Supercars and Concept cars of the late 1960s and early 1970s.
The late 1960s was an exciting time for car design, with car manufacturers developing supercars and concept cars that utilised the new mid-engine car layout. The mid-mounted engine had been developed in the late 1950's and early 1960's, through design developments in Formula 1, by the racing team Cooper. Many car manufacturers were aware of the handling advantages the new layout had over front engine sports cars and consequently wanted to utilise this new technology.
There were further developments in car aerodynamics too. By the mid 1960's, smoother, flatter profiles in car design were found to reduce drag, allowing cars to cut through the air more efficiently and travel faster. The mid-engine layout did away with the need for cars to have long bonnets. By integrating the angle of a shorter bonnet with the windscreen (forming a wedge shape), aerodynamic improvements were made. In the late 1960s, Designers such as Giorgetto Giugiaro and Marcello Gandini were instrumental in this development, designing such legendary supercar concepts as the Bizzarinni Manta and Alfa Romeo Carabo.
Alfa Romeo Carabo 1968 - Click to enlarge
With both the new mid-engine layout and the aerodynamic improvements, sports cars took on a new futuristic form, showing people a glimpse into the future. Cars such as the Lancia Stratos Concept car exemplified this forward thinking and paved the way for supercars as we know them today. The oil crisis and economic down turn of the mid 1970s put a halt to the development of supercars. Only in the mid 1980's would we see a resurgence of interest, with supercar concepts like the Ford Maya and Lotus Etna. By the late 1980s, supercars were again being developed and produced, such as the Ferrari F40, Jaguar XJ220 and Mclaren F1.
Lancia Stratos Zero 1970
Todays supercars feature the same mid engine layout and wedge shaped designs, evident in cars such as the Lamborghini Gallardo and Murcielago. Above are some examples of supercar concepts from the late 1960s and early 1970s.