Sep 9, 2011

The Automotive Legacy Of Italdesign: 28 Specimens

1968 Bizzarrini Manta: Created for the Turin car show, this V8 supercar was one of the first designs to establish the aesthetics of the modern supercar and put Italdesign on the map.
We haven't covered cars in a while on Awesomerobo, so for the sake of variety I'd like to cover the history of Italdesign, a design company that has been around since 1968. The main man behind the company, Giorgetto Giugiaro (Born in 1938) has truly left a mark on the automotive world, pioneering the modern supercar as we know it and continuously innovating and pushing the boundaries in the field.

For his body of work, he was awarded the title of Car Designer Of The Century in 1999 and later induced into the Automotive Hall Of Fame in 2002. Check out 27 more designs after the break..And for fun, we even threw in some of the less successful concepts that never made it past concept stage.

1969 Alfa Romeo Iguana: Aggressive curves and a mean grill went on to inspire the trademark new look of Alfa Romeo for the next few decades
1970 Porsche Tapiro: The sharp wedge shape on the front would go on to inspire countless cars after it. Also, this car had not two..But FOUR vertical doors. Babes not included.
1971 Alfa Romeo Caimano: A truly futuristic concept car for its time. Passengers would exit via the hinged windshield/doors that were fused together. This car would fit perfectly in the Voltron universe.
1972 Maserati Boomerang: Another futuristic concept car that took notes from the Caimano, Manta and Tapiro..And actually featured some of the first safety options in a supercar..Including an airbag.
1973 Audi Asso Di Picche(Ace Of Spades): Went on to inspire various cars, including the Lancia Delta and a similar BMW model.
1974 Hyundai Pony Coupe: Little known fact, this sleek prototype went on to directly influence a truly mythical car that left a mark in the car world...The DMC-12 DeLorean
1978 BMW M1: A high end, sporty 2 door coupe design that had a seriously aggressive presence that is widely regarded as a classic. This was one of the only BMW's to ever be manufactured in Italy, with 450 specimens created from 1978-1981.
1981 DeLorean DMC12: Inspired by the Hyundai Pony and the Medici prototype(Not in this list), John Z. DeLorean approached Giugiaro to take on a project for a car truly ahead of its time. In 1985, a Robert Zemeckis movie would immortalize this car forever.
1984 Lotus Etna: A V8 concept that was interrupted due to Lotus' acquisition by GM back in 1986.
1986 Oldsmobile Incas: Quite possibly Oldsmobile at its most adventurous, with rear vertical doors and a healthy dose of space age inspiration.
1988 Italdesign Aspid: Italdesigns own stab at a truly futuristic supercar used a revolutionary new molding technique to create the nearly seamless glass top with no hard angles in sight.
1990 Bugatti ID90: Using methods mastered with the Apsid and previous cars, this elegant concept vehicle was created as a tribute to the Bugatti Royale from 1926 and for the 63rd Turin car show.
1990 SEAT Proto C: This car's design was truly ahead of its time, and could easily pass as a modern day commuter car. Went on to inspire the SEAT Ibiza.
1991 BMW Nazca C2: A monstrously aggressive BMW race car, this car took advantage of advances in carbon fiber technology. This car was a showstopper when unveiled at the Tokyo Car Show in 1992.
1995 Lamborghini Cala: Reminiscent of the Countach, but intended as a four seater coupe, this prototype sports car took the best of two worlds and combined them into something entirely new.
1997 Alfa Romeo Scighera: Schigera is Milanese for "Mist," and this vehicle was created to celebrate Italy's success in the automotive sports field. The Schigera's design reflected various design elements from Formula 1 cars.
1999 Bugatti 18/3 Chiron: Dedicated to the legendary car driver Louis Chiron, this coupe boasted 555 horsepower and went on to define the modern look of the Bugatti sports cars. Inspired the Veyron later.
2002 Alfa Romeo Brera Coupe Concept: The pinnacle of everything Italdesign had worked towards for the last 30 or so years, the Brera dropped jaws everywhere with its beautiful curves and aggressive look. The vehicle was the pinnacle of all the lessons learned and technological advancements up till then. The design won awards at the Geneva Car Show and various other acclaims. On a plus note, Alfa Romeo might be returning to the US in 2-3 years.

Beautiful cars aside, like any successful design companies, there's a pretty high chance that over 40 or so years some truly terrible, irreversible designs and prototypes will be spawned. Its all part of the process. So without further ado, lets look at the Italdesign concepts that never quite made it past the chopping block.

So without further ado, lets look at some of the failures and less successful attempts:

1971 Volkswagen Cheetah: An ill fated concept of a 'pickup' sportscar
1976 Alfa Romeo New York Taxi: A bizarre concept for a micro cab
1980 Fiat Panda 4x4 Strip: The original Panda was never intended as a 4x4, so it ended up looking like an electric toy jeep for kids
1982 Italdesign Capsula: The Vatican probably took notes from this disaster and went on to create the Popemobile
1986 Italdesign Machimoto: Using rollercoaster style seating, passengers would be awkwardly close to each other with barely any safety options. Sounds great!
1992 Italdesign Biga: This 3 seater had the aesthetics of a drink cooler mixed with the comfort of a pile of broken glass

1992 Italdesign Columbus: Its not an optical illusion, its a minivan melted into a Prius
1994 Fiat Firepoint: The equivalent of a car milkshake, minus the harmony
1996 Fiat Formula 4: No side doors guaranteed that the deathtrap potential of this car reached 1000%

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