Alfa Romeo celebrates its space age past
The Alfa Romeo Caimano Concept car is pictured. (Photo from Alfa Romeo)
Published Saturday, January 30, 2016 10:24AM EST
Alfa Romeo is set to headline February's Bremen Classic Car show when one of its most evocative and avant-garde concepts, the Caimano, takes center stage.
Although it was built on the Alfasud platform and used the same 68hp 1.2-liter boxer engine that powered the compact production hatchback, only someone with X-ray vision would have known that the Caimano and Alfasud were from the same company, yet alone the same planet, when the concept made its debut at the 1971 Turin motor show.
Italdesign, who created the concept were given a very simple brief -- to design something that stood absolutely no chance of becoming a production reality -- and the company, headed up by legendary designer Giorgetto Giugiaro, duly obliged, creating the "wedge on wheels" with its sci-fi glass dome roof that slid forward to let passengers in and out and an adjustable rear spoiler that was part of the roof.
The car was cutting-edge, in the literal sense; and ushered in the age of the wedge design approach that defined exotic Italian production cars including the Lamborghini Countach, Lancia Stratos and the Maserati Khamsin. But Alfa Romeo was first.
In recent times, Alfa has struggled to compete with growing competition and to rediscover that automotive recipe that had made it the sort of brand that people fall in love with.
Nevertheless, the company has been going through a renaissance thanks to its wonderful 4C coupe and 4C spider ultra-light sportscars. It was getting ready to launch an entire new range of cars and to return to the US market as a luxury sportscar maker, starting this year with the Giulia QV sports sedan.
However, the brakes are now being applied to the marque's ambitious plans to launch eight new models over the next two years. On Wednesday, FCA revealed that the new cars, which will include three SUVs, a direct competitor to the BMW 5 Series, a small hatchback and two ‘speciality' vehicles -- i.e., focused sports models -- will now take until 2020 to arrive.
That said, a special celebratory edition of the 4C spider designed to mark the iconic Ducetto Spider's 50th anniversary, is still expected to be unveiled at this year's Geneva Motor Show on March 1.
As for the company's illustrious past, the Bremen Classic Car show runs from February 5-7 at the Bremem Exhibition Centre in Germany and will feature some 650 exhibitors in total.