The central spine chassis layout first seen on the Vallelunga was expanded for the dimensions of a larger automobile (166 inches long on a 97.5 inch wheelbase). A race-inspired alloy V-8 engine was under development for the Mangusta, though production versions employed a cast iron Ford engine, either 4.7 liter (289 cu. in.) for European spec machines, or 5.0 liter(302 cu. in.) V-8s for cars constructed for the United States market. These powerplant provided solid acceleration and performance, then and now. Both engines were backed by a ZF 5-speed transaxle with limited slip differential. The suspension is fully independent, brakes are 4-wheel power disc, and each corner carries a cast magnesium wheel by Campagnolo.
Giorgetto Giugiaro designed the Mangusta’s flowing shape, and body fabrication was again handled by Ghia of Turin. One of the more interesting aspects of the design is the center-hinged "gullwing" doors for the engine compartment and rear storage areas. The rear glass area tapers nearly flat to the roofline. Early production models featured dual fixed headlights in the front grill area, and later units had a single 7" retractable headlamp. Body panels are steel, and a Mangusta’s approximate weight is 3100 pounds.
Inside, the Mangusta has comfortable leather seats, standard air conditioning, power window lifts and a full compliment of instrumentation. All production Mangustas are closed gran turisimo coupes, though one open car, the red and white Mangusta Spyder prototype, was built in 1967. It was also styled by Giugiaro, and first shown at the Turin Auto show, but was not put into series production.
The De Tomaso Mangusta has been hailed by many automotive stylists and journalists as one of the all-time great mid-engine GT designs; it is a significant piece of the company’s early history, and a highly collectible yet still drivable machine.