Tuesday, April 20, 2010

8300 Mile 1974 DeTomaso Longchamp

Once again, here's a car that has me scratching my head. This is a 1974 DeTomaso Longchamp with 8302 miles on it. Do the math. That's 237 miles a year. Why buy a car this nice and not drive it? I don't get it. What could you possibly have had in 1974 that was better? (OK, you could have had a Ferrari, a Pantera, or something like that, but then why buy this?)

The Longchamp was a close relative to DeTomaso's Deauville. They shared a similar platform and both were designed by Tom Tjaarda and built by Ghia. (The Pantera was also a Tjaarda design. DeTomaso owned Ghia from 1967 - 1970. In 1970 he sold it to Ford.) As with most of DeTomaso's cars, power came from a Ford V8. In this case the 351 "Cleveland", the same engine used in the Pantera.

This was a luxury car and not a sports car per se. The interior was leather and what appears to be (at least in this car) corduroy. This was a car meant to compete with Jaguar, Mercedes and other European luxury coupes.

Looking at this car gives you a hint of where DeTomaso would take Maserati in the 1980s. Squarish design, lots of leather, lots of luxury. In fact, the first "new" Maserati built under DeTomaso's ownership was the Kyalami, which was nothing more than a slightly redesigned Longchamp with a Maserati V8 replacing the Ford engine.

This car was bought new by the seller's father. It looks like you'd expect an 8300 mile Longchamp to look. Perfect. Curiously, the seller says that "several years ago" the car was given a bare metal respray. While I know that Italian bodies of the 1970s and 1980s didn't hold up very well, you have to wonder why a garage-kept, low mileage car like this would need that.

I've always admired Alejandro de Tomaso and his cars. For many years De Tomaso cars were genuine bargains, but in recent years the Pantera has (rightly) crept up in price. The sedans and coupes have been slow to follow though, even though there were far less made (only 409 Longchamps were built in total.) It will be interesting to see what this car, with its low mileage, is bid up to.

Located in Sycamore, IL (I think), click here to see the eBay listing.


Chris Keen said...

I like it! Looks like we and BaT are having some crossover, with this car and the Fiat Brava.

Jon said...

Nice car Mr. Geek!

I've forgotten about the Longchamp until that ISO Fidia post from a while back. I can't imagine the horrific noises the Fidia made as it was hoisted onto a flatbed. Let's hope the new owner at least got a tetanus shot before working on it.

In any case, the last Longchamp I saw was in an old classic car classified from back in the late 1980's. It was done up to look like a Pantera GTS in the manner that lowly Jalpa owners tried to make their cars resemble fancy Countachs.

At least the Jalpa owners were roughly in the same ball park when they started out...

Imagine a red Longchamp with the tacky white GTS lettering over a black band painted on the side, and a ridiculously huge wing mounted on the trunk. I don't think they ever came out of the factory looking like that, so I assumed it was someones idea of an upgrade. That horror was etched into my memory for quite a few years.

The owner must have gotten a few laughs at Pantera meets.

Thank god for the healing powers of the internet. Following this post on Car Geek I found quite a few nice examples on the net, and some that were really jawdropping.

Thank you Car Geek, an exorcist would have charged thousands for a similar service. As my memory is now free of the Longchamp poltergeist, I am truly a happy man.

Maxichamp said...

I was so looking forward to seeing a Longchamp in person a few years ago at the Concorso Italiano. But when I saw it, I was underwhelmed. It reminded me too much of a Ford Taunus.