What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to today’s Nice Price or Crack Pipe Mangusta not much as it was a De Tomaso, Qvale and even an MG. We’ll just see if this silver snake killer can have you naming your own price.
Imagine if you will a date with someone you met on Tinder where you’re both enjoying a rather pricy meal—for which you plan on paying—and your date is rattling off a litany of personal life goals. Those include overcoming orgasm-induced incontinence, use of the word “totes” when not referring to carry-on baggage, and werewolfism. It’s at that point you realize that you might want to skip dessert.
That’s kind of how things went for yesterday’s heavily modded 1999 Subaru RS coupe. Sure, it was a car that many of us could get behind—I mean, who doesn’t love gold wheels on a metallic blue car?—and we all appreciated the seller’s forthrightness in describing the car’s flaws. Still, for what was being asked for the car, it was generally thought that many of those finicky foibles should have first been fixed. The end result was a hefty 78 percent Crack Pipe loss.
I’d like you to pronounce something for me, okay? Here it is: Qvale. Did you pronounce it Kuh-vall-aye? If so, good on you. If you threw in a little double thumbs up Fonzi finish on the “aye” at then end then you get double points. Kjell Qvale was the West Coast’s Max Hoffman, only with a penchant for British cars rather than German. Qvale imported Jaguars to America, was instrumental in the birth of the Jensen Healey, was possibly the Zodiac Killer, and as such things do happen, sold a car under his own name.
Today’s 2001 Qvale Mangusta is one of the 284 or so cars to carry that name, although that wasn’t the initial intent. Originally, Qvale was only the financial support for the car during its development. It was intended to be marketed as a DeTomaso, bringing that famous name back from the near dead (literally, as Alejandro DeTomaso had recently suffered a stroke).
It ended up as a Qvale when he and DeTomaso had a falling out, which everyone who did business with the mercurial Argentinian eventually did. The cars didn’t just have one name change however, after slow sales and rising tides of red ink closed Qvale’s doors, he sold the rights and the tooling to the then owners of MG (of which Kjell’s son Bruce Qvale was one), and the Mangusta was reborn (or perhaps stillborn) as the XPower SV.
Before then however, there was the Mangusta, named for its legendary DeTomaso predecessor which itself was named for the animal that killed Cobras. The body of the Qvale edition was penned by Marcello Gandini and was made out of Resin Transfer Molding plastic that had its resin transferred over in France. That funky bunch of a body overlaid a stout, purpose-built steel chassis with double wishbone suspension at each corner and a whole lot of Ford parts in between.
This sliver over black edition comes with 91,000 miles on the clock and a clean title. The Mangusta was officially imported into the U.S. so registration shouldn’t be an issue anywhere.
Powering the car is a 320-bhp 4.6-litre Ford SVT V8, backed up by a BorgWarner T45 five speed stick. That stick sits just below a dash that’s likely eerily familiar to you as it’s basically that of the S95 Ford Mustang fancied up a bit with some leather and trim. That all looks okay, and of course parts availability shouldn’t cause headaches since most of them are standard Ford.
This isn’t just a tarted up Mustang however. It has back seats that are so small only rich people can afford to dismiss their intended function. Above that is a three-position top (closed, targa, open) that pays tribute to the Mangusta’s titular inspiration, the TVR Griffith.
Does that top leak? Does the A/C still work? Are the Brembo brakes still Bremboeing? Who knows? Apparently the dealer selling the car was too busy trying to locate the caps lock key that they weren’t able to offer much in the way of description for the car in its ad. They do say it’s all original, and we can see in the pics some wear and tear here and there on all those original parts. One wheel is missing its cap, which should be a hassle to replace, but other than that, it all looks perfectly serviceable, if not as tidy and clean (look at that engine bay) as you might like.
That means you might want to include a little spit and polish in the calculation of how much you might pay for this engaging Italian with the naming history that will make you a ready conversationalist at parties. That should also include the $19,990 that the seller says is their firm asking.
What do you think, is this Qvale worth that? Or, is this a Mangusta that seriously needs to name a new price?
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