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Saturday, July 25, 2015

The Forgotten Marvel: The Bizzarrini Manta Concept Car

~Forgotten ICON~ In the realm of automotive design, there are moments when innovation takes a daring leap, and the Bizzarrini Manta concept car of 1968 epitomizes such a daring leap. This iconic vehicle marked the inception of ItalDesign, one of the world's renowned automobile design firms.
1968 Bizzarrini Manta. (Picture from: ClassicDriver)
The genesis of the Bizzarrini Manta traces back to a racing pedigree, the Bizzarrini P538. Giorgetto Giugaro, a talented car designer with prior experience at various Italian automakers and design houses, envisioned this retired racing champion as his opportunity to chart his own course.
1966 Bizzarinni P538. (Picture from: LSXMag)
One of the most striking features of the Manta, aside from its flamboyant color scheme, is its seating arrangement. Positioned at the center is the driver's seat, resembling a bench, with passengers flanking on either side. This unique configuration had all three occupants riding shoulder to shoulder, making for an unconventional but captivating experience.
Left side view of 1968 Bizzarrini Manta. (Picture from: ClassicDriver)
Entering the Manta as the driver requires opening one of its extravagantly long doors, initially occupying the passenger seat, and then gracefully sliding over into the driver's position. Remarkably, negotiating the gearshift lever posed no significant challenge.

Given its status as a concept car, the Manta's seats and steering column lack adjustability. This leaves an average-sized driver in a somewhat awkward situation, with the steering wheel positioned between their knees.
Interior view of 1968 Bizzarrini Manta. (Picture from: ClassicDriver)
Despite its Italian origins, the Manta boasts a heart of Detroit steel. Nestled behind the passenger compartment is a potent 400-horsepower 5.4-liter Chevrolet V8 engine. Opting for a rear-mounted engine, Giugario chose to let the car's form flow organically from its engineering. He refrained from elongating the hood unnecessarily or concealing the extended rear, resulting in a clean, uncluttered profile that gracefully rises over the engine, passes through the passenger compartment, and descends to meet the ground in front. 
Rear side view of 1968 Bizzarrini Manta. (Picture from: ClassicDriver)
Debuting at the prestigious 1968 Turin Motor Show, the Bizzarrini Manta has since earned its place as one of the most influential concept cars of the 1960s. In its heyday, it graced the cover of Road & Track magazine, and Motor Trend hailed it as "one of the major stars of the exhibit." After its captivating premiere in Turin, the Manta embarked on a global tour, captivating audiences in Tokyo and Los Angeles as well.

Ultimately, the Manta reemerged from obscurity, shedding light on its whereabouts during its mysterious hiatus. Its reappearance only added to its enigmatic allure, cementing its status as an icon of automotive design and history.
A 400 hp 5.4-liter Chevrolet V8 engine in the 1968 Bizzarrini Manta. (Picture from: Supercars.net)
The Bizzarrini Manta's tale serves as a testament to the audacity of innovation in the world of automobiles. It embodies the spirit of breaking boundaries, pushing the envelope, and venturing into uncharted territory. Giugaro's vision and the car's captivating design remain timeless, reminding us that even in the world of lost legends, greatness can resurface and captivate anew.
In conclusion, the Bizzarrini Manta concept car, with its unconventional seating, Detroit power, and iconic design, stands as a testament to the audacity of innovation in the automotive world. Its mysterious disappearance and eventual reappearance only add to its legend, making it a symbol of timeless design and the enduring spirit of automotive creativity. *** [EKA [25072015] | FROM VARIOUS SOURCES | SUPERCARS.NET | CLASSICDRIVER | LSXMAG ] 
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