ITAL DESIGN DREAM CARS HISTORY
review on ITAL DESIGN
Giorgetto Cingiaro's background in a family of artists helped
him in his career as an "artist" of automotive forms. Even though
his design career has encompassed such diverse areas as menswear, watches
and pasta, his first passion has always been cars.
Giugiaro, the young art master
Aged just 17, Giugiaro joined Fiat's styling wing under Dante Giacosa
and, two years later, accepted a job at Bertone and went on to become
its youngest-ever head of styling.
In 1965, he left Bertone to head up Ghia and within three years had grown
confident enough to set up his own consultancy with another ex-Fiat design
and engineering expert, Aldo Manlovani. The office started in Turin but
moved six years later to Moncalieri. Ital Design offered not only styling
but also all the services needed to bring a design to production, and
soon manufacturers were flocking to his door. As Ital Design, Giugiaro
styled dozens of shapes for mass production, including the VW Golf, Maserati
Bora, Lotus Esprit and BMW Ml, all notable for an exceptional cleanliness
of line. Ital Design has also produced some of the most admirable dream
cars during its years, and has been highly influential in setting future
Ital Design's very first project was the1968 Manta, a dramatic coupe for
the Italian specialist ear-maker Bixxarrini. This was followed by sports
car designs for Alfa Romeo (the 1969 Iguana and the 1971 Calmano), Abarth
and Volkswagen (the VW-Porsche Tipiro and the Karmann Cheetah).
Boomerang and other prophecies
In 1972, the same year that Giugiaro designed the Esprit
for Lotus, lie also produced what many regard as his most extraordinary
sports car design, the Maserati Boomerang. This ear, based on the Maserati
Bora, pushed the frontiers of the accepted limits of car design. At only
42in (107cm) high, it was so low that the passengers were forced to become
acrobats to get in, and the 15-degree angle of the windscreen was the
steepest rake yon could achieve and still lie able to see out. The wedge
shape originated from a point in the nose, expanded to the base of the
windscreen and extended to a geometric tail. Only the lower glass in the
As Ital Design extended its base of clients in the late 1970s, its concept
ears became more prosaic, but the 1976 New York Taxi and the 1978 Lancia
Megagamma were prophetic, proposing the idea of a compact, high-roof car
with an adaptable interior layout - an MPV ahead of its time. In 1980,
Gingiaro's Medusa showed a way forward in aerodynamics, proving it was
possible to create a very clean four-door shape. This Lancia Montecarlo-based
proposal boasted a Cd figure of just 0.263, then the most aerodynamic
road ear ever.
In 1984 Ital Design created [lie Etna for Lotus, which was at one stage
an earmarked for production. This was a super car fitted with a stillborn
Lotus four-liter V-eight, 360bhp engine in die centre of the car. The
contrast between its upper and lower halves was emphasized by using thin,
black-painted pillars, creating the impression of transparent dome. The
similar-looking Ford Maya from the same period was intended as a genuine
production possibility and was full of practical features. It also had
a removable targa top.
Giugiaro struck out on a startlingly original course with die 1986 car
elements. Although it looked like a cabriolet and used VW Golf GTI but
the layout allowed seating for up to nine people. It could be steered
either novelty was die prominent design of the wheel spats (skirls).
A similar feel recurred in 1996 with for multi-adaptable bodies to lie
fixed over the same structure. Giugiaro initially showed two ideas: The
Formula 4 aero screens, and the Hammer with its open sides, split windscreen
and more conventional seating. Neither was especially handsome but they
both original thinking.
Aztec, Aspid and Asgard
More creativity arrived in a trio of designs produced ill 1988. Each of
the Aztec/ Aspid/ Asgard triplets shared a mechanicals but had very different
element was the so-called "service centres" on either flank,
winch included tools and flashlights.
The Aztec was a four-wheel-drive two-seater with symmetrical but separate
compartments accessed by doors, which hinged along a central point. The
passenger’s dashboard looked like the driver’s, but the “steering
wheel” was in fact a handle and the “instrument panel”
was a screen to display car information on request.
The Aspid was identical to the Aztec up to the waistline and was a coupe
version, which featured complex double camber (dual angle) glass, folds
up roof sections and conventionally hinged doors. The Asgard was a one-box
eight seater design, which broadens the extent of the extraordinary glass
surface seen on its smaller coupe sister.
With the 1990 Kensington, Ital Design suggested a future shape for a Jaguar
saloon, and used Jaguar’s V-twelve engine. The Jaguar chassis was
left untouched but a modern yet recognizably “Jaguar” body
was created. Interestingly, the windscreen was sited so far forward that
it needed to be removed to dismantle the engine.
Nazca, Columbus and Firepoint
The Nazca of 1991 was probably the most talked-about of all Giugiaro’s
concept cars, and there was speculation that it might enter production
as a BMW. Everyone remembered the Giugiaro-styled BMW Ml super car and
the Naxca seemed to be the natural successor. It had a mid-mounted BMW^
V-twelve engine and styling, winch inspired dozens of magazines to run
cover stories. Entry was by conventional the fad that die Na/ca went through
two further evolutions, including a Spider version, BMW was adamant that
it would not build such a super car.
BMW did donate another V-twelve engine for the stupendous Columbus of
1992, which celebrated the 500th anniversary of the discovery of America.
This was a huge machine; 19ft 6 in (6 meters) long, 7 ft (2.2 meters)
wide and over 6 ft 6in (2 metres) high. Its specification was equally
grand: lour-wheel drive, four-wheel steer, mid-mounted 300 bhp engine
and 20 in (50.8 cm) wheels. The interior was split a higher level with
up to eight additional seats "below'' in three row's.
In 1994, Fiat asked all the major Italian design houses to create a special
body for die Punto (which was a Giugiaro design in the first place). Ital
Design's interpretation was the Firepoint, a novel two-plus-two coupe
such as the teardrop roof and reversed windscreen pillars. The side and
rear windows could be removed, cleverly creating a roadster.
Cala and Legram
Lamborghini asked Ital Design to create a new two-plus-two targa sports
car that would slot in as an entry model below the Diablo, and so it created
the Gala, which came tantalizingly close to production. The compact mid-engine
two-seater used a brand new Lamborghini V-ten engine capable of phenomenal
performance. Stylistically, its detail cues came from the Miura, though
die overall shape was more of a wedge. Its advanced construction consisted
of an aluminum chassis clothed in carbonfibre body panels.
The 1996 Legram was an almost Formula "infinity project" begun
by the Formula 1. On the basic Formula sealer body with an exceptional
Cd figure of just 0.25. A transparent dome of glass stretched from the
windscreen base to the rear window, broken only by outstanding feature
was the treatment of the rear lights, which looked like horizontal slits.
Ital Design's back catalogue of dream belles the relative youth of the
company. Equally impressive is the depth of its engineering expertise
and die extent of its penetration into the design of production models.
In all cases, Ital Design has been a trailblazer of ideas principles and