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RETRO Concepts

The 1970s melded science fiction and the mythology of the flying car into a rare breed of concept vehicles.

August 2014, Auto Dealer Today - Feature

by Stephane Babcock

1970 Ferrari 512S Modulo

The Ferrari 512S Modulo concept was designed by Paolo Martin of Pininfarina, an independent Italian design firm. Starting with a 1968 Ferrari 612 Can Am with a 512S chassis, Martin created a car with an extremely low profile. The canopy-style roof slides forward to allow the driver to get behind the wheel of this uber-futuristic car. The wheels are partly covered, giving viewers only a sliver of the bottom treads. Vents in the engine cover reveal the Ferrari V-12 engine, which boasted 550 horsepower, a top speed of 220 miles per hour and a zero-to-60 time of 3.1 seconds.

1970 Nissan 126X

After watching their Japanese rivals bring futuristic concept cars to the 1969 Tokyo Motor Show, Nissan decided to create a model for the following year. The result, the 126X concept, featured rainbow lighting on the hood and a wedgelike body line. Although the 126X included a three-liter version of the Nissan L’s six-cylinder engine mounted in the rear, the model pictured never made it onto the test track.

The 1970 Econoline Kilimanjaro 

Ford’s Econoline Kilimanjaro concept looked like it was pulled from a B movie set in the Serengeti. This safari van was touted as being rugged and spacious, with four-wheel-drive capability that could power through murky jungles or blazing desert dunes. The exterior finish, called “Bush Jacket Beige,” was accented with a leopard skin print that gave it that extra Tarzan-esque touch. The side windows could open and fold back to give rear passengers a clear view of any jungle prey. 

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