Skip to main content

Alfa Romeo Carabo

Alfa Romeo Carabo 1960s Italian concept car

The Alfa Romeo Carabo was one of the most influential concept cars ever created. Think Lamborghini Countach, for example! The Carabo was the ultimate in wedge-shaped styling. As diagonal lines go, the one from the tip of its nose - to the top of its roof - was about as dynamic as it gets. That was in sharp contrast to its cute stub of a tail. Not only did that look cool - aerodynamically, it was on the money, too. Concept car, or no, the Carabo had a top speed of 160mph ... or so it was claimed. It was, after all, kitted out with a 230bhp V8!

The Carabo 'concept' was packed with real world parts. Many of them had been honed at the track. Its chassis, for example, was spawned by Alfa Romeo's 'Tipo 33' race-car. That meant double-wishbone suspension, all round - and disc brakes. For a car that was never really intended to be driven - at least, not in anger - the Alfa Romeo Carabo was pretty high-spec!

Marcello Gandini was chief designer. The Carabo's 'scissor-doors' would become a supercar trademark. Not only were they amazing to look at - when fully flung up - they were an engineering tour de force. The car's finish was fittingly flamboyant. Metallic green paint was set off by orange highlights. Light-weight glass - made by Belgian firm VHR-Glaverbel - was copper-tinted. As was to be expected, the Carabo wowed the '68 Paris Motor Show. Nuccio Bertone - and his Turin-based studio - had delivered! Lamborghini lovers, especially, will be forever in his debt.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

FN Four

In terms of breakthroughs in the history of motorcycling, there cannot be many to rival the first in-line four engine. Belgium was the birthplace of this landmark layout. FN was the much-to-be-thanked manufacturer.The FN Four first hit the highway in 1911. It produced 4bhp. That, from a 491 cc capacity. At the time, such figures described state-of-the-art technology. Top speed for the FN Four was 40mph. Not bad - for an 8-valve inlet-over-exhaust set-up. Oh, it was air-cooled.The FN Four was light - tipping the scales at 165lb dry. Not only the motor, but the chassis, too, was avant-garde. It featured an early form of telescopic forks. A new-fangled clutch - and 2-speed 'box - only added to the FN Four's slick box of tricks. Solid shaft-drive output the power. Who, then, designed this visionary vintage? You will not hear the name Paul Kelekom shouted from motorcycling's rooftops. But, you should - for it was he who fashioned the FN Four. In so doing, he ki…

Gilera Saturno

Gilera was a big player in the realm of 1950s motorbike manufacturing. After that, the firm met with mixed fortunes. Gilera's Fifties flagship - the Saturno - was launched in '46. Rolled out in 'Sport', 'Touring', and 'Competition' modes, the Saturno would sell well for years.The Saturno 'production racer' was a hit both on road and track. Competitive for many seasons, it remained so for some time after its production run finished - at the fag-end of the '50s.In road-going form, the Saturno stayed tethered to the tarmac - thanks to its telescopic forks, and vertical rear shocks. Indeed, it would gain a reputation as a 'performance bike' of its day. Towards the end, Gilera was linked with Piaggio, Vespa - and the scooter scene, generally. Illustrious though those names still were, Gilera's glory days were behind it. Bikes like the Saturno, though, still shone a light for past success.

NSU Ro80

The styling of the NSU Ro80 was ahead of its time. At first glance, masses of glass were straight out of science-fiction. Closer inspection revealed the gently rising line of its profile - giving it a low front, high back stance - which would influence automotive design for years to come. The 5-seater body was supremely aerodynamic for a saloon car - making cruising at speed a breeze. So flawless was it outwardly that it was hardly touched in ten years of production. Just the tail-lights were modified, on later versions.The Ro80's handling was equally impressive. FWD - and precision power-steering - kept it perfectly pointed. The long-travel strut suspension soaked up bumps. High-efficiency disc brakes were fitted all round. The 3-speed semi-automatic transmission swept through the gears with aplomb. Top speed was a sound 112mph.But, of course, nothing is perfect. The Ro80 was powered by a twin-rotor Wankel engine. Unfortunately - in a rush to get the car into showroom…