Rare Rides: A Very Rare De Tomaso Longchamp From 1979

Corey Lewis
by Corey Lewis
rare rides a very rare de tomaso longchamp from 1979

The De Tomaso name keeps surfacing in the Rare Rides series, almost as often as BMW. The honorary first mention came via the Chrysler TC by Maserati, followed by the Qvale Mangusta that initially bore the De Tomaso name. Most recently, we featured the Maserati Ghibli, which was the very last new Maserati presented by the man himself, De Tomaso.

Today we step back in time, back to an era before any of those aforementioned Rare Rides were ever considered. Let’s have a look at the very luxurious De Tomaso Longchamp.

Race car driver Alejandro De Tomaso was just 31 years old when he founded the car company bearing his last name. By 1963 the company had a sports car on the road, following up with cars of various underpinnings and intent. Not satisfied with keeping to the sports car segment, De Tomaso set his eyes on the luxury coupe customer. Enter the Longchamp.

Derived from the Deaville sedan De Tomaso already produced, the Longchamp used a shorter chassis but shared its engine, transmission, and suspension components. That meant under hood was a 351 Cleveland V8 from Ford (5.8L), and either a three-speed Ford automatic or five-speed ZF-produced manual. In the front, lamps were sourced from the Euro-market Ford Granada, and the Alfa Romeo 2000 provided the lights at the rear — which your author recognized as the same as on the Monteverdi 375/4.

With his idea for a grand touring luxury coupe now well-formed, De Tomaso turned to legendary Detroit-born designer Tom Tjaarda for exterior design. Tjaarda made a long-term name for himself with his work at both Pininfarina and Ghia. After working on the Longchamp, he’d go on to do smaller design projects like the Chrysler LeBaron, Chrysler Imperial, Saab 900, and the interior of the Lamborghini Diablo.

The Longchamp was introduced at the Turin Motor Show in 1972 and went into production in 1973. Typical of a smaller and more hand-built manufacturer, the production run for the Longchamp was a long one. No updates occurred until the 1980 series two version, which continued with only minor alterations through 1989.

In addition to the standard coupe, convertible and sporty GTS coupe configurations were introduced into the fold. This particular 1979 example was sent from Germany back to Italy in 1990, where it was engineered once more at the De Tomaso factory. Extensive changes turned the standard car into a GTS coupe. It now features the Campagnolo wheels, an automatic transmission breathed upon by Shelby, and a tuned engine with an output of 365 horsepower. De Tomaso himself signed the headrest while it in was there for surgery.

In all those years, just 395 Longchamp coupes emerged from the factory, making the $126,000 ask for this unique example seem not so bad. It perhaps goes without saying, but every model the company manufactured is eligible for a Rare Rides story. More to come.

[Images: seller]

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2 of 32 comments
  • WildcatMatt WildcatMatt on Oct 29, 2018

    This looks like a Ferrari 400 with a grille.

  • Cognoscenti Cognoscenti on Oct 29, 2018

    Wow, I just love this. The proportions, the greenhouse, the 351C - it just needs the ZF 5-speed. I'm delighted to see a car I did not know on TTAC today. Honestly, I'm surprised that I did not know of the Longchamp's existence, as I have driving time in my old friend's 1971 DeTomaso Pantera and we've discussed the history of that company more than once. BTW, that car (the Pantera) was not actually very much fun. Quirky handling and poor ergonomics, for starters.

  • Dwford 100% charge at home.
  • El scotto Another year the Nissan Rogue is safe.
  • John R 4,140 lbs...oof. A quick google of two cars I'm familiar with:2017 Ford Fusion Sport - AWD, twin-turbo 2.7 V6 (325 horsepower and 380 lb-ft of torque)3,681 lbs2006 Dodge Charger RT - RWD, naturally aspirated 5.7 V8 (340 horsepower and 390 lb. -ft. of torque)4,031 lbs
  • FreedMike Ford "Powershudder" DCT? Hard pass...with extreme prejudice. The only people who liked these were the class-action lawyers. With a manual, it'd be a different story.
  • Cprescott I blow on a pinwheel....