Evaluation: One of just 401 Mangustas built. Restoration completed by Wayne Carini’s F40 Restorations for David Robinson from The Cars (the band). The engine compartment and interior are spotless, and although the paint and wheels look a little older, they’re still fine. This precursor to the Pantera was a flawed car, but it is rare, fast and gorgeous, and that gullwing hinged engine cover is a cool gimmick. It is also a more desirable four-headlight, 289-powered car (other Mangustas had two headlights and/or a less powerful 302).
Bottom Line: DeTomaso’s second production model, after the four-cylinder Vallelunga but before the more famous Pantera, the Mangusta (Italian for “mongoose”) wears a Giorgetto Giugiaro-designed body with its trademark center-hinged engine cover over a backbone chassis. Performance was good in a straight line, but chassis flex at the limit left it with handlingthat many road testers described as unpredictable. The shape is one of Giugiaro’s best designs, though, and few people would drive this car at ten tenths, anyway. Another appeal of Italian-American hybrids like the Mangusta is that the Ford bits underneath are easy to source. The DeTomaso-specific bits, however, are not, so a beautifully restored one like this is ideal, and a rare buying opportunity. The bidders thought so, too. While not a record price, this result is close.