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ALFA ROMEO CARABO, FIRST CONCEPT CAR?

The classes of the Concours d’Etat reserved for Marcello Gandini’s creations will provide pretty spectacular viewing as alongside the legendary Bugatti EB110, Lamborghini Countach and Lancia Stratos are six concept cars including the extraordinary Alfa Romeo Carabo.

If the 1950s were marked by crazy designs inspired by the aviation industry, it was only in the following decade that cars displayed at motor shows achieved real credibility as a vision of the automobile of the future. Designer Marcello Gandini became a past master in the art of imagining these technological shop windows. In 1968, Giovanni Bertone entrusted him with the Carabo project for the Italian coachbuilder’s first participation in the Paris Motor Show. His first attempt was a master stroke. The Carabo’s wedge shape, clean smooth lines, windscreen extending directly to the front bonnet and height, which did not exceed 99 centimetres, bewitched visitors. Who would have guessed that a sports prototype designed for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Alfa Romeo Tipo 33, was hidden beneath the metallic green coachwork?

The Carabo really caught people’s imagination and imposed the angular style that was so popular in the 1970s and 80s. A few months later, Alfa Romeo asked Bertone to design the Montreal. Many other makes called on Gandini to create their concept cars: Autobianchi for the Runabout (1968), the Chrysler Simca Shake (1970), the BMW Garmisch (1970), the Citroën GS Camargue (1972), the Ferrari Rainbow (1976) etc. which are all on show hors concours at Chantilly Arts & Elegance Richard Mille.