Exotic Italian Car Design Was Beautiful and Dangerous


Lack of rear visibility. Poor front- and rear-end protection. Such is the price of beauty.

Take a look at the Lamborghini Countach. Its famed designer Marcello Gandini really didn't give two shits about conventional automotive design. In truth he was just young and didn't care too much about the driver's need to be able see out the rear window. We respect that. Aside from the near complete lack of rear visibility, Gandini did create an iconic shape that remains to this day the centerfold of Lamborghini styling.

And besides, it was way cooler to just open the driver's side scissor door, look backwards, and go in reverse.The Countach wasn't alone in this Italian exotic car designer obsession with sacrificing practicality and maybe, unfortunately, even occasionally, human safety for beauty. Other iconic examples of that era include the De Tomaso Mangusta, the original Maserati Ghibli, Maserati Bora and Khasmin, as well as the Lancia Stratos. Those are just a few because the list is quite extensive. This was before safety regulators paid any attention to Italian exotic car designers and brands. Then they came and ruined a good time.

It's unclear just how many injuries and even deaths were caused by things such as lack of visibility, poor front- and/or rear-end protection, and even insanely low ride heights. But all of those elements gave those cars character; nothing was off limits for designers and they ultimately created masterpieces.


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