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Ever wondered what the Chevrolet Corvair might have looked like if the Italian’s had designed it? The answer would have looked like the Testudo concept.
Designed by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro at Bertone, the car was first revealed at the 1963 Geneva Motor Show. Its styling shows that many car companies took notice and incorporated some of its design language into their future models.
The Testudo – Italian for turtle, was based on the humble underpinnings of the Corvair Monza, so while it may look like it is doing 200 mph standing still, in reality, its 2.4-liter air-cooled, flat-six only developed 81-hp. So speed was not its forte, but it can probably handle quite well thanks to its fully independent suspension setup that featured telescopic dampers and anti-roll bars.
This one-off prototype is fully functional. Giugiaro once even used the car to pick up his wife, Maria Teresa, from Fiat, where she worked in their design studio. He recounts being swarmed by the employees, most of whom missed their trains home because they were admiring the car.
The Testudo however was badly damaged while filming a promotional film for Shell, and resulted in the car just sitting in Bertone’s warehouse for decades. The car was thankfully restored in the ’90s when designer Luciano d’Ambrosio joined the firm. The car made its first public appearance in 30-years when it showed up at the 1996 Pebble Beach Concours event.
The car is now on sale and will be presented by RM Auctions at the Villa d’Este Concours event on May 21. It is predicted to pull in about $1-million. We will have to wait until the event to find out what it finally changed hands for.
[Source: RM Auctions]
Italdesign has collaborated with Volkswagen in the past, with the original Golf and Scirocco widely considered as classics of design. They’ve gone on to pen the Volkswagen W12 concept and various SEAT, Lamborghini and Bugatti models since then. But Volkswagen bought the company outright last May, and these two concept cars are the fruits of that European union.
Not much has been revealed about these two cars since their designs were leaked from the European patent office. But it could very well predict the next Golf and Polo, or the Scirocco and Up! city car, but probably not the Phaeton and Touraeg. They may even be electric-powered, but hey, we’re just as eager to find out as you are when Geneva rolls around in two weeks.