So I just heard that Leonard Cohen died. That’s a nice little pre-masticated pickle to stab onto the colossal shit hoagie that’s been 2016, isn’t it? With that and all the recent well-discussed bullshit of which we’re all aware, it seems like time for another inspirational trunk to lift our spirits. Ladies and gentlemen, let’s talk about the trunks of the DeTomaso Mangusta.
Did you notice the plural there? Trunks. With an ‘s,’ because, my good friends, I’m talking about multiple trunks. The Mangusta isn’t the only mid-engined car to manage to get multiple trunks (Porsche is very good at this) but what makes the Mangusta special is that its plurality of trunk is a quiet suggestion to all humans that there’s always more that can be achieved, and that opportunities are worth taking.
A bit of background on the Mangusta: built between 1967 and 1971, the Mangusta is, I think, one of the best-looking Italian sportscars ever. Designed by Giugiaro when he was at Ghia, the Mangusta is low, striking, and sleek, with an incredibly rare combination of graceful elegance and a strangely animalistic muscularity.
Oh, and it was named the Mangusta because mangustas are mongooses and mongooses eat cobras. The cobras this mongoose was to feast on were Shelby Cobras, a prey selected because Ford reneged on selling DeTomaso their 289 V8 engines, which were sold instead for use in Cobras.
Let’s get back to the trunks– that’s why we’re here, to look at car trunks and take away inspiration from them. In the case of the Mangusta, a perfectly serviceable front trunk was designed. It was relatively roomy (especially for a low supercar like this) and that could have been the end of it, and it would have been just fine.
But here’s the kicker – that wasn’t just fine for Giugiaro. He designed the rear of the Mangusta to open in a pair of striking wings that gave access to the car’s mid-mounted drivetrain.
He also found space for the gas tank back there, in front of the right rear wheel. The battery went into a compartment behind the left rear wheel.
That left a pair of good sized volumes, one in front of the left rear wheel, one behind the right, that Giugiaro lined with padding and carpet and turned into two more extra trunks! The Mangusta may just be the only car with three separate enclosed storage compartments like this.
The right rear one tended to get used for the jack and tools, but the one on the left absolutely became an extra, decent-sized trunk. And, if you were grabbing your overnight bag out of there, it gave you a great excuse to open one of those dramatic rear wings, because that’s what this is all about, anyway.
So, here’s why the Mangusta trunk inspires me: you don’t have to stop when something’s just good enough. You don’t have to quit at the minimum when you can see there’s more you could do. It inspires me to be the sort of person that sees a couple of volumes of space, just sitting there, and decides not to just ignore them, like so many other designers would, but to carpet the fuck out of them and give someone a reason to open a dramatic door.
I’m not going to lie, there’s a lot of shit going down right now. The fucking Klan is going to be marching right here, in my home state, soon? I grew up here, and I was called kike and Jew-boy and Christ-killer plenty by the kids of dipshits like these in school. I really thought we were past this. So right now, I’m looking at the way Giugiaro went that extra mile and squeezed more trunks in the Mangusta and it’s, weirdly, strengthening my resolve.
I understand the power of cars, in the abstract sense. I know that I have something in common with the wonderful people reading this, and I know many disagree with me politically or whatever, but I also know that, as possibly ridiculous as it sounds, I’m part of a community of people based on the common love of cars, and we accept anyone of any color or gender or religion or whatever, and that is always stronger than a pack of bedwetters in bedsheets who want me gone from my home state.
I’m inspired by the trunks in a DeTomaso Mangusta, and by the community and warmth and intelligence I’ve seen over and over again from you, the collective Jalops, even when we disagree.
So, for that, thank you. You’re my inspirational trunks.