European Concept Cars that Influenced the 1970's - A Miniature Review
By Doug Breithaupt

A dramatic shift in automotive design occurred at the close of the 1960's. Sport/GT cars had become much more popular and these models were the favorites of the public and designers alike. Led by the Italians, the shape of the sport/GT was strongly influenced by the shift from front to mid-engine cars in racing. As production cars like the Lamborghini Muira and Porsche 914 were first appearing, the concept cars became even more radical with strong wedge shapes and new use of glass, including hatch-back designs. These concept cars were like nothing currently on the road and the public could not get enough. Between 1966 and 1972, many concepts were produced and these models provided the inspiration for the production cars of the 1970's and beyond.

Toy car makers were quick to produce many of the more popular concept designs. The 14 European concept cars selected here represent examples that never became production cars, although m many production cars were influenced by the designs seen here.

BMW Turbo - Schuco: This wonderful Schuco model shows the car that influenced the BMW M1 and 850i. A mid-engine wedge with gull-wing doors, the Turbo was right on track.
Mercedes-Benz C111 - Playart: Also a mid-engine wedge with gull-wing doors, the C111 did not lead to a production model. Still, the shape is clearly what arrived in the 1970's and '80's.

VW-Porsche Tapiro - FAIE: Ital Design produced this concept which was built on a Porsche 914 chassis. Much of the design appeared as the ill-fated DeLorean.
BMW Spicup - Playart: It's a shame that BMW did not produce this curvy roadster. It could pass for an American pony car or Italian exotic. The roof is the only odd bit.

NSU Bertone Trapeze - Buby: It's easy to see the lines of Bertone's Lancia Stratos in this car. The Trapeze used NSU's rotary power. The actual Stratos concept car looked much different.
Alfa Romeo Bertone Carabo - Playart: Bertone was one of the wedge shapes biggest fans. The Carabo led to cars like the Lamborghini Countach and was done by four toy car makers.

Alfa Romeo Cangaro - Polistil/Penny: Another Bertone creation, the Cangaro presented the hatchback rear window that became a popular 1970's design element.
Dino 206 - Polistil/Penny: This shape influenced Ferrari products for the next 20 years. Pininfarina created this classic design and continued to refine it for many production models.

Lamborghini Marzel - Matchbox: The Marzel by Bertone led directly to the Lamborghini Espada. The use of expansive glass in the gull-wing doors did not make it to production.
Maserati Boomerang - Norev: The windshield on this Ital Design concept was at the maximum angle to still allow visibility. The car was based on the Maserati Bora platform.

BMC 1800 Pininfarina - Matchbox: The Citroen CX and the Rover 3500 can bee seen in this concept car. Both American and Japanese cars used the roofline.
Citroen Camargue - Majorette: This could have been the next generation Citroen SM or a sporty CX but it was not to be. The hatch-back opens on this two-seater.

Vauxhall Guildsman - Matchbox: The glass top and targa are dramatic on this concept. Fortunately, the odd wheel cut-outs were never copied on a production model.
Jaguar XJ13 - Hot Wheels: Malcolm Sayer of Jaguar penned the XJ13. With it's 4-cam V12, it was intended to win back Le Mans. Too bad a mid-engine 'E' type was not produced.