There once was a man from Argentina.
No, that’s not the first line of a dirty limerick; I speak of one Alejandro De Tomaso; a car guy through and through.
After relocating to Italy (due to a kerfuffle involving his association to an attempted government overthrow...don’t you hate when that happens?), he went on to have an impressive automotive career; eventually being well known for his Mangusta and Pantera which both featured “Italian skin over American muscle” - which coincidentally was the subject line of the last email I got from Elton John.
And yes, I opened it.
And yes, I quickly closed it.
Alejandro went from race driver to auto entrepreneur; eventually owning several build and design firms like Maserati, Ghia, Innocenti, and Motoguzzi. He owned Maserati in the late 80’s/early 90’s and during that period he created the Maserati Barchetta:
A limited production, mid-engined (twin-turbo V6), track-only car with no windshield, no roof, and a peak height of 36”. By all accounts it was a well done track car which offered very good performance for the time. He decided to make a Stradale (street) version of the car (because super maintenance intensive race cars with no windshields make AWESOME consumer cars; do they not?!); but by the time Maserati was taken over by Fiat...surprise…the Barchetta Stradale died.
And yet…the Barchetta Stradale lived on in the form of an even LESSER-known car called the De Tomaso Guara!
Ah what a name…”Guara”. It sounds like something only penicillin can clear up; but according to the googles, it really refers to a bird. Or a flower. Or possibly a place in Brazil that was named after a bird. Or a flower.
The Guara was a Barchetta Stradale with a windshield, a roof, and a more reliable drivetrain. It initially featured a 4 liter BMW 32 valve V8 mated to a 6 speed transmission. Not bad for a ~2,600 lb car today let alone 1993. After several years, De Tomaso went back to the more tried and true “Elton John’s Email Method” utilizing the 4.6 liter Ford 32 valve V8 of the time. Plans for a twin turbo version were halted when Alejandro had a stroke and unfortunately the car ceased production in 2004 after his death in 2003.
Did it sell? Well…not really. You had to pay for the car in full when you ordered it. And De Tomaso had a history of going in and out of business so you do the math on that one. Pretty rare car.
Was it any good? Mid-engined V8 on a chassis developed by the guys that did the F1 suspension for Williams. Probably an interesting ride for sure.