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Concept of the week: the Alfa Romeo Caimano

Giugiaro design blends Alfa, the Jetsons and a doorstop… with ‘unique’ results

  1. If you’ve not already been told ad infinitum, the 1970s was a time of wedge-shaped cars, excessive amounts of orange paint and a lot of serious socioeconomic stuff that really isn’t pertinent to a story on a car website. 

    Italian designers like Bertone, Giugiaro, and Gandini spent much of the late ’60s and early ’70s effectively trying to out-wedge one another – see the Alfa Carabo, if you need an example – but the Caimano took things in an entirely different direction.

  2. The bubble-topped concept had all the hallmarks of 1970s design, and indeed of 1970s Alfa Romeo: many angles, avant-garde flourishes and suspect build quality. 

    But who cares about build quality when there’s a one-piece glass canopy covering the entire cabin, pop-up headlights and a burnt orange Alfa logo on the bonnet?

  3. At this point, we’d love to say that under the bonnet lurked some kind of 20-litre, V-36 engine with many thousands of horsepower, but that really isn’t the case. 

    You see, the glass roof, gullwing doors and kinked bonnet were underpinned by the fairly humble Alfasud. That meant a 1.3-litre flat four engine with a dizzying 86bhp, according to Italdesign.

  4. That said, the ’Sud was wonderfully advanced for its time – boxer engine, four-wheel disc brakes, and a five-speed manual in the early 1970s was basically Star Wars with a number plate – and the Caimano drew attention to the new front-drive Alfa platform.

    Unfortunately, the Caimano was never destined to go beyond the stand at the 1971 Turin Motor Show, then on to sit in Alfa’s museum in Arese, next to some of the most desirable metal ever offered. 

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