The Carchive: The DeTomaso Guara

20140825_124523 Back in the dim, distant days of July this year, Finnish HooniHero Antti Kautenen covered the DeTomaso Pantera in its original form. Since then I’ve been determined to continue the DeTomaso theme and finally, this week, it’s happening. I just knew that what I was looking for lurked in The Carchive somewhere. So I contacted the Royal Navy and was granted the use of a three-man mini-submersible which I used to plumb the depths of the third and deepest of the Carchive Caves, now badly flooded. After a four day battle against poor visibility and unpredictable surface conditions, I returned to the surface with two brochures from the Late DeTomaso Era. The first one of which, for the Guara, is thoroughly disappointing. This is a slim document indeed, and it doesn’t go into much detail. In fact, aside from its relative obscurity, I’d rank it among the worst brochures of all time. 20140825_124544 “New technical values combined with a classic design concentrating around the driver’s seat. De Tomaso cars real core. That’s there. Where all emotions gather” The Guara had all the underlying ingredients to be a real winner. The chassis was derived from the abortive Maserati Barchetta (click here for a superb study of its history by Andy Heywood) track-day car of the early 90’s, and as such shared its track-bred wishbone and pushrod suspension, together with a backbone from which the bodywork would be suspended. Carlo Gaino of Synthesis Design, who created the Barchetta was also responsible for turning it into the (theoretically) far more marketable DeTomaso Guara. It’s semi-racer origins led to two things- a complete lack of any luggage space as a detractor, but looking pretty damn cool as an obvious plus. Initially the Guara was powered by BMW’s M60 V8 (in 4.0 capacity) as found in the E34 540i, and there were other souvenirs from the German concern dotted around the interior of the car to remind you. The name, Guara was incidentally that of a large South American wild dog, which links nicely with the Cobra-eating Mongoose Mangusta lineage that went before. Oh, and after, as we shall see soon. 20140825_124625 “An overall feeling of reliability rendering Guara a product defined in any detail and its new engine will deliver its core, the driver, new and greater pleasures” Hands up who found any sense in the above? Great stuff. I’ve corrected the punctuation on DeTomaso’s behalf. That “New” engine, incidentally, was Ford’s “Modular” V8, in traditional 4.6 litre capacity but with a reported output (it says here) of 375hp, enough for 4.7 seconds to 62mph and an absolute max of 178mph, and that’s it for technical data from within this brochure, or pamphlet. Heading over to The Internet reveals that plans for the Guara were rather more grandoise. Other sources cite the Ford engine as really being of 320hp, the 375 mentioned here referring to a proposed supercharged version that ultimately came to nothing. 430 horsepower was supposed to have been available at some point, too, but since it never happened they might as well have said three thousand. This brochure, in nominally English, carries no date but I guess it came from around ’99, a particularly uncertain time in DeTomaso’s history. What next for the formerly great Italian marque? Well, production of late DeTomaso models was sporadic to say the least, with the Guara reputedly still being available right up to 2004, but it’s very possible that that date simply refers to a car built in ’99 finally finding a home five years later. Anyway, more of this murky world in Thursday’s instalment. Stay Tuned. (Disclaimer: All images are of original manufacturer publicity materials, photographed by me. Copyright remains property of, well, I dunno, Qvale? DeTomaso? Ford? No idea. Let us know if it’s you. Actually, let us know if you own one of these things. Better still, toss me the keys. Thanks.)

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