find a nice Pantera.

    Like 7
  4. angliagt angliagt Member

    I hope the potential buyer of this goes in (& backs out)
    when looking into it.
    There was one of these inside of our local Speed Shop-
    Hunter’s Speed shop that I believe was the owner’s car.I didn’t
    know much about it at the time.

    Like 1
  5. RoughDiamond Member

    Sure hope no one ends of wasting their money on this.

    Like 8
  6. Rex Kahrs Member

    Null Wing.

    Like 4
  7. Mark

    I wonder which of the 4 different shades of green on this junker is the correct shade ? Twisted chassis but its rarity probably makes it too expensive for a parts car. Who let the interior rot away like that ? So many questions.

    Like 3
  8. healeydays

    First time I saw one of these was back in the early 1980s when I was crossing from New Brunswick Canada to the Maine in a small crossing. My girlfriend and I were pulled into a secure area to have our car searched (found nothing other than 3 beers) and next to us was an impound lot with a couple exotics including a Mangusta. I was talking to the US agent about the cars and he said they saw a number of folks trying to sneak cars into the US using that crossing and the cars in the lot were destined to be crushed with no chance of re-exporting them back to Canada.

    A tear definitely came to my eye…

    Like 3
  9. Steve

    Looks like the back end was crunched also. In regards to the passenger wheel, maybe it’s just toed out for racing. Insert sarcasm meme here.

  10. Tailgunner

    This heap looks so well prepped for a quick photo op that if you slam the iron gate behind it too hard all parts fall off. Jeez!!

  11. tbone-bob

    Located at Beverly Hills Car Club,

  12. FrankD Member

    I have personally worked on two Mangustas for a friend who owns a restoration shop on the North Shore in Massachusetts. Parts are hard to find and some were fabricated with an English wheel others were sourced from Italy. The first Mangusta I disassembled had 3/4 of an inch of bondo on the top of both fenders directly over the wheels. All the electrics were in Italian. The transmission is the same transmission that’s in a Pantera. The difference is this one is flipped up side down.

    Like 1
  13. FrankD Member

    I wonder why he didn’t put this car on the lift like he did with a red 73 Pantera he has for sale??

  14. fran

    Very cool car, and they know how to present in pictures a car, I like looking at their other sales..

    With that said, the background in a few of the shots looks like a destroyed city after all the peaceful protests happened. Its like a CNN background! LOL…OK

    Like 8
  15. Bruce

    I maybe one of the few that has sat in one of these and I was not happy with the interior of the car. Look closely and the top of the windshield is very close to the drivers head. In addition the dash, well the nicest thing I can say is that it is basic and not that good looking or easy to use.

    That for a start the owner at the time told me what I had read in magazines was true, that this was one of the most vicious handling cars he had ever driven. It would snap between overseer to understeer in the blink of an eye. He told me that he had done some track laps with it and spun it more than once. Daily driving fine, press it at all and you are in grave danger. Given that he was a relatively successful SCCA driver at the time makes me think that this snake eater could chew your ass as well. That maybe why it is damaged as it is.

    NOW this is one of the most beautiful cars ever made and the frame work would be extensive but for me and some of the previous owners of this model is strictly automotive art. Breath taking yes but as a driver not so much.

    As for the price in this condition this is an NFW car. Think No Way with emphasis.

    Like 10
    • JOHN F

      Actually, now there are two of us. A friend at the time in Ohio had one with the wrong seats and it was almost impossible to set in. My forehead was almost hitting the windshield and rear-view mirror. Italy made some beautiful cars and I have had a few of them but design and usability do not always go hand in hand.

      Like 3
    • Craig

      3 of us. once I drove one, I knew I could never own one. That “forehead in the windshield” is unpleasant.

      btw, a friend pointed out the lack of transaxle

      Like 1
  16. Donald Barry

    This car can be saved but it depends upon the title. Is it a salvage title which means it will never achieve the selling price of the acquisition plus all the necessary repairs. I have a frame expert who has straightened one of my cars that could probably does wonders and a english wheel expert who can replicated the right side door. But, not at a $135,000 and questionable title.

  17. Dave T

    People, there is an automatic transmission in it attached to nothing because it can’t be. ZF Trans missing. Also engine exhaust manifold facing the front?

    Like 3
  18. douglas hunt

    when I was a kid, I had the corgi diecast of this car, with the removable chassis…..I don’t know where it is but it’s probably in better shape than this

    Like 3
  19. Tailgunner

    This poor pile of remnants looks so perfectly prepped for a quick photo-op that if you slam the iron gates behind it somewhat forceful all quickly hung parts will fall off on their own. Also funny to see the automatic transmission doing nothing… Jeez!!

  20. DUSTIN

    Fundamentals……..

    This car is lacking them. And I’m not talking about the missing door, missing engine glass, multiple shades of green paint, or the fryed interior. All that we can deal with.

    Nope, I’m talking about the V8 auto out of some Mustang or ford LTD lowered in place and held up with some quickly tacked up angle iron. There is a reason you see no driveshafts coming out of the rear wheels and only studs. There is nowhere for the shafts to bolt to in a tail-output automatic trans. That engine and tranny never ran under the panels of this car and is there just for show – for the sale. The manifolds are also a dead giveaway.

    The frame – twisted and tweaked – we can deal with that – but the rust….. No amount of flat black Rustoleum can hide that kind of cancer. There is no integrity left to the floors or frame – this car is about to fold in half. The spray cans reveal the level of dishonesty surrounding this car. It to me its more of a red flag than the tweaked body lines and twisted wheel camber. Somebody is trying to polish a turd because they have something to hide..

    That cocked wheel reveals another very ugly secret – much like the hastily thrown together engine cradle – the A-arm under there is….. not right. Not just bent or tweaked, but wrong. Somebody threw together a quick fab arm to replace the rusted out one that used to be there. They didn’t even bother to measure the cuts. I’ve done better fabrication in the dark, behind my back, with a blindfold on. Just put a jack under it and take a picture with the removed wheel next to it. Just be honest.

    Even in its decrepit state, this is an iconically cool car that appears to have been directly pulled out of a wet landfill and hastily spray painted in someone’s barn to try and justify a 6 figure price tag. It’s not the condition of the car that is an insult – we have seen worse. It’s the attempt to sell it as a more complete project than it really is – and basically LIE (no 5 speed here) so that a HUGE price tag could be tossed at it.

    Offensive.

    Seller would have been better off NOT putting in that drive train out of some front engin’ed whatever, and NOT breaking out the spray paint, and just selling it as is with honesty. The used classic car market has gone insane lately. Everyone wants to cash in on their old and classic car with just one single sale. Make it rich with that one find, and there seems to be suckers out there that will fall for it. But a little research yields that low mileage restored units go between $200k and $300k. How can we justify almost half the price when we don’t even have half the car?

    It’s time for this market to come back to it’s senses. We are looking for barn finds, not the next gold rush.

    Like 22
  21. Howie

    Many, many years ago i looked at one on a car lot, it was $11k, i had zero money. Look at the angle of the front right wheel. Looks like some photos are no longer on EBay, but they are here. Way too much money!!!

    Like 4
    • Howie

      I can see all the photos now. Still way too much $$$.

      Like 3
    • Jon.in.Chico

      Yeah, how many times years ago we could have bought many of these cars for a song but had no money … I lucked out and bought a ’61 Vette 283/2-4bbl/4-speed for $1200, traded it even on a ’55 TBird I sold for $1700 … back then I thought I made money … how I wish I had either now …

  22. JOHN F

    Why would the paint have any shine at all given the condition or the rest of the car? The interior looks like it sat in a junkyard outside for some time to achieve the look that it has. Did they re paint the car to cover up the damage from the wreck? Where did the original motor and transmission go? Was the door hit so hard on the right side it was thrown away? A donor for another car? Wrecked so bad it twisted the car and busted the glass out? Is it worth 5,000.00?

    Like 1
  23. Matthew Grant

    your local ‘auto zone’ will have all the parts, right? this would be a very expensive project. think long and hard. the costs would be prohibitive.

    Like 1
  24. Midlife Classics

    I saw the incorrect drivetrain right off the bat. So much else wrong. I owned #103 for a few years. I can confirm the comments regarding evil handling and horrible ergonomics. It was no better than a beautiful piece of rolling artwork.

    That being said, I’ve negotiated the purchase of a buck/plug built from digital scans from which we’ll eventually make molds. My restoration business will be morphing into a production company making kits, turnkey-minus or full production examples of a “continuation series” of the Mangusta. The handling and ergonomics will be addressed while holding true to the basic external appearance. This project is only in the conceptual phase at this point and constructive comments and suggestions will be welcomed at the Facebook group created to keep everyone up to date on our progress once we start.
    https://www.facebook.com/groups/midlifemangusta/?ref=share_group_link

  25. Christopher David Willis

    There is an appearance of one of these cars in the movie Kill Bill. Bill drives it over to visit his brother Bud at his trailer. Beautiful car.

  26. Bill McCoskey Bill McCoskey Member

    As a recognized accident investigator and salvage investigator, here’s my take on what may have transpired with this car:

    Car was stolen either for the drive train and other parts, or as a joyride [or both], then abandoned in a remote area where it sat for years before it’s recovery. Then it sat in an impound lot until the criminal investigation was completed. Finally sent to the insurer’s storage lot before being sold at a salvage auction.

    The damage at the back end suggests it was towed out of a difficult location.

    Like 9
  27. Randy

    Need to move the decimal point in the price one digit to the left — but being BHCC I seriously doubt that will ever happen.

  28. chrlsful

    BHCC is notorious, infamous for their business model. Somewhat like the guy across frm Manhattan @ other end of country (is it ‘gull wing’ motors?). He gets a junk, advertises it, When bought he gets paid to restore by owner.
    /OR/ of course, they can go elsewhere for the wrk. But in the city (population), and at the inflated costs/wages he gets plenty work.

    The kicker for me w/these two (& part of their business model) is the model cars they acquire ( beemer 507, 300SL, this ‘green guy’). Our shop hasa saying when going out for an inspection/possible purchase: “All your money is made @ the time of purchase.” I’m sure it’s so here too. We can appreciate these 2 guys as at least it’s not that 1960s fishy TV star: … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y6PqrTZsho0
    but ‘a bring back’ (if the customer ‘picks’ them). If well done (I understand the Manhattan guy is) they should be complemented.

    Like 1
  29. Big C

    Hands in your pockets, Alphonzo! She’s a no go!

  30. t-bone bob

    Ended: Aug 18, 2022 , 8:46PM
    Located in:Los Angeles, California

    This listing was ended by the seller because the item is no longer available.

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