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De Tomaso Guara: The Last Hurrah
De Tomaso carries a mystique that few other automotive brands can match. Although the company soldiers on under Norman Choi of Ideal Team Ventures, the automaker’s guiding force passed away in 2003.

De Tomaso Guara: The Last Hurrah

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The final car developed under the leadership of Alejandro de Tomaso, the Guara follows in the footsteps of the Pantera, a mid-engine sports car that was bankrolled almost entirely with Ford’s money. The suits in Dearborn also helped Alejandro de Tomaso develop the Longchamp grand tourer and Deauville sedan, bankrolling the Modenese outfit for nearly two decades.

Dearborn’s green dollar bills weren’t used to develop the Guara. The charismatic founder of De Tomaso sold his 50-percent stake in Maserati to Fiat in 1993, giving the Turinese automaker complete control of Maserati.

Alejandro talked Fiat into retaining the production rights to the Barchetta, a mid-engine racing car developed specifically for the one-make racing series Grantrofeo Barchetta. The Maserati-badged racecar served as the basis for the De Tomaso Guara, named after a breed of dog rather than a fighting bull (think Lamborghini) or the displacement of each cylinder (think Ferrari).

A direct replacement of the Pantera 90 Si, named this way after the year it was launched and the adoption of electronic fuel injection, the newcomer was penned by Carlo Gaino of Synthesis Design, the gentleman who previously designed the Maserati Barchetta mentioned in the previous paragraph.

Presented in March 1993 at the prestigious Geneva Motor Show in Switzerland, the Guara entered production a year later. Instead of a V8 of American origin, the midship sports car initially used a BMW-developed engine. The M60 naturally-aspirated V8, to be more precise, in M60B40 guise. B40 stands for a displacement of nearly 4.0 liters, and to whom it may concern, this engine was used in many 40i models from the 1990s.

Constructed from lightweight alloy for both the block and heads, the 3,982-cc powerplant features a DOHC valvetrain and Bosch management. Capable of 282 horsepower at 5,800 revolutions per minute and 295 pound-feet (400 Nm) at 4,500 revolutions per minute in 40i models, the M60B40 used in the Guara produces just a little bit over 300 ponies at 5,500 rpm.

Joining a limited-slip differential, the only transmission available at the time was a six-speed manual supplied by Getrag. Customers were offered no fewer than three final drive ratios that affect top speed to a great degree. More specifically, customers had to choose between 118 miles per hour (190 kilometers per hour), 155 mph (250 kph), and 180 mph (290 kph).

From 1998 to 2004, the Italian automaker switched to… wait for it… Ford power. How the turntables, right? In any case, De Tomaso decided on the 4.6-liter Modular V8 because it was considerably more affordable for the struggling firm. Slightly torquier than BMW’s lump, the 4,601-cc engine also develops a tick over 300 horsepower. Be that as it may, both peak horsepower and peak torque are delivered higher in the rev range.

Ford’s V8 is mated to a ZF-supplied manual with six ratios, and these cars also happen to be heavier than the first iteration. From 1,050 kilograms (2,315 pounds) for the Barchetta and 1,200 kilograms (2,646 pounds) for the Coupe, the second iteration gained about 200 kilograms (441 pounds).

The chassis is made from aluminum, and the body panels use a mix of cheap fiberglass, expensive carbon fiber, and tough Kevlar. Under the skin, race-derived inboard pushrod suspension and two anti-roll bars are the highlights. Braking comes courtesy of six-piston calipers from Brembo, and as expected of such a cash-strapped automaker, the brakes are unassisted.

Power steering wasn’t offered either, which makes low-speed maneuvering a bit of a chore. With the help of Bacchelli & Villa, the Italian automaker produced three soft-topped Spiders for well-to-do customers. De Tomaso explored a supercharged option in 2000, based on Ford’s long-running 4.6-liter Modular V8, but as you might’ve guessed by now, it didn’t pan out.

De Tomaso went into liquidation in 2004, a year after the passing of Alejandro de Tomaso. Circa 50 units of the Guara were produced in total.

 
 
 
 
 

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