As a child growing up in Argentina, Alejandro De Tomaso became infatuated with motor racing, particularly when it came to the exotic machinery from Italy. Young De Tomaso dreamed of emulating his hero Juan Manuel Fangio, and at 23 years old, he ran his first race behind the wheel of a cobbled-together pre-war car – believed to be an Alfa or Bugatti. By 1957, De Tomaso had married and moved to Italy with the ambition to be a race car constructor. De Tomaso’s first effort at a road car was the lovely Vallelunga, and after producing just 50 examples, it was superseded by the Mangusta, a Ford-powered mid-engine supercar with a Giorgio Giugiaro designed body and a chassis created by Bizzarrini.
Five years later the De Tomaso Longchamp debuted at the 1972 Turin Motor Show. It was designed by Tom Tjaarda of Ghia and was influenced by his previous Lancia Marica prototype. Offered as a two door, 2+2 coupé, it was developed from the De Tomaso Deauville four-door sedan, using a shorter-wheelbase chassis with the same suspension, engine, and transmission. The Longchamp featured a long hood to accommodate a 351 cubic inch Ford Cleveland V-8 engine that produced 330 bhp, allowing the Longchamp to achieve a top speed of 149 mph. Suspension was independent front and rear, with coil spring and wishbones aided by vented four-wheel disc brakes. Designed and built in the Italian tradition of hand-crafted, luxurious, and stylish high-speed Grand Touring automobiles, the Longchamp is a stunning design and a thrill to drive. Perfect for rapid runs from Zurich to Monte Carlo in comfort and elegance.
This fabulous 1974 De Tomaso Longchamp was purchased new directly from the factory in 1974 by a Lebanese businessman and flown to his home in Beirut. It was used sparingly in Lebanon until its owner and family relocated to the United States, setting in Illinois. Not wanting to leave such a special car behind, he arranged for the Longchamp to be flown to Illinois where it shared a garage with his Rolls-Royce. By 2002, the De Tomaso had been driven very little, however the paint was showing its age. Subsequently, its owner commissioned a high-quality, bare metal repaint in the elegant original light green color it still wears today. In 2010 the family decided to sell the Longchamp. The current owner acquired the De Tomaso with less than 14,000 km (8,700 miles) on the odometer. Since then, it has received careful attention to maintain the car’s originality and mechanical soundness. The odometer currently displays just 24,000 kilometers (roughly 15,000 miles), a testament to its highly original, superb condition.
The Longchamp was designed as a sophisticated and luxurious Italian high-speed Gran Tourer and the interior delivers nothing short of that. The soft trim is original, with items such as the dash, console and door cards remaining in very good order, with the leather and cloth seats displaying light patina that adds to the car’s well-loved character. The elegant cockpit features De Tomaso logo Veglia Boretti gauges, a novel rim-blow horn steering wheel (borrowed from the Ford parts bin), and of course as a proper 1970’s GT car, the requisite AM/FM MPX 8-track stereo.
Under the hood Ford’s mighty 351 Cleveland V8 is mated to a C6 Cruise-o-Matic automatic transmission and as with the interior, the under-hood presentation is highly original and well detailed. The rare finned Detomaso-branded valve covers are still in place, and the engine is well detailed and very tidy. The chassis and undercarriage show some use, appearing to be largely unrestored though well-kept and in good order.
The car has been exhibited selectively over the ensuing years, including at the Keeneland Concours d’Elegance in 2015, the Greenwich Concours in 2018 and most recently the Audrian Newport Concours in 2022.
Not only does the Longchamp have rarity on its side, with only 409 made from 1972 to 1989, it is a genuinely well-built and engineered automobile. Comparisons to other Euro-American hybrids such as the Jensen Interceptor or Iso Rivolta are natural, however, the Longchamp should really be compared to the Ferrari 365 2+2 or Maserati Mexico in terms of performance, quality and luxury. These incredible cars rarely come up for sale on the open market and we are thrilled to offer such a fine and inviting example.
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