DeTomaso Deauville (Saloon), 1971-1985
The DeTomaso Deauville was in production from 1971-85. Styled by Tom Tjaarda at Ghia, it is a front-engine, rear wheel drive saloon car seating four people.
Launched at the Turin Motor Show in 1970, the Deauville was an effort to replicate the appearance of the Jaguar XJ with an Italian car. DeTomaso had seen the success of Jaguar in Italy, and wanted to be able to offer a car of equal standard. Under the bonnet nestled the same 5.8 litre Ford Cleveland engine that was found in the Pantera supercar, while the body was an all steel monocoque designed by Ghia to replicate the appeal of the latest Jaguar model. There was all independent suspension, with all round disc brakes, and all cars used a three speed Ford automatic gearbox.
Production began in 1971, with the Series 2 launched in 1978. Changes were few; a slightly repositioned engine to improve weight distribution, changes to the steering system and minor cosmetic. In this form the car was produced until 1985, though in 14 years under 250 Deauvilles were produced. The model would also underpin the Longchamp coupe, and subsequently the Maserati Kyalami. Two armoured Deauvilles were produced for the Belgian and Italian royal families, while Alejandro DeTomaso's wife was the proud owner of the only Deauville estate.
The obvious competitor for the Deauville is the Jaguar XJ12. Not only does it look strikingly similar, but the V12 engine offers similar power and added refinement over that of the Ford V8. If you want a large luxury saloon with a V8, the Mercedes-Benz 450SEL 6.9 would be a viable alternative, while the Rolls-Royce Silver Shadow would lay claim to the title of the best car in the world at the time. Later models would be trounced by the Bentley Turbo R in terms of comfort and performance. Under DeTomaso Maserati would produce the Quattroporte III, a car which conformed to similar norms albeit with a larger and heavier body. And if the idea of a handbuilt car with American mechanical componentry appeals, then a Bristol 603 would be an interesting choice if two doors were enough.