Futuristic Concept Cars of the 1970-80s

Link - article by Avi Abrams

Modern art sculptures? Futuristic shrines of advanced technology?
All this, and more, seen in fantastic European & Japanese concept cars of the period.

DRB Time-Slice:
Year: 1979
Category: Concept Cars
Country: France; Italy; Japan

Today we can speculate that the abundance of bizarre futuristic concept car designs in late 1970s can be attributed to high popularity of science fiction esthetic in general (think original "Star Wars", French space comic books, and the rise of space synth music). And as we cast our ever-curious eye on best examples of European concept cars from these heady Sci-Fi-permeated years, we are especially struck by work of Italian design houses like Bertone, and wild experimentation of Citroen.

Elegance and grace, combined with that famous French non-conformism

Perhaps the most interesting French concept car of the 1970s and 1980s, Citroen Karin 1980 debuted at the 1980 Paris Motor Show: it looked sensational with its pyramidal, or rather trapezoidal design (its roof was no bigger than an A3 sheet of paper) - and boasted some wildly unconventional interior:

(images via)

To read more about circumstances how such wild design product got a go-ahead (we have to thank Trevor Fiore, Citroen's design chief at the time), head to this page. The interior was designed specifically to have all the controls right at the driver's fingertips, as close to steering wheel as possible. Citroen Karin also featured a few on-board computers, including some integrated right into the door panels!

Steering wheels with in-built controls were popping up in quite a few concept cars of the 1980s, including a similar arrangement in 1981 Citroen Xenia concept:

We can see all-controls steering wheel also in American 1983 Buick Questor concept car:

... and in the Ital-Design 1984 Ford Maya concept car:

(image via)

Steering wheel on the Lamborghini Athon concept car looks even more striking... whoever on closer look we see that this is just a clever use of angles. Also, note how gear stick resembles the handle of a knife:

(images via)

Triangles were definitely "in", judging by the looks of many 1970s concepts cars - see for example, Lancia Bertone Stratos from 1970:

(images via)

Not only European concept cars were exhibiting space-age thinking at the time, Japan also produced concept cars exceptional in originality, strange looks and bizarre experimentation - take for example, this Toyota FCX-80 from 1979:

(image via)

Or this Japanese Insomnia, 1979 Dome Zero P2, debuted at the 48th Geneva Auto Show and meant to participate in the 1979 "24 Hours of Le Mans" motor race - more info:

(images via 1, 2)

"The Dome Zero was the inspiration behind the Transformers Classics series figure of Transformers Generation 1 character Hot Rod.". Compare it with the 1972 Maserati Boomerang (ItalDesign) - top image:

Speaking of Maserati Boomerang, feast your eyes on this futuristic offering:

(image via)

On the right is the Alfa Romeo Navajo concept car unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show in March 1976:

And we finish with the beautiful art piece by Federico B. Alliney (the artist responsible for scenery in James Cameron's "Avatar" movie), featuring Alfa Romeo Carabo:

(image credit: Alfa Romeo Art)

Article by Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend.





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Blogger Unknown said...

They look fancy. It amuses me how they all seem to have pointed fronts - maybe they were designed to cut through walls/pedestrians? :P

P.S I deleted the last comment because I saw a typo. Oopsies :)

Anonymous EndlessWaves said...

I've always liked that Lamborghini Athon. There's just something about it that exudes personality.

I'd love to have a version built. It's only the size of a modern fiesta ST (and not far off the power), so you could stick a tiny engine/electric motor under the bonnet and convert the big engine bay into a convertible roof so you could use it as an everyday car. Plus with those thick and high doors you presumably wouldn't need to change much to bring it up to modern crash safety standards.

Blogger Dar said...

So beautiful, all of them. Some remind me of Blade Runner.

Looking at these, I can't help but be thankful that the Countach got produced, instead of just being kept as a concept car as well.

Blogger anthrax2525 said...

As a wee one, I always thought the Carabo was one of the coolest of my uncle's Hot Wheels.

Blogger Josh said...

I wonder why everyone saw the future as angular and garish?

Anonymous Hoorosh Band said...

They look fancy. It amuses me how they all seem to have pointed fronts - maybe they were designed to cut through walls/pedestrians? :P

Anonymous Macan Band said...

As a wee one, I always thought the Carabo was one of the coolest of my uncle's Hot Wheels.

Blogger The Millennium Museum said...

Wonder how long it takes to go from 0 to 88 miles per hour?

Anonymous Yolanda Turnquest said...

These cars are pretty awesome! The 80s was just an era chock-full of greatness! Great post.

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is love at first sight! When I saw the STRATOS Zero for the first time, I realized that it was for life. He was way ahead of his time and he's still amazing!


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