Lancia Sibilo Concept
In Italian, the word “sibilo” indicates the hissing sound made by an object travelling at speed through the air – a fitting name, then, to be applied to another futuristic concept car from Bertone in 1978, this time based on a road-going version of the World Rally Championship-winning Lancia Stratos.
The Sibilo was another radical geometric development of the wedge shape by chief stylist Marcello Gandini, in which he took themes applied to the Bravo and Alfa Romeo Navajo a step further by blending the glass-house into the bodywork to form a fully integral volume. The windscreen and side glass were fitted flush with the joints filled in and carefully painted to give smooth, uninterrupted surfaces. There were no drop-down windows – the side panels were clear plastic with circular openings on each side that popped inwards and then slid forwards on runners.
Instead of being separate to the body, even the bumpers were integrated into the overall shape, with just a crease and an orange pin-stripe hinting at their actual volume. The sculpted effect was only interrupted by the wheels, with the squared-off wheel arches an evolution of the Stratos Stradale’s overlapping design.
The Stratos chassis was lengthened by just under four inches (10 cm), and the rest of the mechanicals were left mostly unchanged, with air to the engine bay being fed through two intakes let into the roof. Like virtually all Bertone’s concept cars until that date, the body was hand-beaten steel, and the unusual choice of polycarbonate for the side windows was made because Bertone’s glass supplier could not deliver on time for the car’s unveiling at the 1978 Turin show.
The minimalist interior was characterised by the one-piece steering wheel with an elongated section said to accurately reproduce the ergonomics of a hand’s grip. The wheel’s hub housed control lights and basic functions in its centre, with the main information conveyed through horizontal LCD displays carved into the top of the dashboard and angled towards the driver.
The Sibilo was so outlandish that it inspired the design of vehicles in the 1990 science-fiction movie Total Recall by Paul Verhoeven with Arnold Schwarzenegger, over a decade after it was created. Like many Bertone concepts, the Sibilo car has been subject to a couple re-sprays, the last one many years ago, but it remains otherwise untouched. The precious Lancia mechanicals have been regularly maintained, ensuring that the car is driveable.
This car was auctioned off by RM Auctions in May of 2011 at the Spazio Villa Erba, Cernobbio, Como.
190 bhp, 2.4-litre Stratos HF Dino V-8 mid-mounted engine, three Weber 40 IDF carburettors, five-speed manual transmission, independent front and rear suspension, four-wheel disc brakes. Wheelbase: 2,280 mm (89.8")
Source: RM Auctions
Photo Credit: Copyright Tom Wood