In terms of style, the late sixties and early seventies didn’t bring much good. Sharp, classic and timeless tailoring of the early sixties was replaced by loud patterns, bell-bottomed trousers, platform shoes, and mutton chops. However, the early seventies introduced the all new, much wilder space age, and that era is now best reflected in glorious wedge-shaped concept cars. These painfully angular spaceships on wheels paved the way for the neon-clad eighties excess in its purest form and their piercing looks are admirable even today, almost half a century after they emerged from the minds of their creators.
1.) Ferrari 512S Modulo
Based on the incredible Ferrari 512S race car, Pininfarina’s 1970 Modulo concept was everything a space age concept car should be. With a spaceship-like body, canopy roof and covered wheels, Paolo Martin’s Modulo looked unlike any object ever created, and the best part of it was the fact that it had 550 horsepower from the mid-mounted V12, so it could go up to 350 km/h. In 2014, the car was bought by a renowned collector James Glickenhaus, and it is now being restored to its former glory.
2.) Alfa Romeo Carabo
This metallic green monster of a car was one of Marcello Gandini’s masterworks for Bertone and was based on the Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale. While the 33 Stradale was a true curvaceous supercar of the sixties, the 1968 Carabo brought razor sharp design which made even the greatest cars of the time outdated by a decade. By designing such a groundbreaking look, Gandini created the new era for cars and introduced the concept of scissor doors, which later became a signature feature of the Lamborghini Countach.
3.) Lancia Stratos Zero
Measuring just 33 inches from the floor to its highest point, the 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero was the most radical concept car of its age. Its wedge-shaped design was minimal to the core: it included a hinged windshield which served as the only door of the car, and the triangular layered hood protecting the Lancia Fulvia V4 engine completed its dramatic look. As with the Carabo, the creator of this minimalist masterpiece was Marcello Gandini, the man behind the Countach. In 2000, the car underwent a thorough restoration at Bertone, and in 2011, it was sold on RM Auctions to an anonymous and really lucky collector.
4.) Mercedes-Benz C111
In a series of concept cars made from 1970 to 1972 which bore the C111 name, Mercedes-Benz was not only showcasing the work of their designers but the engineers as well. The C111 served as a testing mule for many advancements in engine development. The C111 cars were thus powered by turbocharged engines, diesel engines, and even Wankel rotary engines. The bodyworks were executed by Bruno Sacco and were hailed by the motoring press, as well as the world’s richest who were more than interested in having a true Mercedes-Benz supercar in their garage. However, Mercedes-Benz officials were adamant about not putting the C111 into production, so this mid-engined Gullwing of the seventies remained one of the biggest what-ifs of the automotive industry.
5.) BMW Turbo
Made to celebrate the 1972 Berlin Olympics, BMW’s Turbo concept was based on 2002’s underpinnings, and it featured the same two-liter turbocharged engine. But, unlike the classic three-box shape of the 2002, the BMW Turbo was a futuristic concept with low body lines created by Paul Bracq. Some design cues of the BMW Turbo were used in creating the iconic Giugiaro-designed M1 supercar, but the gullwing doors were sadly lost along the way.
6.) Aston Martin Bulldog
In 1979, Aston Martin introduced its only mid-engined car and named it the Bulldog. The design of this concept was executed by Lagonda designer William Towns and was stripped down to basic geometry. Predictably, the result was just astounding. The car was powered by a 5.3L V8 engine producing 600 horsepower thanks to its twin-turbochargers, propelling this car to speeds over 190 MPH. Soon after its official launch in 1980, the Bulldog was sold and is now pale green compared to the original silver color.
7.) Lamborghini Bravo
Another Gandini’s wonder was the 1974 Lamborghini Bravo, a concept car that could be best described as the more radical approach to the Countach. Alongside many similar design cues from the Countach, some memorable styling features of the Bravo were louvered front and rear hood panels, as well as a minimalist interior finished in Alcantara. This brave design was conceived as the replacement for the Uracco, but the plan eventually failed, even though the public was thrilled with the Bravo and its mid-mounted 300 horsepower V8 engine. At first, the car was painted light gold, but then it was repainted green and ultimately white, and since 2011 it sits calmly in a private collection.
8.) Maserati Boomerang
In 1971, Giorgietto Giugiaro of Italdesign created the Boomerang concept, a 4.7L V8-powered wedge-shaped coupé with a gigantic trident logo on the front hood. The most unique feature, however, can be found in the interior of this car, and it’s the instrument cluster. All gauges are placed within the steering wheel, which doesn’t have a central hub but rotates around the edge of the console. The Boomerang was also a functional concept, and it was sold to a private collector in 1974. Occasionally, the car can be seen exhibited at various car shows where it continues to stun the enthusiasts just like it did back in the seventies.
9.) Citroën GS Camargue
Compared to other cars on the list, the Citroën GS Camargue is quite a modest entry, being based on the middle-class GS sedan, but its design more than makes up for the rather pedestrian platform. The Camargue was also designed by Marcello Gandini of Bertone as a two-door coupé with four seats, and it served as the design exercise for the subsequent looks of Citroën cars, most notably the BX sedan.
10.) Porsche Tapiro
Designed by Giorgietto Giugiaro, the Porsche Tapiro concept came out in 1970, and it has by far the most interesting backstory to it. The car itself was a classic wedge-shaped machine built on Porsche 914/6 chassis, and it featured both gullwing doors and gullwing rear hood that bore a striking resemblance to the De Tomaso Mangusta, and its stoplight design was later used on the DeLorean DMC12, another Giugiaro's creation. This silver wedge car was bought by a Spanish industrialist in 1972, but the car was eventually burned by a group of labor activists sometimes in the eighties. Giugiaro bought the car back and it now resides in Italdesign's museum.