The 1968 Alfa Carabo concept marked a revolutionary stage in supercar design, with its hydropneumatic-powered scissors doors – later adopted on the Lamborghini Countach – and multi-coloured one way glass windows.
Penned by Marcello Gandini, from Bertone, the Carabo (which means beetle) was unveiled in October 1968, at Porte de Versailles in Paris.
It was based on the Chassis of the mid-engined V8 Alfa Romeo Tipo 33 and was an experimental design aimed at solving aerodynamic issues first appeared on the Lamborghini Miura, which suffered from front-end lifts at high speed.
At the end of the 1960’s Bertone focussed his creative energies on prototypes. The Turin designer’s creativity and daring reached its peak in 1968 with the Carabo, which was presented at the Paris Motor Show in October.
Built on the Alfa Romeo 33 chassis with a centrally-mounted engine, it became a style classic, known for its creativity and original features, some of which contribute to its legendary standing.
Design features like its tight lines, tapering front blending in seamlessly with the windscreen, and the air inlets and outlets.
And the original door mechanism, with doors opening upwards and forwards (a concept which reappears on the production Countach), and even the novel colour: iridescent green like a beetle (hence the name Carabo, in Italian, a type of beetle).
The result hit the headlines all round the world, and not just in the trade press, and the positive feedback was unanimous.
The Carabo was Bertone’s bold but aesthetically and functionally valid vision of the sporty car of the future. And the use of new materials and novel construction techniques means that this concept car was something more than just an exercise in styling.
(Source: Bertone, Alfa Romeo)