A Great Looking Car From Italy / 1969 De Tomaso Mangusta

The automobile featured in this article is the 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta. Some will say that this is the best looking car ever produced. Certainly it's one of the best looking automobiles from Italy. What we do know is that every car built by DeTomaso was very eye appealing with many race car features. This car is a beautiful, muscular icon of the 1960s and is said to have been based on the Ford GT40

detamaso mangusta

1969 deTomaso Mangusta

The Italian automaker DeTomaso Modena S.p.A. is named not for an Italian but an Argentinian race car driver, Alejandro DeTomaso.

DeTomaso's father was a well known politician and his mother was a member of the Ceballos family, one of Argentina's oldest and wealthiest families. The Ceballos wealth was centered on large land holdings that were originally granted to the family by the King of Spain. Alejandro DeTomaso lost his father at the age of five years and was raised on his mother's large estate. 

The logo DeTomaso used for his automobile company was a tribute to his home country of Argentina and his family heritage. The blue and white stripes of the logo's background are the colors of the national flag of Argentina. The symbol in the foreground that looks like a letter "T" is the branding symbol of the Ceballos estate where Alejandro grew up.

1969 detomaso mangusta

The low. sleek and fast 1969 DeTomaso

The DeTomaso Mangusta and the House of Ghia

The 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta was a striking Italian supercar.The engine was a small block Ford V-8 that was tied to a ZF transmission. ZF is a German firm. Styling was done by Ghia which was recently acquired by DeTomaso. The designer at Ghia was Giorgetto Giugiaro. Ghia was considered one of the very best styling and coachbuilding firms in Italy having been founded in 1915. In 1970 DeTomaso sold Ghia to the Ford Motor Company.

The DeTomaso Mangusta was the second sports car produced by the company and at one time was offered to the Ford Motor Company as a replacement for the Cobra That deal was never consummated although Ford was involved in DeTomaso's operations beginning in the 1970's.

mangusta mid-engine car

Rear view of the unique DeTomaso Mangusta mid-engine automobile

The Mangusta was Alejandro DeTomaso's idea to scale up the Vallelunga's Lotus-type backbone chassis and put an American V-8 in it.

The Vallelunga was the first DeTomaso car made, right before the Mangusta. It was the comapany's first road going model. It is thought that only a few dozen Vallelungas survive today, their ownership being a worldwide but small group of enthusiasts.

As an interesting side note, the word "mangusta" in Italian means "Mongoose" which is an animal that can kill cobras.

The DeTomaso Mangusta was produced from 1967 to 1971 with the prototype car introduced in 1966 at the Turin auto show.  The car's hood was aluminum with gullwing rear deck lids. The car was a two seater with the highest quality leather seats. From the rear quarter the Mangusta is probably the most beautiful car ever made.

In 2004 DeTomaso went into liquidation but still continued to build cars. A few buyers emerged but nothing was consummated. Today De Tomaso Automobili S.p.A. operates as an automaker for prototypes and sports cars. Their product line still includes the two-door, mid-engine Vallelunga, Mangusta and Pantera.

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The 1974 Porsche 914

The 1974 MG BGT V-8

An Interview With A Ferrari Artist

A good book for those wishing to explore the automobiles of DeTomaso is De Tomaso: The Man and the Machines by authors Wallace A. Wyss and Juan Manuel Fangio.

detomaso automobile logo

The DeTomaso logo

1969 DeTomaso Mangusta Specifications

As mentioned above the engine in the DeTomaso Mangusta's was a 302 cubic inch small block Ford V-8 delivering 230 horsepower.

The engine was positioned midway on the chassis. While handling could be a bit tricky the car had a claimed top speed of 155 MPH. Zero to 60 time was claimed to be 7.0 seconds.

The car's transmission was a ZF five speed manual.

The DeTomaso Mangusta had a wheelbase of 98.4 inches and a length of 168.0 inches. The width was 72.6 inches and the height 42.1 inches. Weight was 3,050 lbs. This was a low and sleek automobile. The DeTomaso Mangusta looked like a race car and in reality was a detuned sports-race car.

The DeTomaso Mangusta was produced in very low numbers with only 400 built.

detomaso engine comprtment

View of the engine compartment behind the seats

The DeTomaso Mangusta Collector Cars

Many collectors would say that the DeTomaso Mangusta is the best looking car on four wheels. As mentioned above, the DeTomaso Mangusta's are very rare automobiles having only 400 produced. This low production number nevertheless represented the first "mass production" vehicle from DeTomaso. Some estimates today put the figure of surviving Mangusta's at less than 250. The number of cars in restored showroom condition are even fewer.

A restored 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta that comes up for sale may have an asking price well over $100,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

A Beauty of a 1923 Ford Model T Coupe

The 1923 Ford Model T Coupe featured in this article is a beauty. Total 1923 Ford Model T production was 1,831,000 vehicles of which the coupe model accounted for 313,000 units. Although Ford never produced a coupe with the designation "Doctor's Coupe" these Model T Coupes were occasionally referred as coupes for the doctor who would travel making house calls.

1923 ford model t coupe

1923 Ford Model T Coupe

The Simplicity of the Model T

If there’s one description to place on the Ford Model T it was simplicity. This was a simple yet extremely useful automobile. The engine was cast in one block and the four cylinder engine delivered 22 HP. Three pedals and a hand lever operated the transmission. In a large way, the simplicity of the Ford Model T was something cherished by the elder Ford. History tells us that Henry Ford was a man who generally resisted change. As an example, during the 1930′s when his competitors were adding technical improvement to their cars, such as hydraulic brakes, Henry Ford resisted until the last. Much of the credit for convincing the elder Ford to eventually agree to changes was given to his son Edsel Ford.

The Low Cost Ford Model T

Henry Ford was not responsible for inventing the automobile or the assembly line. What Ford did accomplish was using an assembly line technique to produce cars which could be afforded by everyone. The Model T was Ford's Universal Car.

model t coupe

Ford Model T Coupe front end view

The Model T was considered a low priced vehicle by comparison to other early automobiles. A 1923 Ford Model T Coupe was priced new at about $540. The affordability, the cars availability and it's reputation for dependability, made motoring possible for many people who had initially been priced out of the market. Ford's use of mass production techniques allowed the company to produce automobiles for the common person at a price they could afford. Ford's mass production techniques were adopted by it's chief competitors one after the other.

Times were changing during the 1920′s. Ford’s Model T managed to become the best selling car year after year however their share of the market was shrinking. Competition increased and General Motors made a lot of progress with their assembly line production methods. The car that was first built in 1908 at the Piquette Avenue plant in Detroit Michigan would finally make way for another model in 1927.

model t wood wheels

Ford Model T wood spoked wheels

While Henry Ford was resisting change, his chief competitor General Motors as actually afraid that the automobile market was hitting a saturation point. GM then introduced the annual model change who's purpose was to boost sales by urging buyers to regularly trade in their cars for new ones. If new models were introduced annually, a certain amount of buyers might determine that their cars were outdated and needed to be traded in on a new model. The plain fact is that this sales tactic was effective.

The Model T Spurred the Aftermarket Industry

The Ford engines were so durable that people found uses for these as twenty horsepower power sources for tasks outside of transportation. Some were made into farm tractors. There has never been a car built that had so many utilitarian purposes than the Ford Model T. Many believe that the Ford Model T started the car aftermarket trade.

1923 Ford Model T Specifications

Up until 1926 Ford Model T engines delivered about 22 horse power. The engine was an 177 cubic inch inline four cylinder. Top speed for the Model T was about thirty mph on a smooth road.

ford model t interior

Ford Model T steering wheel

The Model T's transmission was a planetary gear type. This was a three speed but actually a two speed as we know today because one of the three gears was reverse. The transmission was operated using three foot pedals and a lever.

The wheels were wooden spoke and the brake was operated by a right pedal that put a band around a drum in the transmission that stopped the rear wheels.

The Model T Coupe weighed just over 1,500 lbs. When all steel bodies were introduced in 1926 the car's weight increased about 300 lbs. The wheelbase was 100.0 inches, the width 66.0 inches and the overall length was 134.0 inches.

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The 1927 Ford Model T Coupe

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Model T Serial Numbers 

1934 Ford Model 40 V-8 Tudor Sedan


IMG_3631One of the best books available on the subject of Henry Ford, the Ford Model T and Ford’s influence on early 1900′s society is Wheels For The World by author Douglas Brinkley.

Another good book on the Ford Model T is The Legendary Model-T Ford: The Ultimate History of America’s First Great Automobile by author Tom Collins.

Collecting Ford Model T's

The value today of a Ford Model T can best be determined by researching no reserve auctions. Obviously, condition, originality and degree of restoration will determine final price. Generally, Ford Model T's in good condition sell above $10,000 with the average price being in the range of perhaps $12,000 to $16,000.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)

1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 / Collector Classic

Italy is well known for it's artistic creations. The opera, listen to Pavarotti and visit the Sistine Chapel...just a few of the popular creations that came out of Italy. Another popular Italian creation is the Alfa Romeo automobile. In this article we feature the 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000. The GTV stands for " Gran Turismo Veloce". The car was considered a reasonably priced coupe with a style seen in more costly automobiles. These cars also had the performance to match the looks.

1974 GTV 2000

1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000

Alfa Romeo was imported to the United States by Max Hoffman beginning in the  mid-1950s. The automobile brand ceased exporting cars to the U.S. in 1995 but began selling cars in the U.S. again in 2008.

Giorgetto Giugiaro

The Alfa Romeo GTV was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, who at the time was working for Bertone. The styling and coachbuilding company is also known as Gruppo Bertone. The GTV is considered by many as being one of the most beautiful cars Bertone ever designed. Bertone which as founded in 1912 has also designed cars for Fiat, Citroen, Astin Martin, Mercedes Benz, Abarth and others.

The GTV sports coupe was an elegant automobile with sporty lines. The car is a popular collector automobile with it's Italian craftsmanship.

alfa gtv 2000

1974 GTV 2000

The Start Was 1963

The very first GTV chassis was introduced in 1963 with the Giulia Sprint GT. They were the successors to the very popular Giulietta Sprint coupé and used a shortened floorpan from the Giulia Berlina car. These sporty good looking automobiles were made in a wide variety of models over a period of 13 years.

All versions of the car's engine fitted to the 105 series coupes featured twin carburetors. The competition models had cylinder heads with twin spark plugs.

That car delivered 92 horsepower from a 1,570cc engine. In 1965 that model then turned into the Sprint GT "Veloce" (GTV). In 1967 Alfa Romeo released the GTV 1750 with a 1,779cc engine delivering 122 horsepower.

Four years later in 1971  Alfa made small changes to the body and upgraded the engine to a 1962cc delivering 132 horsepower. This car was the GTV 2000. With its more powerful engine, few other cars could compete with it's handling experience. The chassis was balanced and the non-powered steering made the driver one with the road.

The 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 was the last and most capable version of the popular 105 series. As mentioned above the GTV 2000 came equipped with a 2.0 liter engine with 132hp.

74 alfa romeo gtv 2000

74 GTV 2000

The GTV Sports Car

It's been said that If ever there was an Italian cousin to the legendary BMW 2002, it would be the Alfa Romeo GTV Coupe. The GTV 2000 was introduced in 1971.

The coupe styled GTV weighed only 2,260 lbs. It was a sports car that did the zero to 60 mph in under nine seconds and had a top speed of 120 MPH. High performance and with such special styling, made the GTV 2000 an instant classic. The car was sold in the United States only from 1973 to 1974 which makes it a rare find as well.

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The 1971 Citroen DS-21

The 1974 MG BGT V-8

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Restored 1971 Datsun 240 Z

1974 Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 Specifications

As mentioned above the 1974 Alfa GTV 2000 came with a twin cam 1962cc 2.0 liter engine delivering 132 horsepower. The  2.0 liter cars are distinguished by a grille that houses several horizontal bars with a recessed centerpiece.

alfa gtv 2000 interior

1974 Alfa GTV 2000 interior and dashboard

The car's transmission was a five speed manual with an aluminum flywheel.

Brakes were four wheel disc.

The 1974 GTV 2000 had an overall length of 161.4 inches, the wheelbase 92.5 inches, the width 62.2 inches and a height of 51.8 inches.

A total of 37,459 GTV 2000's were produced.

The Alfa Romeo GTV 2000 Collector Car

All Alfa Romeo GTV's from the 1970's are very collectible. They are becoming increasingly sought after. The Alfa Romeo brand has a strong following in North America. GTVs in outstanding condition can reach into the $30,000 range. All of course depends on condition, mileage and originality. You'll likely find a few handsomely restored 1974 models.

Rust is an issue with Alfa Romeos, and every car should be carefully inspected for rust. Areas of rust can include the rocker panels although you'll likely be able to find models for sale or at auction which are rust free.

(Article and photos copyright 2014 AutoMuseumOnline)