“A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.”
– George Bernard Shaw
The third of three “original hybrids” in Ultimate Garage 2.0, the De Tomaso Longchamp is one of two cars at the very top of my automotive pyramid.
From top to bottom the photos of the De Tomaso Longchamp are from: carsaddiction.com, autogespot.com (obviously), shannons.com.au and tradeuniquecars.com.au. To me, this might be the best-looking car ever. To answer an anticipated question, I have seen one of these up close—at the AACA Museum in Hershey, PA—and they look even wilder in person.
The exterior was designed by Tom Tjaarda of Ghia. That guy could draw some cars! Jalopnik called him “one of the defining automotive designers of the 20th century.” The Longchamp just seems to have the perfect combination of angles and curves and, of course, it has the long hood/short deck design that very much appeals to me. Also, the almost non-existent A-Pillar adds to the looks although it doesn’t help with safety.
Since only about 400 Longchamps were produced—despite being made for more than 15 years (beginning in 1972)—and since most of them were sold in Europe, I doubt I will ever own one. Still, this is my “Ultimate Garage” so I can dream.
From the Wikipedia article about the Longchamp:
“The Longchamp featured a long and wide hood to accommodate the American power train, i.e. the 351 cubic inch (5,769 cc) Ford Cleveland V8. The 351 Cleveland, a popular and very potent engine in early 1970s Ford “muscle cars,” was the same unit as that used in the Pantera. It produced a minimum of 330 hp and gave the Longchamp an official 240 km/h (149 mph) top speed. After Ford USA stopped manufacturing the 351 Cleveland V8, De Tomaso sourced them from Ford Australia. The standard gearbox was a three-speed Ford C-6 Cruise-o-Matic automatic gearbox, however around 17 cars were equipped with a five-speed ZF manual gearbox. The suspension was independent front and rear with coil spring and wishbone suspension. Steering was power assisted rack and pinion with vented disc brakes all around, the rear discs being positioned inboard.”
So the car was not just a pretty face. This would be my first lottery car no matter what machinations were required to acquire it. Machinations wouldn’t be the only resource needed to acquire one. I have not seen one listed for sale in the US for at least two years. Two Longchamp coupes are currently listed for sale in Europe with a price on Classic Driver, one for about $90,000 and the other for about $97,000. Of course, that does not include the price of shipping, customs, etc.
How can I put a value on this car? It’s interesting to me that my two favorite cars are difficult to value. Arbitrarily I am going to assign a value of $150,000 to the Longchamp. I know, of course, that cost and value are not always the same and the prices on the two Classic Driver cars are consistent with what I have previously seen. However, I think I have to consider the ancillary costs of acquisition. One reason to show values in Ultimate Garage 2.0 is to be able to show a total at the end of the exercise.
What do you think? Actually, and not to be a jerk about it, I’m not sure I care what anyone else thinks about the De Tomaso Longchamp.
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