My Car Quest

January 17, 2018

The Wedge – The Shape of Things To Come

by Mike –

The late 1960s and early 1970s were a time of big change in the world and this was true in car design as well. In 1967 the Lamborghini Marzal, designed by Marcello Gandini of Bertone, created a sensation at the Geneva auto show.

Lamborghini Marzal

Lamborghini Marzal

After the success of the beautiful Lamborghini Miura Gandini was eager to set himself apart from other designers. Even though he was only 29 years old at the time that he designed the Marzal there were questions as to how much influence Giorgetto Giugiaro had on the Miura design, questions which linger to this day. So, Gandini was motivated.

Lamborghini Marzal

Lamborghini Marzal

The Marzal concept set a new design direction for modern cars and the glimpse of the future could be seen in the unique features of Gandini’s creation. It bears a strong resemblance to the production Lamborghini Espada and Gandini then went on to style the wild and exciting Lamborghioni Countach.

The Countach plus the Miura established Lamborghini and Bertone on the cutting edge of auto styling.

Lamborghini Countach

Lamborghini Countach

Gandini continued with the wedge shape on the 1968 Alfa Romeo Carabo.

Alfa Romeo Carabo

Alfa Romeo Carabo

Alfa Romeo Carabo

Alfa Romeo Carabo

Other designers picked up on this wedge shape design trend for technical reasons and, more importantly, just to make a car look like it came from the future.

As speed increases classic car designs would experience lift which is never good for a car trying to go fast especially around curves. This was probably not much of a factor for concept cars but it provided a reason to experiment with the shape of the car.

Bizzarrini Manta

Bizzarrini Manta

The wedge shape elevated the rear above the front and made the rear of the car behave like an air spoiler forcing the car down at speed and maintaining grip. And it did it while looking good unlike a car with a big rear wing added on as an after thought.

Giorgetto Giugiaro introduced the stunning Bizzarrini Manta in 1969 as the first design from his new firm ItalDesign.

Bizzarrini Manta

Bizzarrini Manta

Giugiaro continued to experiment with the wedge shape on the 1972 Maserati Boomerang and later with the Maserati Merak, Lotus Esprit, and the De Lorean.

Maserati Boomerang

Maserati Boomerang

Maserati Merak

Maserati Merak

The British also got involved with wedge shape designs with the Lotus Esprit by Giugiaro, later the Triumph TR7 designed by British Leyland designer Harris Mann and the unattractive Aston Martin Lagonda.

Lotus Esprit

Lotus Esprit

When I saw the movie “Pretty Women” I wanted a Lotus Esprit but when I sat in one I changed my mind because I did not fit very well much like the Aston Martin DB7 that I did buy many years later.

Triumph TR7

Triumph TR7

When the Triumph TR7 was introduced in 1975 all of a sudden my 1974 TR6 looked very outdated. I made the mistake of trading the TR6 in on a new 1975 TR7. Why this was a mistake is a completely different story, or maybe it is self-evident.

Gandini also designed the Lancia Stratos Zero concept car.

Lancia Stratos Zero

Lancia Stratos Zero

Lancia Stratos Zero

Lancia Stratos Zero

Paolo Martin of Pininfarina designed the 1970 Ferrari Modulo concept.

Ferrari Modulo

1970 Ferrari Modulo

Ferrari Modulo

1970 Ferrari Modulo

1969 Alfa Romeo Iguana by ItalDesign

1969 Alfa Romeo Iguana by ItalDesign

1968 Bizzarrini Manta by ItalDesign

1968 Bizzarrini Manta by ItalDesign

Comments

  1. Don’t forget the 1970 Porsche Tapiro by Giugiaro’s ItalDesign

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