When we reflect upon the history of Italian coachbuilding and design, it is impossible to ignore the De Tomaso / Giugiaro Mangusta. It was stunning from every angle; in both art and engineering, it challenged and defined every aspect of motor car design in the mid-1960s while solving the problems associated with midengined design with beauty, grace, and authority. By the dictates of its creator, the Mangusta would be a race car for the street, its chassis based on a contemporary competition car. By the hand of one of the greatest automotive designers in Italy, it would be wide, low, sleek, and of perfect line.
Ex-GM Designer Dick Ruzzin knows this well, as did others whose lives were devoted to automotive architecture. The Detroit doyens of design, William L. Mitchell at GM and Gene Bordinat at Ford, realized immediately that the Mangusta was one of the most advanced and beautiful cars in the world. Both ordered a specially tailored Mangusta for their personal use, and Mitchell had his equipped with a Chevy V8.
Ruzzin has owned the ex-Mitchell Mangusta for the last forty-seven years. He spent years in Turin and interviewed many of those who still remembered how the Mangusta came to be created. Writing with passion, experience, and knowledge, Ruzzin has expertly authored the only book specifically about the design of the Mangusta.
—Pete Vack, Editor and Publisher, VeloceToday.com, LLC
Reading about Dick Ruzzin's Mangusta reminds me of two of the most unforgettable characters I ever met. They are, of course, Alejandro de Tomaso and William L. Mitchell.
Once known as Europe's most profligate creator of exotic sports and racing prototypes, Argentinean emigre de Tomaso had a phase of fondness for backbone-framed cars that gave birth to the Mangusta, magnificently styled by the young Giorgetto Giugiaro. The mercurial Alejandro finally made good as a car manufacturer—with a little help from the Italian government.
A car enthusiast from his bald dome to his Bond Street shoes, Bill Mitchell arranged for GM Styling to buy the latest sports cars to help him persuade GM's often hidebound management that more exciting cars might be good for business. His Chevy-engined Mangusta was a perfect example. Ironically its successor in de Tomaso oeuvre was the Pantera, launched by Ford like an arrow at the heart of GM.
Now Dick Ruzzin brings his own enthusiasm for great automobiles to this presentation of an esoteric example from the golden age of Italian sports cars, deeply informed on all aspects of the Mangusta as only a passionate owner can be.