Concept Cars: cars of the past looking to the future
- Andrea Montanaro
Researching new technologies for the automotive industry leads car manufacturers to experiment with new solutions for tomorrow’s cars.Styling offices open up a door on the future through concept cars: limited-run vehicles aimed at exploring new technologiesOften introduced in car shows, concept cars also aim at gathering feedback from enthusiasts. Concept cars are, by definition, style experiments but sometimes they can be used as starting points for cars produced on a large scale. It happened with the Fiat X1/9, the car takes its shape from the Runabout made by Marcello Gandini for Bertone.
We’re staying in Italy for the Lamborghini Bertone Athon. The vehicle was made in 1980 by Marc Deschamps who took over from Marcello Gandini. It takes its name from the Egyptian deity and is reminiscent of the legendary Urraco. 3.8 m by 1.8 m and still a meter in height are the dimensions of the car that hides a 3 L V8 engine and 260 hp of power. The Bertone Athon looks like a spider with a revamped cabin and other rear-end accouterments. The Athon's steering wheel lacks dedicated controls for the turn signals and windshield wipers while the ignition system is placed in a dedicated section on the left side of the steering wheel.
The Citroen Eole was born in 1986 through a revolutionary design process with the computer at its center. In creating the car Geoffrey Matthews has the idea of entrusting his sketches to the reworking of a computer: The result is a decidedly distinctive car with the four wheels completely covered and a hydraulic system that allows the wheel arches to open to accompany the movement of the front wheels. The Citroen Eole can accommodate up to four passengers and, in the center of the cabin, there is a console, stereo and computer. On the driver's side we find all the controls grouped on either side of the steering wheel flanked by the CD player.
Concept cars give us an idea of what automotive’s future might look like. The extraordinary work of styling offices not only explores the performances but it also breaks the common conception of aesthetics we’re used to making enthusiasts dream of having one of these pieces of art in the future.