1978, V8 5,7 l, 330PS


Detaillierte Infos  zum DE TOMASO - LONGCHAMP  , Geschichte und Technik

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Geschichte und technische Details zum  DE TOMASO - LONGCHAMP

While the history of the Pantera is well-known to most POCA members, the 
Longchamp and Deauville lurk in the shadows of the DeTomaso limelight and 
thus comparatively little known about them, even by enthusiasts of the marque.
The basic concept for the Longchamp really had its origins when Ford entered 
into the Ghia/DeTomaso business operations. In a recent interview, Tom 
Tjaarda told me, “Lee Iacocca (then a major powerhouse at Ford) came to Ghia 
to lay the groundwork for a design cooperation, and made a very brief but 
important address to the Ghia and DeTomaso executives. He emphasized his 
admiration for European refinement in automotive design, and in particular 
the Mercedes and Jaguar. This was the start for projects like the Deauville 
and Longchamp (the Pantera was already designed and a full-scale plaster 
model constructed.)”

Once the Pantera program got off the ground, DeTomaso was able to turn his 
attention towards rounding out the product line, first with the Deauville (a 
four-seat, four-door sedan similar in concept to the Jaguar XJ-6) in 1972, 
and then the Longchamp in 1973. Noted chassis engineer Dian Paolo Dallera, 
the famed designer of the Lamborghini Miura and Pantera chassis (and one of 
two chassis suppliers to today’s Indy Racing League) was responsible for the 
Deauville and Longchamp chassis design as well. The Longchamp, in fact, 
utilized a shortened Deauville chassis for simplicity and to maximize parts 
commonality across the line.

Vinanzio De Biase, the DeTomaso manager responsible for the Pantera program, 
also managed the Longchamp prototype construction. Since it was conceived as 
a potential production car, the mechanical and body engineers of the Pantera 
program were also involved.

According to Tjaarda, “The Longchamp design process started with DeTomaso, 
who came up with the concept, the type of car he wanted to build. He brought 
a printout of the platform and mechanical layout from his factory in Modena 
and while the platform was being built there, we began creating scale model 
studies. These models were done either in wood or a material called 
epo-wood, which means epoxy with a wood-like consistency, easily worked with 
modeling tools. I was the only designer at Ghia at the time, and thus did 
the exterior and interior as well as the other projects we were working on 
(for Ford) during that period. 

“I and Signor Genta, an engineer draftsman, together provided the input for 
the modelers and prototype builders. We went from sketches to 1:4 scale 
layout drawings needed to make a scale study model, then to full-scale 
drawings, and finally a plaster model. There were three or four experienced 
modelers in the shop, plus a number of talented metalcrafters who worked 
together quickly and well. We were outrageously underpaid, but were very 
prolific, and we enjoyed the work immensely.

“When the final Longchamp design was chosen, a full-size plaster model was 
finalized, and once the completed chassis arrived from Modena, the metal 
prototype was completed in under three months. Such a feat would be amazing 
today, especially for such a small team—to make a running prototype of a 
sedan on a supplied running chassis now usually takes almost a full year; 
this because much more time is spent designing the interiors of vehicles.”

The engine chosen was the 300 hp Ford 351 4-V Cleveland, as used in the 
Pantera. It was mated to the standard Ford C-6 “Cruise-o-Matic” 3-speed 
automatic transmission, although a ZF 5-speed manual was a no-cost option 
(such cars are rare today.) The full dual exhaust system was produced by 

The front suspension was similar to the Pantera’s double-wishbone with 
coil-over shocks, and in fact utilized the Pantera lower control arm, with a 
Longchamp/Deauville-specific upper control arm, and power rack-and-pinion 
steering by Cam Gears U.K., from the Jaguar 420s (itself a rare car.) A 
power steering cooler was standard. The rear suspension was almost identical 
to that of the Jaguar XJ-6. The differential center section was the same as 
the Jaguar’s, sourced from Salisbury in England; a variety of final-drive 
ratios from 2.73 through 4.11 were available, depending upon transmission and 
owner preference. The third member was enclosed in a metal ‘cage’, and from 
it are suspended DeTomaso-designed lower control arms with trailing arms and 
four coil-over shocks, and driveshafts which double as upper control arms; 
these are mated to aluminum cast hubs.

The front brakes were vented discs with massive four-piston calipers, the 
same ones used on the factory Group 3 race Panteras (considerably larger than 
stock Pantera brakes), while the rear discs were mounted inboard alongside 
the differential (as in the Jaguar.) The Bonaldi master cylinder and power 
booster were taken from the Group 4 Pantera as well. The 7x15 Campagnolo 
wheels were cast magnesium and were shared with the Deauville. The original 
tire size was 215/70-15, and either Pirelli or Michelin XWX tires were fitted.

To maximize trunk space, dual 11-gallon tanks are fitted in each rear quarter 
panel, each with its own electric fuel pump located under a trap door in the 
bottom of the trunk. A switch on the dashboard controls which tank feeds the 
engine, and also controls which sending unit powers the fuel gauge (there is 
only one gauge for both tanks.) The tanks are not interconnected, and must 
be filled separately.

At a time when many European luxury cars were still utilizing a separate 
body-on-frame, the Longchamp was a true unit-body design, providing 
considerably more strength and integrity than many contemporary designs. The 
body in white was constructed by the Golden Car Company in Caramagna, just 
outside of Turin, and then trucked to the Ghia facility for assembly. 

To help contain costs, existing components were used whenever possible, 
especially in the interior. All gauges, switches, exterior door handles, 
taillights, the fuse box, and a variety of other small parts were identical 
with those of the Pantera. The headlights were Lucas, sourced from the 
European Ford Granada. Some cars were converted to twin square headlights 
(Amerisport in Wisconsin produced a conversion kit to enable the cars to meet 
existing U.S. regulations), while others received less-attractive dual round 

The tilt steering column came from the Lincoln Continental, and the floor 
shifter was lifted directly from the Mustang. The original steering wheel 
was sourced from Ford’s European parts bin as well, and as in the case of the 
Pantera, gave a somewhat cheap appearance to an otherwise tidy driving 
compartment. The seats were covered entirely in leather, or a a suede-style 
cloth insert was available as an option. The dashboard was molded plastic, 
constructed in the same fashion as the Pantera L dashboard. Air conditioning 
and power windows were standard.
The body was exceptionally low and wide, at 72.5 inches wide and just 50.8 
inches tall. The car was 178 inches long, riding on a 102-inch wheelbase 
with a 60-inch track front and rear. The Longchamp’s weight was 
approximately 3,800 pounds, while the advertised maximum speed was 240 km/h 
(about 145 mph), although of course actual top speed would be affected by the 
rear end ratio chosen.

The car was well-received initially, and got favorable write-ups in the 
automotive press, although the usual caveats regarding the ‘lump of Detroit 
iron’ under the hood were always issued by European journalists. The chassis 
was considered exceptional, certainly on a par with the Mercedes 450 (which 
was designed in parallel, and contrary to popular opinion did not influence 
the Longchamp’s design.) For reasons unknown (but perhaps due to the 
Pantera’s initial quality problems and mixed reception in the U.S.), Ford 
quickly scrapped their plans for importing the Longchamp. As all the design 
and tooling had already been paid for, however, DeTomaso continued to build 
and sell them in miniscule numbers for thirteen years.
The prototype Longchamp was the only Series 1000 car produced; all further 
cars were considered 2000-series, until some major engineering changes took 
place in 1979. Subsequent cars are referred to as 3000-series cars. Among 
other changes, the engine and transmission were set back in the chassis about 
four inches for better weight distribution, the front shock towers were 
changed slightly, and the Cam Gears steering rack was replaced with a ZF 
unit. The rear trailing link changed slightly as well. Much larger bumpers 
were fitted front and rear beginning in the summer of 1980, increasing both 
length and weight somewhat.

As these were very much hand-built cars, smaller transitional design changes 
were phased in gradually during the course of Longchamp production, not 
necessarily corresponding to the 2000- or 3000-series. The Veglia analog 
clock was replaced with a red LED digital clock, as in the Pantera GT5. The 
heater/air conditioning controls were changed from slide levers to DeTomaso 
logo-embossed twist knobs, and the last few cars came with the Maserati 
BiTurbo climate control system, requiring a hump in the firewall for 
clearance. The front and rear seats gained headrests (sometimes retrofitted 
to early cars), and later cars had electric outside mirrors. A 
Maserati-style interior became standard in 1981, featuring ‘crushed’ leather 
in the doors and walnut in the dashboard. The pure mechanical trunk latch 
was replaced with an electric solenoid-operated latch, similar to period 
Cadillacs, enabling the trunk to be opened from inside the car with the push 
of a button. The exhaust system was changed several times; the original 
system was a conventional dual exhaust with upswept tailpipes, but this led 
to a problem of exhaust fumes entering the cabin when driving with the 
windows down, so the later system’s pipes exited straight out the rear. The 
third exhaust featured a third crossover muffler to quiet the cars enough to 
meet ever-increasing noise regulations, and was only found on the latest cars.

Late in the Longchamp’s production life, DeTomaso added some pizazz to the 
car by creating a GTS variant. The basic Longchamp was fitted with glued-on 
fiberglass flares, and the 7x15 wheels were replaced with Pantera Campagnolo 
wheels sized 8x15 in front and 10x15 in the rear, fitted with 225/50 and 
285/50 Pirelli P-7 tires. The rear springs were made slightly stiffer, and 
stouter valve springs were fitted to allow a nominal 10 horsepower increase.

In 1981, a factory-produced Longchamp Spyder became available, although this 
was an extremely expensive option. If a customer ordered a Spyder, DeTomaso 
would ship a partially-competed Longchamp to carrozzeria Pavesi in Milan, 
where the roof would be removed, additional bracing added to the chassis, and 
a convertible top installed. Several existing Longchamps were returned to 
the factory for this conversion; thus, there is at least one ‘factory’ 1973 
Spyder on the road. 

Production numbers are somewhat fuzzy, but the DeTomaso factory claims a 
total of 412 Longchamps were built, with close to 300 of them being the early 
2000-series. Opinions differ on exact numbers, but generally it’s believed 
about 24 cars were produced in GTS trim, perhaps 16 or 17 Spyders were made, 
and of those, sources seem to agree exactly three were GTS Spyders (a few 
standard Longchamps were later converted to GTS or Spyder spec, or both, by 
the factory; others were converted by a variety of ‘chop-shops’ and these 
conversions can vary greatly in quality.) Longchamp production began in 1973 
and ended in 1986, although some cars may be called 1987’s or even later, 
depending upon when and in which country they were titled.

Parts availability for the Longchamp is surprisingly high. They can be 
economical to run, particularly as the major drivetrain components are either 
mass-produced Ford or Jaguar items. Furthermore, Longchamp-specific parts 
still clutter factory warehouses, good news in the event of an accident. Not 
so good, however, are the prices on these parts; for example, a front fender 
currently retails for somewhere in the neighborhood of $5,000 (!)