Cobra Killer?

1969 De Tomaso Mangusta

Offered by Auctions America | Auburn, Indiana | June 1-3, 2012

That it is called a “Mangusta” – which is Italian for mongoose, renown killer of cobras – is, perhaps, a bit optimistic. This car was certainly not going to take on the Shelby Cobra in any competitive way, shape or form (apparently Alejandro De Tomaso and Caroll Shelby were friends, so it wasn’t named out of spite. Perhaps just arrogance or a friendly rivalry?). But none of this is to say it isn’t great, because it is.

The common traits of Italian supercars include (but are not limited to): an engine mounted in the middle or rear of the car and some sort of ridiculous styling feature. It must also be hideously expensive. This car marks two and a half of those boxes. The engine, in this case the American-only 5.0-liter Ford V8 making a somewhat sad 220 horsepower, is mounted behind the driver (Europeans got a 306 horsepower 5.7-liter Ford V8). And the over-the-top styling feature? How about twin doors to access the engine that fold upward – gullwing-style.

With regard to expense, the car was very expensive to build – almost prohibitively so. Only 401 were made before it was replaced by the less costly Pantera. Of those 401, only about 250 still exist. This is a 36,000-mile car with power windows, air conditioning and four-wheel disc brakes. These are definitely cool – cooler than a Pantera anyway. And it can be yours for $75,000-$100,000. For the complete lot description click here and for the complete lot list, click here.

Update: Sold $75,900.

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