c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA

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Lot 73*
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta
Chassis no. TBA

US$ 100,000 - 150,000
AED 460,000 - 690,000
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta
Chassis no. TBA

Footnotes

  • 'Since I was young I have dreamed of designing a car like this, a very special 'barchetta'. It is a great joy to me that my original design has come to life as such a handcrafted masterpiece.' - Giorgetto Giugiaro.
    The sensation of the 1988 Turin Motor Show, Italdesign's Aztec 'concept car' still looks futuristic 20 years on. One of the most influential carrozzeria of recent decades, although the company is far more than a mere coachbuilder, Giorgetto Giugiaro's Italdesign had made its name designing volume-selling production cars such as the Volkswagen Golf and Sirocco, Citroen BX and Lancia Delta. The former was a most important commission for both Giugiaro and Volkswagen, providing the German company with a worthy successor to the long-running 'Beetle' and the foundation of its continuing success.
    A precocious talent in the great tradition of Italian coachbuilding - almost all the world's most important automobile stylists are located in that country - Giugiaro went from Art College to FIAT Centro Stile where he was tutored by the great Dante Giacosa. From there he moved to Carrozzeria Bertone, becoming its chief designer, a post he later held at Carrozzeria Ghia where he was responsible for the Maserati Ghibli and De Tomaso Mangusta supercars. He founded Italdesign in 1968 in partnership with ex-FIAT design engineer, Aldo Mantovani.
    Light years away in conception from the mainstream production cars that occupied most of Italdesign's time, the Aztec was a bold reinvention of the barchetta, featuring two separate cockpits, mid-mounted engine and four-wheel drive. The transmission system's componentry was sourced from the Lancia Delta Integrale, while the five-cylinder, 20-valve, turbo-charged 250bhp engine came from the Audi Quattro. Aluminium, carbon fibre and Kevlar were used in the construction of the body, which clothed a steel ladder-frame chassis. To enter the car, you first had to tilt the cockpit canopy upwards and then open the door; once inside, driver and passenger communicated via an intercom.
    In engineering terms the Aztec was not especially radical, but the 'sci-fi' aesthetics were startling, the rear quarter side detailing making it look more like a piece of expensive hi-fi than a motor car. These high-tech side panels housed coded buttons used to unlock the car, as well as the interface for the in-built hydraulic jacks and various engine gauges.
    Post-Turin the rights were bought by a Japanese industrialist, Mario Myakawa, who commissioned Audi tuner Motoren-Technik-Mayer (MTM) in Wettstetten, near Ingolstadt, to engineer the car for homologation and eventual limited production. The first working prototype was finished in time for the 1992 Monaco Grand Prix and driven round the circuit just before the race. At around the same time the Aztec featured in the retrospective exhibition of important industrial design landmarks held at the Musée Georges Pompidou in Paris.
    'When the Aztec prototype was exhibited at the Turin Motor Show in 1988 I found it difficult to imagine that it would become a real car,' commented Giugiaro. 'It is therefore of immense satisfaction that the Aztec is now actually a roadworthy car and not just a static styling exercise.'
    German type approval was gained some time later but the Aztec's long-delayed arrival at a time of recession and with a price tag of DM500,000 effectively killed the project after only a limited number of cars - approximately 50 according to some sources - had been completed.
    The car offered here is one of Italdesign's three original prototypes (not one of the later Japanese-built examples) and unlike many concept cars is in full working order. Supposedly the only prototype out of the three in running condition, this Aztec has been up the Goodwood hill at over 100mph and was invited to the Cartier 'Style et Luxe' concours at the Goodwood 'Festival of Speed' in 2007. Maintained by Graham Schulz of Lamborghini High Wycombe, it is presented in pristine condition and represents a rare opportunity to acquire a car more exclusive than almost any Ferrari and more attention grabbing than a Bugatti Veyron.
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
c.1988 Italdesign Aztec Barchetta  Chassis no. TBA
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