The Carabo started life as an Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, widely regarded as one of the most beautiful cars ever built. Designed by Franco Scaglione of Carrozzeria Marazzi, it debuted in 1967 with a curvaceous body and butterfly doors. Only 18 chassis were built, but not all of them were finished with Scaglione’s beautiful bodies.
Five chassis were used for six concept cars (one was used twice) designed and built from 1968 to 1976. Gandini’s Carabo was the first one, making a rather shocking appearance at the 1968 Paris Motor Show.The car that redesigned the future
Totally different from the 33 Stradale designed by Franco Scaglione, the Carabo introduced the world to a new era of extremely angular, wedge-shaped car designs. In short, Gandini abandoned the compass it used to design the Miura in favor of a ruler.
But it wasn’t just the angular design of the Carabo that raised eyebrows. The concept was also extremely low and flat, with the windscreen angled just a tad higher above the almost horizontal line of the front deck. Yes, visibility was terrible from behind the steering wheel, but the Carabo wasn’t designed to be practical. Its main purpose was to make late 1960s sports cars look dated.
To keep the nose flat, Gandini also designed the Carabo with pop-up headlamps. These were far from new in 1968, but this vehicle was the first to combine them with a low-slung, almost flat nose. The Carabo looked dramatic and out of this world compared to the Lotus Elan, Chevrolet Corvette, and Opel GT, production cars that introduced pop-up lights earlier in the 1960s.The world’s first car with scissor doors
Space-age looks aside, the Carabo also pioneered the scissor doors, a feature that would find its way on production models for decades to come. While it’s easy to see this feature as a result of Gandini’s eccentric approach to car design, it was in fact dictated by his concern over the car’s extremely poor rear visibility.
You see, the Carabo did not have a rear window. The entire engine hood was covered in black louvers, through which it was nearly impossible to see where you’re going when driving backward. The scissor design enabled the driver to lift the door and lean his upper body out of the cabin in order to see behind the car.
It’s an operation that could have easily resulted in a strained neck, but the scissor doors seemed so exotic at the time that they found their way onto many production models. Alfa Romeo did not adopt the design, but Lamborghini did.They’re still around after more than 50 years
It all started with the Countach, which went into development in 1970, two years after the Carabo’s debut. Commissioned to design the successor to the Miura, Gandini used the Carabo as a base for the Countach LP500 prototype, shown in 1971.
While not exactly as radical as the Alfa Romeo, the Lambo borrowed the flat yet wide appearance, the pop-up headlamps, the truncated rear end, and the scissor doors. The production model followed suit in 1974 and the scissor doors became an integral part of Lamborghini’s lineage of range-topping supercars, finding its way on the Diablo, Murcielago, and the Aventador.
The design was eventual adopted by other carmakers, including Ferrari, Bugatti, Spyker, Vector, and even Renault. Notable examples include the LaFerrari Aperta, Bugatti EB 110, Spyker C8, Vector W8, and Renault Twizy.It was a fully functional car
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