Journal: Our 5 Favorite Giugiaro Wedge Cars

Our 5 Favorite Giugiaro Wedge Cars

Petrolicious Productions By Petrolicious Productions
July 24, 2015

Though a number of designers started to pen wedge-shaped cars at roughly the same time through the late ’60s and early ’70s, none of them used the form as regularly as Giorgetto Giugiaro, who was able to apply the design principles of a wedge’d supercar to a five-door hatchback.

Here are our five favorites from Italdesign Giugiaro’s back catalogue.

1968 Bizzarrini Manta by Italdesign

Yes, Marcello Gandini of Bertone (and the Alfa Romeo Carabo) introduced the first wedge’d supercar concept at Salon de l’Automobile in 1968, while Giugiaro’s Bizzarini Manta waited until later in the year at Turin for its debut. Why? Giugiaro had only founded the company in February of that year! Designed and built in forty days around an Iso Grifo chassis and powered by a Chevrolet V8, it still moves under its own power.

While not a wedge in the most strict sense, it signaled the start of his long affair with modifying a wedge to suit the design job. (The Alfa Romeo Iguana by Italdesign is the ‘missing link’ in many respects between the Manta and our next selection…)

1970 Porsche Tapiro by Italdesign

Those of you with a Porsche 914 already know about this car, and very likely wish that this body was what the car left the factory with—but, of course, imagine how much more the car would have cost in period!

One of our favorite “what ifs”, the one and only Tapiro was severely damaged in a fire, but we can just imagine a production version of the car rubbing shoulders with the (Ferrari) Dino 206 GT and 246 GT at auction. For what it’s worth, Italdesign refers to the car as its first “official” wedge-shaped car.

1970 Maserati Boomerang by Italdesign

Shown three years after the Tapiro, by 1970, the famously hard-working Giugiaro had already shown a number of wedges after the Tapiro but the 1973 Boomerang was his next evolution of the theme: an extreme take on an angular supercar.

Based on the Maserati Bora and powered by a 310 horsepower V8 engine and “capable of” 186 mph (300 km/h), the Boomerang used just about every design trick in the book to make its extreme 13º windshield angle (two degrees less than on the Manta) work—but, of course it did.

1975 Lotus Esprit by Italdesign

One of the world’s first production wedge-shaped cars, it arrived two years after the Lancia Stratos but is a design more dedicated to a wholly angular shape. Fitting perfectly with Colin Chapman and Lotus F1’s on-track successes, the small displacement 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder powered road-going Esprit was every bit an equal to many higher-powered ’70s sports cars.

Windshield angle? Eighteen degrees, about the same as the Manta—and that means it took less than a decade for Giugiaro’s wedge shapes to enter production.

1976 Alfa Romeo New York Taxi by Italdesign

Responding to a challenge by MoMa’s open challenge to design a taxi of tomorrow, Italdesign’s approach was to take its sexy wedge lines and create one of the few Alfa Romeos with sliding doors that we’d actually want to drive. Built around the company’s F12 van platform, it was given an interior makeover that used a steeply raked windshield and barely-there hood to maximize passenger space. In other words, it took less than a decade for Giugiaro to make the wedge wheelchair accessible.

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Sifu AlexPorsche928s4Edward LevinDennis CavallinoIan Miles Recent comment authors
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Sifu Alex
Sifu Alex

I live in NYC. I would have loved to see those Alfa taxis instead of the Crown Victorias they did use..


The Tapiro look super cool. Imagine a replica with a 3.6 on carburetors. And in carbon!

Edward Levin
Edward Levin

I’d say you could easily argue that the M1 was more deserving of a spot on the list than the Tapiro, which has some awkward details.

Dennis Cavallino
Dennis Cavallino

Many ‘journalists’ try to impress us, readers, with their knowledge and opinions. But we aren’t interested in your opinion, we have our own. I love to see the Tapiro in this list, but without the M1 this list is meaningless. BTW The Tapiro is being restored, if not finished already. I wrote an article about that car many years ago, when there wasn’t many information about it on the internet. I just love that car, it’s design and those weird luggage windows in the back. Did you forget the Alfa Romeo Iguana, or don’t you just know that concept car?… Read more »

Ian Miles
Ian Miles

The BMW M1 look unremarkable and by then the wedge was not new coming, as it did 2 years after the Esprit.

Ian Miles
Ian Miles

The Lotus Esprit. Even though it was launched in 1976 it is still beautiful and striking. The final incarnations were also as beautiful as the original, especially with the V8. James May even demonstrated how rugged it was though, against the prevailing view, though unable to resist a good beating from stroppy Argies.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

But errr … how pray tell did the BMW M1 not make it onto this list ? For shame gentlemen . For shame ! As to the Lotus Esprit .. though its a personal favorite and to this day one of GG’s most iconic designs [ after the M1 ] the sad fact was and is the Esprit in all its iterations never quite lived up to e the promise it held , its design or its Lotus heritage especially in comparison to its direct competitors . Fact is if you owned/own an Esprit you pretty much have to resign… Read more »

Teodor N?stase
Teodor N?stase

What about the DeLorean?

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger

Yup ! Although the DeLorean itself is a complete pile of disparately engineered garbage its a solid #3 after the M1 and Esprit when it comes to GG’s iconic wedge designs . Number four in my opinion being the Alfa Romeo Alfetta GT Coupe .