Think about for a second, we’re residing within the yr 1970. The Boeing 747 has accomplished its maiden industrial flight; English rock band The Beatles have simply introduced their breakup; and NASA’s Apollo 13 has made its method again to earth after main points. The common household automobile is a three-box design and fanatic fashions typically supply efficiency by rising engine capability over their commuter-based siblings.
When the Lancia Stratos HF Zero idea was revealed on the 1970 Turin Motor Present, it was a a revelation in comparison with every part else on supply. Strolling previous this very automobile on the 2022 NEC Traditional Motor Present a few weekends again, I nearly missed it utterly given its diminutive dimension.
Previous to the Turin occasion, Italian automotive design homes Bertone and Pininfarina had, for a short time, sought to outdo each other, every revealing their very own idea automobile. The Bertone-designed Lancia and Pininfarina-designed Ferrari 512S Modulo squared up in 1970, however the Lancia was in the end the extra excessive imaginative and prescient of the longer term. It was additionally a completely working idea, whereas the Ferrari was not.
The Zero measures a scant 84cm (33in) to its roofline, a problem that Bertone took on to see how low a automobile may very well be constructed. This had a sensible significance as properly, aiding aerodynamics. Bertone sought to not solely break the predefined guidelines of what a automobile ought to appear like, but additionally give an perception to, and in the end usher in a brand new period of automotive design.
The headlights comprise of quite a few bulbs alongside the entrance edge, with the taillights hidden within the circumference of tinted crimson plastic across the rear.
Rearward imaginative and prescient is considerably restricted, with an exterior central mirror and small facet mirrors tucked into the again of every wheel arch.
Lifting the triangular engine cowl exposes the 1.6L V4 engine good for 115hp. The engine, gearbox and whole subframe meeting together with suspension was taken from a crash-damaged Lancia Fulvia on the Lancia manufacturing facility. This drivetrain was chosen primarily for its low deck peak, being canted over at 45 levels.
The inside is not any much less subdued than the outside with the hinged windscreen related to the steering wheel by method of a hydraulic linkage, in order one tilts away so does the opposite, permitting for barely simpler ingress and egress. No, there aren’t any doorways as such.
Dashboard dials are tucked away within the panel to the motive force’s left, together with toggle controls for the necessities.
Bearing greater than passing resemblance to the Lancia Stratos HF is not any coincidence. Whereas not a direct forerunner, the Zero generated sufficient curiosity for Lancia’s top-floor administration to proceed the connection with Bertone and in the end green-light the Stratos as a manufacturing automobile.
In the present day, this one-of-one Stratos HF Zero lives with its proprietor within the USA, who has a penchant for what can greatest be described as ‘wedge’ automobiles. The equally outlandish Aston Martin Bulldog additionally resides in his custodianship. The Zero was within the UK because it had simply been given a light-weight restoration right here.
I don’t imagine we’ll ever stay to see one other period wherein such inventive automotive visions for the longer term happen. Whereas security understandably takes priority, most automobiles these days are led by the finance division first and the design division second, which is a disgrace. This glimpse into what might have been definitely isn’t a foul one.