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TG’s guide to concepts: the Alfa Romeo Carabo

Alfa Romeo had a wedge-shaped supercar before Lamborghini. Meet the crazy Carabo

  • If you were to draw a supercar, right now, it’d probably end up looking a lot like the Alfa Romeo Carabo. With its wedge shape, flying-buttress air intakes and fat rear wheels, it’s everything we think of when it comes to 1970s supercar design.

    Photos: Bertone, Brian Snelson, nakhon100 

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  • Except it wasn’t from the 1970s. In fact, it debuted in the 1960s, when the soft, flowing lines of the Lamborghini Miura, Aston Martin DB6 and Toyota 2000GT were in vogue. 

  • Enter one Marcello Gandini, who has quite a bit of a resume. He’d already put the Miura together, alongside legend Paolo Stanzani, Gian Paolo Dallara and Bob Wallace. 

    He’d also go on to design just about every classic Lamborghini ever, as well as the Alfa Montreal, Lancia Stratos and Bugatti EB110. Like we said, quite a resume.

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  • The Carabo, however, is where Gandini’s wedge revolution started. With a low, flat nose, made possible by the rear-mid-mounted V8, the Carabo stood just 38.9 inches tall – yep, 1.1 inches less than the GT40. 

  • Front-hinged wing doors were presented for the first time, destined to become an almost defining feature of supercars for decades after Gandini revived them for the Countach.

    And the vision of fat, high-profile rear wheels from the 33, tucked into the ducted, louvred and slotted rear end, does funny things to us, in a way that shouldn’t be described on a family website. 

  • The V8 is tiny by modern standards at just two litres, but its race-bred, all-aluminium construction and flat plane layout meant it could rev higher than your average V8 – to more than 9,000rpm, in fact.

    As such, there was upwards of 230bhp on offer, which could power the Alfa 33 Stradale (on which the Carabo was based) from 0-60mph in just 5.5 seconds.

  • Now, the 33 Stradale is probably one of the prettiest cars Alfa has ever built (that's it in the background), but we don’t begrudge a single part of the incredibly forward-thinking Carabo. And, because it’s based on a working car, Alfa and Bertone took the time to make the Carabo a fully functional car.

    Yes, from the six-speed manual to the louvred headlights, every bit works. Well, in the 1960s Italian definition of the word, anyway.

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  • Unfortunately, the Carabo never went past concept stage, but the impact of the wedge across the world of supercars was indelible. Gandini went on to make wedge-shaped supercars such as the Lamborghini Countach, Lancia Stratos and Ferrari 308 GT4, to name a few. 

    Is this the greatest wedge of them all, though?

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