1969 Farago CF428 Coupe – The Italian Pontiac

There are no shortage of beautiful American-made cars, but I believe that when Americans and Italians combine their talents to build a car, the results are truly magic. There are numerous examples from history such as the Hudson Italia, an American car that wore a body designed by Carrozzeria Touring. Another example is the DeTomaso Mangusta and the Pantera, designed by Ghia and powered by Ford V8 engines. Though they were not hugely successful, the Stutz Blackhawk and the Chrysler TC by Maserati also paired American powertrains with Italian-designed bodies.

At the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, I discovered another car that followed the “American powertrain + Italian design” formula. Designated as a 1969 Farago CF428 coupe, this car was a one-off prototype created by Paul Farago and Sergio Coggiola, formerly of Ghia. Coggiola and Farago were two designers who formed Carrozzeria Coggiola in 1969.

Their first project was from none other than John DeLorean, who was at the time head of the highly successful Pontiac division over at General Motors. DeLorean wanted a concept car that would grab attention for Pontiac, something exciting that could be used to promote the brand. A 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix with a 428 cubic inch V8 was appropriated for the project.

Though it maintains its Pontiac drivetrain and chassis, the resulting coupe is a low-slung, wedge-shaped car that looks like a more refined, sophisticated Pontiac that just spent a semester studying abroad. The extreme angle of the windshield and seamless integration of the roof into the rear deck reminds me of the Ford Mustang Mach I with the Sportsroof body style. Though the sheet metal has been changed dramatically from a Grand Prix, the car retains its Pontiac door handles, tail lights, and interior.

The car was displayed at the 2017 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance by its owner Frank Campanale of Michigan, who is a relative of Farago. The car captured the 3rd Place win in its category of “American Dream Cars of the 1960s,” a well-deserved honor.

After this project, Paul Farago went on to work with Virgil Exener from Chrysler on the Stutz Blackhawk, which also used a Pontiac drivetrain. He also worked on the Maserati Ghibli, which bears a stunning resemblance with its long hood and short deck.

This car never made it into production, but I find it fascinating to see what a 1970s collaboration between Pontiac and Italian designers would have looked like.

2012 Mastretta MXT Prototype Coupe

I was definitely surprised to see this prototype at the Russo and Steele auction.  It’s the Mastretta MXT, the first Mexican made sports car. To me that is the cars only claim to fame, but who knows, maybe we will see more of them jetting around Scottsdale road one day. Originally, I knew nothing about this car other than a bit about the Top Gear controversy. Continue reading

2004 Chrysler ME Four-Twelve Supercar

The world of supercars is dominated by the likes of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, McLaren, and so many others – but these are not the only players in the game. You might be surprised to learn that Chrysler also tested the waters of the supercar market not long ago.

In 2004, Chrysler unveiled the ME Four-Twelve supercar, which was not a concept car but a prototype of a car that was slated to be put into production. The car debuted at the North American International Auto Show (NAIAS) in Detroit, and I caught up with it at the Arizona International Auto Show that same year. Continue reading

Car and Driver Scan – 1979 Turbo Corvette Prototype

This article was published in the September 1979 issue of Car and Driver. It’s pretty sad how little power they were able to make with a turbo small block but it’s still an interesting read, and hey, we wouldn’t be where we are today if the designers of the past hadn’t continued to trudge through the depressing mess that was the automotive industry of the 70s and early 80s. Also, check out that CompuCruise ad at the bottom of the last page. I want one! I’ve also inserted the text from this article beneath the scans in case you’d rather read it that way.

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