DD Classics

1974 De Tomaso Longchamp GTS Coupe

£79,950 | Location: United Kingdom

Introduced at the 1972 Turin Motor Show, the Longchamp was the last model ever made by the De Tomaso-Ghia-Ford collaboration. A luxury, sporty 2-door 2+2 coupe; (some say a re-naming of the moth-balled Zonda prototype;) it was De Tomaso’s reply to the Mercedes-Benz 450 SLC.

As with the Zonda, the Longchamp was built on a shortened version of the Deauville chassis, making it a lighter, coupe version of the sedan. The styling of the vehicle was pre-dated by an earlier prototype from Tom Tjaarda, the Ghia Marica, but whilst the design was similar, De Tomaso had wanted the Longchamp to resemble the Mercedes as much as possible.

Production of Series 1 began in 1973. A three-speed Ford automatic transmission was initially the only offering, however approximately 17 cars were built featuring a ZF 5-speed manual transmission. The Longchamp had power-assisted rack-and-pinion steering and employed essentially the same suspension set-up as the Deauville; fully independent, with inboard, vented disc-brakes and dual shock absorbers at the rear. These combined to allow confident handling and an exceptionally stable and comfortable ride.

The coupe’s interior was trimmed in period materials: full leather was an option, including the seats, door panels, dashboard and console areas. Electric windows and a tilt steering column were also included, as were dual fuel tanks and fuel pumps.

At the 1980 Turin Motor Show De Tomaso presented a Series 2 version of the car called the Longchamp GTS; essentially a Longchamp with (European Pantera GT5) Campagnolo wheels and fibre-glass, flared wheel arches. The suspension was modified to cope with the wider Pirelli P7 tyres, resulting in an improvement in cornering power. A Longchamp cabriolet ‘Spyder’ variant also appeared at the show, made by Carrozerria Pavesi of Milan.

Later in the eighties a further update appeared, the GTSE. This was the top-of-the-line version, recognisable by its twin square headlights, side skirts and ruched leather-trimmed seats and door panels.

Approximately 410 Longchamps were built in all with only 16 produced as convertibles, although Pavesi converted some customer cars to Spyder specification. A few of these were also GTS models and even fewer GTSE models, making the Longchamp GTSE Spyder an exceptionally rare and desirable machine. Although sold until 1989, it is suggested in some quarters that the final Longchamps were produced in 1986; the reality is that both ideas are correct – a batch of bodyshells was produced, probably around 1986, and stocked at the factory to be completed to customer order, with the final cars leaving the factory in 1989/90.

European delivered new and first registered 23rd November 1974, making our car one of the first 300 cars, it is finished in Anthracite metallic coachwork with Nero hide and a factory fitted 3-speed automatic gearbox. By 1981 the Longchamp was acquired by internationally renowned Le Mans race ‘ace’ Claude Dubois: it was during Mr. Dubois’ ownership that the car was sent back to the factory in Modena to be uprated to GTS specification (invoice for works on file.) The pizzazz of the GTS variant included, among other things: fitment of flared wheel arches, larger Campagnolo Pantera-style wheels and replacement, stiffer rear springs.

This particular example #02067 is well known to DD Classics, we had the privilege of selling the car some 5 years ago to its last lucky owner, where it formed part of significant car collection.

Having had many of these iconic cars over the last 40 years, this Longchamp is possible one of the best-driving examples available.

Complete with a wealth of invoices, original owner-driver handbook and factory supplied car brochure.

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