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Supercars of the 1970s looked like spaceships. Think of the Lamborghini Countach, the BMW M1 and the De Tomaso Patera. But, one of the most striking was Alfa Romeo’s Carabo, a low, wide, wedge that debuted before the Countach. The Carabo’s low, wide, angular shape made waves then and still does, so much so that Alfa brought the concept car out of storage for Milan Design Week this year.

Why does the Alfa Romeo Carabo look like this?

Alfa Romeo never intended the Carabo for production, but we can’t help but imagine how cool that would have been. Instead, the great Marcello Gandini, while working for Bertone, was responsible for this futuristic car. Gandini designed cars for BMW, Bugatti, Ferrari, Fiat, Maserati and of course, the iconic wedge, the Lamborghini Countach and svelte original supercar, the Lamborghini Miura.

The late 1960s were a heady time in the car business, before the oil embargo, when cars were getting faster and faster. Designers weren’t yet using wind tunnels, so cars simply had to look fast. Gandini was a master of creating cars that looked they cheated the wind. But, as he told Forbes, he’s also practical. The Carabo was the first car to have scissor doors, so designed so that a passenger wouldn’t throw the low door into a curb. It’s less than a meter tall and you lie down in it more than sit.

But Gandini thought of the wedge 40 years before Elon Musk adapted it to the Cybertruck.

How many Alfa Romeo Carabos were made?

Reports vary, but it seems Alfa made six Carabo concept cars that were shown for several years on the show car circuit. But Alfa says only one model of the road-going prototype was ever built. Underneath, the Carabo is a 33 Stradale coupe. The 33 Stradale Alfa Romeo competition car, one of the first supercars, aimed to take on Ferrari and Lamborghini cars of the era on the road and on track as the Tipo 33. The 33 Stradale chassis was so good it also became the basis for other remarkable Alfa Romeo concept cars, like the Iguana and Navajo.

It’s notable that Alfa Romeo is pulling the Carabo out of storage for Milan Design Week. The car was brought out to celebrate the opening of a new LARUSMIANI boutique, which was designed by Benedetto Camerana who remodeled the Alfa Romeo’s Museum.

How much horsepower does the Alfa Romeo Carabo have?

Since the Carabo takes its chassis from the 33 Stradale, it came with that cars innovative 2.0-liter 90-degree V8. It makes 230 horsepower. The engine was innovative because it uses a flat-plane crankshaft, which racing cars used to keep the weight low, and allowed Gandini to keep the seriously low proportions of the Carabo.

The 33 Stradale chassis was so good it also became the basis for other remarkable Alfa Romeo concept cars, like the Iguana and Navajo.


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