This Mangusta is one of a handful of genuinely show stopping cars at Bristol’s Italian Auto Moto Festival last weekend and my personal favourite of those present.
When I was a kid and we got our first black and white television I was completely captivated by a Sci Fi puppet series called Thunderbirds and there were three real machines representing transport that seemed to capture that vision of the future, the Mangusta with its clean lines and gullwing engine cover, the supersonic Concorde and the ship named Queen Elizabeth 2 or QE2.
Mangusta translated means mongoose a carnivore immune to some snake venom known to kill vipers and typically avoid cobra’s. However the myth is that Mongeese are cobra killers and that is why the name was chosen for this vehicle because de Tomaso wanted to build a car that was better than the Shelby Cobra after a misunderstanding about a supply of engines that went to Shelby.
The Giorgetto Giugiaro body is fitted on to pressed steel back bone chassis which has it’s origins in de Tomaso’s first road car the Ford 4 cylinder Kent powered Vallelunga.
401 Mangusta’s are thought to have been built from 1967 to 1971 of which around 128 may have survived.
All bar one Mangusta were fitted with Ford V8’s the 306 hp 4729 cc / 289 cui for the European Markets, and the 220 hp 4949 cc / 302 cui for the US Market, the US versions had pop up lights in place of the twin headlamps of the European versions. The odd Mangusta was built with a Chevrolet Small Block V8.
Tarantino aficionado’s might recognise the 155 mph Mangusta from Kill Bill Vol. 2, see trailer at 1m 27 seconds, and Kylie Minogue fans might recognise the Mangusta from the 2001 ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ video.
Chassis 8MA 1216 seen here was purchased by Alitalia pilot Giancarlo Furiosi and kept by him until 2009 when portrait photographer Jonathan Root acquired it.
Hope you have enjoyed today’s Cobra Killer edition of ‘Gettin’ a lil’ psycho on tyres’ and that you will join me again tomorrow for a look at a black cat. Don’t forget to come back now !