Courtesy of Silverstone Auctions

Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro for Ghia, the DeTomaso Mangusta was first introduced in 1967. Only 401 cars were manufactured until production ceased in 1971, with its successor being the well-known DeTomaso Pantera.

Housing a 289-ci Ford V8, mated to a 5-speed ZF manual transmission, the Mangusta served out over 300 bhp. In standard trim, the specification included all-around disc brakes, four-wheel independent suspension and electric windows — a luxury for a supercar of its time. When opened to reveal the beautiful V8 engine, the unique design of the two clamshells gives the Mangusta an unforgettable silhouette that even a non-petrol-head would appreciate.

We are proud to offer this exquisitely restored-to-original-specification Mangusta. This twin-headlight model is presented in red with a black leather interior, and is a left-hand-drive European car that was sold new to a Mr. Norman Dube of Nova Scotia, Canada. In April 2002, the car headed to the sunnier climes of California.

Within a couple of months, it was decided that it would benefit from a full restoration, and historic racing specialists TSR Enterprises Inc. of Sonoma, CA, carried out a complete overhaul of the car. The history file contains extensive bills exceeding $70,000 that detail all work undertaken. A must-have feature on any car in California is air-conditioning, and this was fitted at the time of restoration.

After a decade of enjoyment from the Mangusta, the second keeper sold the car in August 2012, to a British businessman who resided in Sai Kung, Hong Kong. It was he who imported the car back to the U.K. in June 2013 and registered the car HHY 59G. Our vendor purchased the car earlier this year and sent it to well-known specialist Simon Furlonger for a full service and MoT, while also attending to a few minor niggles that were remedied easily enough.

With the odometer now reading 34,796 miles, this car represents a masterpiece in design flair combined with brute engine power.

SCM Analysis


Vehicle:1969 DeTomaso Mangusta
Years Produced:1967–71
Number Produced:401
Original List Price:$11,500
SCM Valuation:$105,000–$250,000
Tune Up Cost:$525
Distributor Caps:$45
Chassis Number Location:Stamping on frame member near right rear corner of engine compartment, data tag in front compartment on bulkhead
Engine Number Location:Intake side of block
Club Info:Mangusta International
Alternatives:1969 Iso Grifo S1, 1969 Corvette 427, 1970 Monteverdi Hai 450SS, 1969 Ferrari 365 GTB/4
Investment Grade:B

This car, Lot 319, sold for $281,782 (£180,000), including buyer’s premium, at Silverstone Auctions’ NEC Motor Show sale in Birmingham, U.K., on November 16, 2014.

The Mangusta is a fascinating car, beautiful in a very masculine way, powerful, rare and characterful. That it also has had a reputation for being slightly dangerous adds to its appeal, although as is often the case, conventional wisdom is not really accurate. It is a car that doesn’t suffer fools gladly, but as a collector car, it is rather unlikely to be driven today near or past its “fearsome” limits.

Mangusta International, the central club dedicated to these cars, has declared that more than half have survived. Unlike its successor the Pantera, relatively few Mangustas have been modified, customized or updated, and originality is prized.

Two variants

There are two basic variations: the 289-ci vs. the 302-ci Ford V8 engine and four fixed vs. two pop-up headlights. The former is the European version, and the latter is the U.S. specification, although by now the original delivery locations have very little to do with where a car might be found.

Generally, the 289/four-headlight cars are more desirable, but if someone were to offer me a two-headlight/302, I wouldn’t turn it down.

As original glass and rubber parts are not available, and the deeply curved body panels demand careful and accurate repair work, the difference in value between a well-preserved original or freshly, expertly restored car and one that isn’t can be — and should be —substantial.

On a steady rise since 2008

At the time I am writing this, RM Auctions have consigned to their February 4, 2015, sale in Paris, France, a 1969 four-headlight car. Formerly a part of Peter Kaus’ Rosso Bianco collection, it was said to retain its “original paint, upholstery and drivetrain” and was finished in an attractive light metallic blue. It carried a pre-sale estimate of $146k–$194k (€120k–€140k).

On a major international listing website, a vendor based in Florida was advertising a “burn down Mangusta 1970, matching number, USA model” complete with “several body parts” for the needed restoration. Located in northern Italy, it carried an asking price of 120k euro, or $146k at $1.216=€1.00. Another project was on offer in France — a 1968 car at €140k ($170k). Finally, in the U.K., a London dealer was advertising a 1969 U.S.-delivery, two-California-owners-from-new example for £225k, or $349k. That’s an indication that the U.K. trade thinks the Mangusta is still undervalued — despite the tripling of prices in the past five years.

Tracking values

According to SCM’s Platinum Auction Database, the last four auction sales of Mangustas have been as follows:

In December 2014, Bonhams sold a 1970 two-headlight car with an older restoration for $195,252 at their Oxford, U.K., sale.

In July 2014, a refurbished four-headlight 1969 sold for $214,500 at the RM/Auctions America sale in Burbank, CA.

In May 2014, a 1969 freshly prepared four-headlight model sold at $369,882 at RM Auctions Monaco.

In December 2013, an original, concours-winning four-headlight 1970 brought $332,808 at Bonhams’ London sale.

In my profile of a Mangusta published in the December 2012 SCM (Etceterini Profile, p. 42), I observed a dramatic rise in Mangusta values — and a discernible chasm in prices in the U.K. and in the U.S. I also commented on what it cost to buy a Mangusta versus an Iso Grifo. I also compared prevailing values from a Mangusta profile I wrote for the October 2008 SCM (Etceterini Profile, p. 38).

In 2008, my profile subject, a 1969 Mangusta, sold for $99,241 at Bonhams’ Goodwood Festival of Speed sale. At the time, a small-block Grifo would have brought just under $200k. By the time of the 2012 article, the Grifo had come down a bit to around $175k. The Mangusta then written about was a then-market-high $209k.

Now on par with the Iso Grifo

In my opinion, the Grifo is a more-refined vehicle, with better details and finish, but the Mangusta could nevertheless be considered a reasonable alternative to a Grifo as a powerful, attractive, Italian-American hybrid GT. I wrote in 2008 that the DeTomaso should not keep selling at such a steep discount to the Iso, and so it seemed the gap had closed. But at the same time, a well-regarded U.S. dealer had just sold a good example of a ’69 Mangusta for half that money.

While U.S. sales have historically been less-than-top-condition cars sold in a range far lower than the U.K. sales, the result of the RM/Auctions America July 2014 sale in Burbank is evidence that the Atlantic Ocean differential seems to be lessening significantly.

The Mangusta is also selling at parity to the small-block Grifo, as I have long believed should be the case. If you fit comfortably inside — and not everyone does — the Mangusta can be an interesting and offbeat choice. The long overlooked “non-purebreds” have finally found their day. That a relatively minor player in the major auction scene achieved this sale backs my opinion that this is the new “market-correct.” ♦

(Introductory description courtesy of Silverstone Auctions.)

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