eBay and Craigslist are the best places to look at cars you have no intention of buying.   This is a good thing, because many of the cars are hiding more problems than you could ever afford to fix, and some even have stolen VIN tags.   Occasionally, there are some interesting finds, and today we are focusing on four cars representing the life of the de Tomaso brand.

de Tomaso Automobili SpA is an Italian car company founded in 1959 by Alejandro de Tomaso and is the product of another race car driver who wanted to build cars.  Over the years, the company purchased the Ghia and Vignale design studios, the car makers Maserati and Innocenti, and the Benelli and Moto Guzzi motorcycle brands.  De Tomaso also partnered with Ford to create the popular Pantera, and Qvale for the Qvale Mangusta.

De Tomaso suffered from a long history of marriages that went bad and was responsible for more than its share of atrocious cars.  A look back over the years will bring up embarrassments like the Biturbo, a car that ruined the Maserati name, Shamal and Ghibli II, which were desperate redo’s of the Biturbo, the obscene Chrysler TC Maserati and the hideous Dodge 024 de Tomaso.

Today, however, things are much better.  Maserati is again producing cars that live up to its heritage and de Tomaso was recently purchased by a former Fiat executive with plans to bring back the marque.   So, on that happy note here are my four picks of the week:

1969 de Tomaso Mangusta

Known more for its design than its quality, this Mangusta is one of 401 made and about 200 left on the roads.  This car is completely restored and is fitted with a new 302 cubic inch racing motor.  Everything on this car looks perfect and can be yours for about $55,000.

1972 de Tomaso Longchamp

Built as a coupe version of the Deauville, which was aimed at the Jaguar XJ series, it sports another Ford V8 and is one of only 395 coupes produced from 1974 to 1989.  It was a true Grand Touring car, rare but unpopular, and styled somewhere between a Mercedes and a Lancia.

1973 de Tomaso GTS Pantera

This was the George Clooney of the family.  Anyone with money who wanted an Italian car with American muscle bought a Pantera, and for much less than a Ferrari or Lamborghini.  Ford V8 power, Ghia wedge design and sold through Ford, some 6 thousand plus were made until 1993.  Later examples started to lose their Italian looks, becoming more like Batman rejects and shark-nosed kit cars.   This was the car of rock stars and rich delinquents and eBay is loaded with both good and bad examples.  This particular one is fully restored and for sale at 65,000.

1996 de Tomaso Guara

This is the car that replaced the Pantera, and the last project of founder Alejandro de Tomaso.  One of only 50 in the world and powered by a Cobra 4.6 liter V8, this car is the last of the breed.  Based on the Maserati Barchetta, it has a true formula one Indy car suspension, the looks of a squashed Mazda, and is offered at 100,000 dollars.

Article Courtesy of Chris Raymond