Monday, July 22, 2013

The 1967 Lamborghini Marzal by Bertone, a Honeycomb Dashboard Masterpiece

The 1967 Lamborghini Marzal show car was one of the most striking, from top-to-bottom concept cars ever designed.

Debuting at the Geneva Auto Show, it was penned by Marcello Gandini (who also later designed the Countach) and built by Bertone, and it showed-off double-length gullwing glass doors, an impressive 175bhp inline six and a silhouette that would remain a mainstay of the Lamborghini line for another decade.

1967 Lamborghini Marzal by Bertone

It became the basis for the Espada, a street-monster that was to be one of Lamborghini's most popular models, and it's shape and style  instantly made everything else seem dated.

It was the star of the show at Geneva, and it created a buzz in England, wowing the Brits who were used to stodgy Vauxhalls and English Fords...

It had several memorable touches, including the transverse-mounted inline six, the honeycomb rear louvers, and my favorite look,  the hexagonal-themed dash and gauges.

Interior of the Lamborghini Marzal

You'll notice a couple of interesting differences between the first incarnation of the concept versus the final.

The steering wheel jumps out at you immediately. I may be in the minority, but I prefer the earlier style. It's more subtle, with theme cues that are there, but not as aggressive as the later version.

And the speedometer and tachometer gauges are unencumbered in version #2. It looks like the early concept was attempting a digital display, perhaps an LED readout, with "cones" narrowing from a wide base close to the dash and winnowing down to two-small displays. In my opinion, they were impractical as designed, since their screens were quite small, and that led to their removal and switch to analog.

There is a very cool honeycomb console warning panel with toggle switches, and accessory gauges and clock in the hexagons as well.

It was slyly influential. It embraced the Mod-Futuristic leanings of it's time, and exploited them. Compare the interior of the Marzal with it's four seat set-up...

With, say, the Jack Caroll concept drawings for the AMX around the same time...

The difference being that Bertone was BUILDING their design, instead of using it for production cues.

All in all, the Marzal was a stunning re-affirmation of the cutting edge approach taken by Lamborghini at the time. In a world of hive-thinking, they flew away from the nest and built their own high-speed, high-style colony!

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