At the 1996 Geneva Motorshow DeTomaso unveiled the Bigua, a brand new concept car. Its lines were penned by Marcello Gandini, of Lamborghini Countach and Diablo fame. Former F1-engineer Enrique Scalabroni was responsible for the box-type frame chassis. The Bigua hit the road in production form less than two years after its show debut. The production car was named after one of DeTomaso's most beautiful cars, the Mangusta.
Financial difficulties forced DeTomaso to sell the production rights of the Mangusta to Qvale of the USA. Virtually unchanged from the DeTomaso, the Qvale Mangusta made its debut in 2000. The body was produced in Modena, Italy, with the rest of the car being completed in the USA, mostly with Ford bits and pieces. The V8 engine was the most prominent Ford part installed in the Mangusta. Producing 320 bhp, it was very similar to the V8 used in the contemporary Mustang Cobra.
One of the Mangusta's most interesting features was its variable 'Rototop' roof construction. The roof centre section can be removed and stored in the boot, creating a targa. The metamorphosis from coupe to convertible is completed when the powered rear section is completely retracted. Every thinkable luxury option was fitted as standard in the Mangusta, including a Maserati-esque centre-console clock.
Production of the steaply priced Mangusta lasted just two years, with 276 cars completed. Of these 276, just 18 were allocated to Europe, of which the featured s/n '051' is one. The Mangusta rights were sold once more, this time to MG/Rover, forming the base of the MG XPower SV supercar.
I've seen this car in person. It was so ugly that I turned down an offer to try it at a track. Now that the Maserati Spider is available, why would any one buy this? The Maser is just a little more dollars but is a whole lot more car. For the 80K that Qvale wants, there are much better buys out there. I've also read road tests on it which show that it is not nearly as fast as claimed. The Maserati outperforms it in all categories. If you must have a quirky, unusual convertible, look into a Panoz Esperante or Shelby Series one.
Country of origin
2000 - 2001
Ford Cobra SVT 90º V8
Front, longitudinally mounted
cast-aluminium block and head
4.601 liter / 280.8 cu in
Bore / Stroke
90.2 mm (3.6 in) / 90.0 mm (3.5 in)
4 valves / cylinder, DOHC
320 bhp / 239 KW
@ 6000 rpm
426 Nm / 314 ft lbs
@ 4800 rpm
70 bhp / liter
box-type steel frame
double wishbones, coil springs over dampers, anti-roll bar
rack-and-pinion, power assisted
Brembo ventilated discs, all-round
Borg Warner T45 5 speed Manual
Rear wheel drive
1520 kilo / 3351 lbs
Length / Width / Height
4194 mm (165.1 in) / 1900 mm (74.8 in) / 1316 mm (51.8 in)
Wheelbase / Track (fr/r)
2670 mm (105.1 in) / 1590 mm (62.6 in) / 1580 mm (62.2 in)