1971 De Tomaso Mangusta 8MA1294. One of the last Mangustas built, this car was raced extensively in the 80s & 90s by Freddie Moss with great success. Later it was detuned and used as a road car retaining its full roll cage.
I was asked to retrim the interior and fabricate all the missing bits. Along the way I changed a few things in an effort to improve the quality of the interior as a whole. My overall aim, however, was to make any such improvements/modifications appear original, or at least in keeping with the era of the car. This car now resides in Hong Kong.
1971 De Tomaso Mangusta 8MA1294 in its racing days.
1971 De Tomaso Mangusta 8MA1294 in its racing days.
1971 De Tomaso Mangusta 8MA1294 in its racing days.
The car had already been retrimmed once, many years ago.
The ignition switch only has two positions - on or off, with no sprung starter position. The button next to it cranks the engine. I think this might be original to right hand drive cars, but I'm not sure. I would like to hear opinions from other RHD car owners.
Dash top. Notice the 'safety' rubber strip sitting on top of the spot welded lip, not over it. Always wear your seat belt!
In order that I could maintain a consistent thickness for my 'French seam', I made the corners of the dash top thicker by adding extra metal.
Finished. The ends are now the same thickness as the rest of the dash top. I chose to replace the rubber with pine because I would not be able to glue my French seam to the rubber and maintain consistency.
Filled, sanded, etch-primed.
These corners are very difficult to sew because it's such a tight bend.
The lower part of the dash was originally a rounded piece of foam. I remade it in pine and then changed the shape where it wraps around the sides. It now goes straight down for 30mm before it starts to curve underneath.
I didn't like the way the leather stopped and started either side of the steering column, so I welded in an extra piece of steel to carry the leather over the column to the other side.
I also had to modify the bit above it.
I am very pleased with the results on this part.
I did the opposite to De Tomaso - I put the Alcantara in the centre of the dash and the leather on top (like my Pantera). Taz may not be able to see anything out of the windscreen due to reflections, but it looks great!
I added material to the edges of the glove box lid to make the gap smaller.
I made the polished bezels for the ignition switch and starter button on my lathe. This is very easy to do and makes a huge difference to the finished dash. Every man should own a lathe.
I used black Alcantara inside the glove box lid. The chrome had rubbed off the dash vents after 40 years of use, so I had them metallised. It's very much like chrome but more suitable for plastic. This alone cost £80!
Me. Inspecting the quality from the inside…
The original Mangusta arm rest which was carved from wood. I had to make repairs because they were split in several places.
I cut new door cards out of hardboard and then added extra panel clips at the sides. This was because I did not want to have the screws going though the leather like they did on the original car, as they look tacky.
Extra metal added to the end of door cap to make the fit right.
Door card trim.
Finished door card.
The centre console had large chunks missing.
I repaired this crack with sheet metal and countersunk aircraft rivets.
I decided to extend the skirt so that it would sit down over the ribs on the floor. This makes it easier to create perfect carpets.
The bulkhead panels were missing - I think they were originally made from hardboard. I decided to remake them in steel as it meant I could weld threaded studs on to hold the assembly together properly.
On the original bulkhead, these gull wing release handles just looked unfinished sitting there on top of the panel. To get around this, I created a special compartment for the handle to sit in.
I also used Alcantara on the bulkhead panels and head lining. The quilted effect was often used on Bizzarrini and Iso cars of the period.
The kick panels were missing, so I fabricated these as replacements.
I thought I was a good trimmer until I met the Mangusta seat. This must be the most difficult design ever made because the cover is all in one piece and fitted inside out. By comparison, Pantera seats are a piece of cake!
The original foam in the Mangusta seats was moulded on a machine with air pockets. This had turned to a bread-like dust after 40 years.
The De Tomaso factory made a mistake when they trimmed the 'Goose seats in not putting an edging trim along the sharp edge of the fibreglass base. The stresses imposed by people getting in and out of the car soon results in it cutting through the foam. Once that happens, the seat cover loses its tension, which looks awful. I have therefore added extra internal padding to prevent this happening.
The moulded foam for the 'Goose seats is not available. I had to cut it from solid blocks with an electric carving knife and sand it to shape with various sanders. It took ages…
I fabricated this metal-cutting bandsaw a few years ago and have used it every day since. With its 36-inch throat it also cuts foam!
Seat cover pleats - sewn not glued.
Steel rods sewn into lining as per the original. I use cable ties rather than the original string, however.
Finished seats. I was careful not to use too much foam because I didn't want them to look too bulky.
Seat runners - these needed work.
After fixing the various bits, I had them zinc plated and then made bespoke aluminium knobs on the lathe.
Alcantara head lining.
Leather glued onto the inner roof frames.
The storage tray and binnacle for the radio were missing. I therefore had to come up with my own design which I fabricated from 20-gauge steel.
I bought a stainless Mangusta badge from Larry Stock at PPC. These are cut with a water jet.
After one hour with the Dremel and metal polish I softened all the edges and it came up like chrome.
I repositioned the shifter housing because it was not square with the console. I had to weld in new metal then drill and tap it. The correct position was half way over the original holes… Dammit!
The shifter surround was also missing, so I made a replacement from steel.
I changed the shape of this part to make the chrome H gate more visible from the side when looking into the car from outside.
This is all that remained of the ash tray. The chrome bezel had clearly been lost at some stage and someone had tried to make a replacement from bits of plastic picture frame!
I could have had the original sliding door handle re-chromed, but I decided it would be nicer to make one from aluminium and polish it.
I tried to find an original ash tray bezel but couldn't at the time, so again I made one from aluminium and polished it.
I also polished the stainless door and made a tray to go inside.
The hole in the centre console that the ash tray pokes through was not straight. I added extra sheet metal from underneath and welded studs on.
I made the door lock bezels on the lathe and then polished them. This really improves the look of the door cap.
I rebuilt all the instruments. I started by fitting extra bulbs inside to make them bright enough to be legible at night. I added two extra to the speedo and tach, I also punched ventilation holes in the housings to prevent them fogging up on cold mornings.
Strategically-placed 3M aluminium tape. The clock faces on the standard car were horribly dim - this modification alone doubles their brightness. Both the speedo and tach needed to have new glasses fitted because at some stage in the past a cack-handed gorilla had scratched the originals while trying to rub down the bezel!
I also punched holes in the face of the smaller dials to let more light through from the back. This made a big difference and is not visible when the bezel is refitted.
Glass paint. I use incandescent bulbs because I don't like the cold light produced by LEDs.
The dim lighting of the original clocks. Very hard to read.
After modifications. They don't look quite this bright in the car. It's the camera!
Small dial before modification.
It's relatively easy to remove the bezels from the speedo and tach, but much harder with the smaller dials as they are made from very thin aluminium and then crimped all the way around like a jam jar. It is possible to get them off without destroying them, but it is very time consuming process. Now I know why all instrument repair shops fix everything except Veglia! I found that Lucas bezels are exactly the same size, however, they are not quite the same profile. After close examination, I decided that they were near enough though. The Lucas bezels are readily available brand new for £5 each - but only in a chrome finish. While they also have the 3 little tabs to bend over - making them easier to fit, I still made a jig to hold the clock while I taped the tabs down. I have never worked on a small dial from a Pantera - I wonder if they are also crimped all the way around?
I made all the carpets from cardboard templates and then bound them in leather.
I filled in between the ribs on the floor with Plastazote - the stuff they make camping mats from.
This ally ring is original, but should be behind the carpet. I put it on top because it looks better.
I bought the rubber mat from Wilkinson - it's for a Pantera, so I had to cut it down to make it fit.
I cut and bound new carpets for the rear arches, petrol tank, luggage area and front trunk.
I bolted plates under the floor so that I could relocate the seat belt mounts.
I found some belts in exactly the right colour. I had to shorten them by 500mm, however, because they would not retract far enough.
Now you can see what I was trying to achieve with the gull wing release handles!
Hidden behind the bulkhead panels are smaller independent emergency cables to release the rear gull wings. This modification had already been done when the car came to me. All Mangusta owners should do this!
I had to install two extra bulbs in the radio to make it glow like this. The light below illuminates the 'Goose badge. I am very pleased with this bit. The carpets on either side are held in with Velcro and the radio holder is held in with two screws and two bolts. Nice and easy to remove.
I repainted the steering column and the rear view mirror.
My kick plate goes all the way up the side of the dash. The original one stopped half way and left an unsightly gap.
This can't be Italian - there are no pipes and wires hanging down!
Beautiful Ferrero steering wheel unique to Mangusta. Made from stainless steel!
The end, Johnny Woods.