For every iconic Italian car ever built, there are countless equally great or even better concept cars that never made production.
Italian people are known for many things – their pizza, wineries, football, art, classical music, and, of course, their cars. Italians have contributed massively to the automotive industry, thanks to famous brands like Ferrari, Lamborghini, Alfa Romeo, and Pagani. Italian automakers have built many iconic cars, including the Ferrari 250 GTO, Alfa Romeo 33 Stradale, Lamborghini Countach, and many others.
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However, for every iconic Italian car ever built, there are countless equally great or even better concept cars that manufacturers never produced for one reason or another. Let's explore ten Italian concept cars that manufacturers should have produced.
The Lancia Stratos Zero concept was revolutionary when it debuted in 1970. Conceived by the renowned Marcello Gandini, the Lancia Stratos Zero was one of the first wedge-shaped masterpieces that influenced sports car design for much of the '70s and '80s.
The Stratos Zero concept had a 1.6-liter Fulvia V4 engine, but many hoped Lancia would have used a more powerful engine had the Stratos Zero made it to production. The Stratos Zero stayed at the Bertone Museum until about a decade ago when someone bought it for $1 million.
In the mid-2000s, Maserati needed a new concept car to pay tribute to its lightweight race cars of the 1950s while Pininfarina needed a way to celebrate its 75th anniversary. So the two companies came together and built the Maserati Birdcage 75th Concept.
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The Birdcage 75th was among the stars of the 2005 Geneva Motor Show, largely thanks to its futuristic design that featured a Perspex canopy that rose entirely to give drivers access.
In the late '60s, Ferrari wanted to build a concept car to display at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show. But instead of building one from scratch, they took a Ferrari 512 S, removed all the mechanical components, and handed it to Pininfarina to build the show car.
The result was the Ferrari 512 S Modulo concept, whose extremely low profile, wedge-shaped body, partly covered wheels, and canopy-style glass roof wowed everyone. The 512 S Modulo stayed in Pininfarina's possession until 2014 when they sold it to automotive aficionado James Glickenhaus.
Whenever 'Lamborghini' is mentioned, most gearheads immediately think of a crazy fast wedge-shaped supercar with a monstrous V12 under the hood. However, in the 2000s, Lamborghini decided to go off-script by building a four-door sedan concept known as the Estoque.
The Estoque basically looked like the four-door version of the Murcielago and was equipped with a front-mounted 5.2-liter V10 shared with the Gallardo. The Estoque never made it to production, but it contributed massively to Lamborghini's development of the four-door Urus a decade later.
What do you do when you want to be the most technologically advanced automaker? Well, you get into a multi-million dollar partnership with the geniuses at the famous Massachusetts Institute of Technology to help you build one of the most futuristic concept cars ever made.
That's exactly what Lamborghini did a few years ago, and the result was the superb Terzo Millennio concept. The Terzo Millennio is supposed to show what Lamborghini's design language will look like in an electric future, and we love every bit of it – especially its glowing wheels.
Maserati had a great time in the early '70s thanks to its wedge-shaped sports cars like the Bora and Merak. The Boomerang is yet another Maserati model of the '70s that looked like it had a bright future, but unlike the Bora and Merak, it was intended to be a one-off concept car to attend shows and show gearheads the technologies Maserati was working on.
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The Boomerang was designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro and had a wedge shape with sharp angles that influenced his designs for the next decade. It would have been fast, as it was powered by a 4.7-liter DOHC V8 with 320 hp on tap.
As you've probably seen by now, Marcelo Gandini was on a roll in the '60s and '70s with his wedge-shaped masterpieces. Another Gandini design from the era we wish went into production is the Alfa Romeo Carabo concept.
Conceived in 1968, the Carabo had a stunning wedge-shaped design and a dark green and orange paint job. Many gearheads believe that the Carabo heavily influenced the Lamborghini Countach's design, and it's easy to see why.
When Ferrucio Lamborghini established Lamborghini in 1963, his goal was to take over the sports car market as quickly as possible. By the end of the '60s decade, Lamborghini had already built the legendary Miura and was impressing gearheads with futuristic concept cars like the Marzal.
Lamborghini unveiled the Marzal concept at the 1967 Geneva Motor and stunned the entire automotive industry with its crazy design featuring see-through glazed gullwing doors. However, Ferrucio Lamborghini never planned to produce the Marzal as he saw it more as a marketing tool.
The Testarossa is among the most popular classic Ferraris, which is why Ferrari used it as the base for one of its famous concept cars – the Mythos. The Mythos is a mid-engined, rear-wheel-drive concept car that stole the show at the 1989 Tokyo Motor Show.
The Mythos was based on the Testarossa but had a unique design penned by Pininfarina. The Mythos' design was so good that it later evolved into the legendary F50's design. Although the Mythos was intended to be a concept car, many experts believe that the Sultan of Brunei commissioned two.
In the quest to make sports cars as fast as possible, manufacturers have attempted many strategies. In the '50s, Fiat thought it was a good idea to install a gas turbine engine in a car, which is how the Turbina concept came to be.
The Turbina's story is quite interesting, as it was developed in secret by a three-man team that believed it could change the industry forever. Their idea almost worked, as the Turbina generated 291 hp at an unfathomable 30,000 rpm. Unfortunately, due to the volatile nature of gas turbines, the Turbina was plagued with many issues and the technology never caught on.
Martin is a seasoned content creator who has been writing about cars for over a decade, and has been in love with them for even longer. Growing up, Martin was surrounded by gearheads who instilled a deep love and understanding for cars in him at a young age. He loves to learn and write about all the developments happening in the auto industry – especially in the EV space. When he’s not writing about cars, he likes to spend quality time with his wife, kids, and fur baby.


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