My Car Quest

September 20, 2021

The First De Tomaso Mangusta Sold Long Ago – Where Is It Now?

by Wallace Wyss –

Prototypes are sold if the automaker goes out of business. That’s the hard truth of what happened to the first De Tomaso Mangusta, which was sold, as were all the rest of the prototypes.

I’d like to see it again in its running form. When I saw it in person it was more than 20 years after its show debut in ’66. It was in a corner of the De Tomaso factory covered with dirt, with refuse packed in the inside. I was surprised the instrumentation was only painted on a plastic dashboard. I doubt if it ever ran when it was originally shown.

De Tomaso Mangusta Prototype

Some decades later I saw an Italian magazine that had a story on it where I am assuming it was a running driving car. To make it running they would have had to sacrifice another Mangusta’s chassis, which means one of 401 precious cars. In the magazine it had a regular dashboard.

I’ll describe the car in the hopes someone has spotted it so we can hope to see it at a show.

-large sunroof, probably not openable
-no chrome on rear 3/4 windows or side windows
-huge racing style pop-open gas cap on side, now black
-deep dish mag wheels with raised rib on the center of each spoke
-rear air outlet vents on the rear deck not there originally
-quad headlamps with plexiglass see-through covers
-rear roof antenna that sits almost horizontal
-three lights in back on each side, outer light orange turn signal, middle brake and running lights, in most light a white backup light

I know the late Mr. Amory Haskell Jr., president of a firm call Rowan Controls, who worked for Ghia, (and was De Tomaso’s brother-in-law) had a Mangusta of the same color, dark gold, with the blacked out window trim and sunroof but his was a later model, maybe a 1967 prototype. That car may be in California as I once saw a picture of one in a beach town with a sunroof.

I have made a painting guided by a picture of De Tomaso showing the prototype to Amory. It was after that picture was taken they added the rear deck cooling vents.

De Tomaso Mangusta Prototype-Art by Wallace Wyss

I expect someday this first Mangusta (SN 001?) will come up for auction but it will be interesting how they describe it. I would want to know if it is on a later production car chassis. One clue will be when they lift the engine lid, the real prototype had a belt-sized strap of metal going over the top of each wheel well, this strap with silver dollar-sized holes about every 2″. If it has that I will believe they made the prototype drivable.

A lot of its value depends on who did the conversion to roadable car. If it was still De Tomaso, then it’s a prototype made by the factory and sold by the factory. If it was a body shell put on a Mangusta by an outside firm, to me that means it’s of lesser value.

Value: I’d say a cool million–IF it’s on the original chassis. There’s been hundreds of Italian show cars built since WWII. Some got lost between the cracks. I hope this isn’t one of them.

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

THE AUTHOR: Fine artist Wallace Wyss, is making this painting available on canvas. Interested parties can write him at malibucarart@gmail.com

 
 

 

 

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Summary
The First De Tomaso Mangusta Sold Long Ago - Where Is It Now?
Article Name
The First De Tomaso Mangusta Sold Long Ago - Where Is It Now?
Description
There's been hundreds of Italian show cars built since WWII. Some got lost between the cracks. I hope the De Tomaso Mangusta prototype isn't one of them.
Author

Comments

  1. I’ve seen the car, 5 years ago next to the former private museum of the Family DeTomaso in Modena.
    The car was stored inside the workshop in very beautiful preserved condition, and still showing its original regal gold color.
    Santiago, DeTomaso’s son was the owner of the car, and hopefully still is.
    I took a picture, but a virus encrypted all the files….
    You’ve to trust.
    Best wishes,
    Luca

  2. wallace wyss says

    Since writing the story found a picture that leads me to suspect it is the show car chassis that they made a runnng car. Too bad they couldn’t have used the gold wheels.

  3. wallace wyss says

    I am reproducing the more recent (after the year 2000) picture by Gio Martorana of the gold prototype Mangusta.It has the flat “belt-style”strap going over the top part of the metal wheel cover that was in the original. I would have to see a dashboard shot to know if it has the same interior I saw in the car in the factory junk pile. Then I’d be more convinced the prototype has been made operational.

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