Bold Concept: 1968 Italdesign Bizzarrini Manta
Rarely do first attempts turn out brilliantly, unless of course you’re talking about Italdesign Giugiaro, and then they do. The firm was founded on February 13, 1968, then proceeded to build its first concept car in 40 days and debut it at the 1968 Turin Motor Show. That striking creation was the Bizzarrini Manta. Giorgetto Giugiaro united pen and paper to sculpt the concept’s remarkable lines. He had spent years in the design offices of Fiat, Bertone, and Ghia before striking out on his own to create Italdesign. We’re quite thankful that he did. PHOTOS: Check out other Italdesign concepts
The roofline of the Manta begins at the very tip of the front bumper and stretches gracefully in one arc to the end of the rear bumper, creating a revolutionary 15-degree raked windshield. The wide front grille conceals four headlights tucked away on each side, and the grille motif is referenced in slats cut into the hood and shoulder haunches. The hole-punched metallic running boards add the finishing touch to the concept’s exterior.
PHOTOS: See our gallery of the Bizzarrini Manta
But perhaps its most striking design concept was the three-abreast seating arrangement that saw the driver positioned in the center of the car – a design later picked up by the McLaren F1.
While Giorgetto Giugiaro provided the prominent looks, lead engineer Giotto Bizzarrini provided the chassis. With such a short development period, the Manta was built upon a modified Iso Grifo Competizione chassis. Power came courtesy of a mid-engined 5.4L Chevrolet V8, supplying 355-horsepower to the rear wheels.
PHOTOS: Check out other pics from Bizzarrini