This was a concept designed by a young Giorgetto Giugiaro who in 1970 had only recently joined Ital Design, and this was his fourth prototype he created since joining Ital Design. The car was actually based on the mid-engined porsche 914/6 and featured a 2.4 litre air-cooled flat 6 engine coupled with a 4 speed gearbox and was good for 220bhp.
I wouldn’t be surprised if you’ve never heard of or seen the Porsche Tapiro before, unless you were at the 1970 Turin Motor Show it’s unlikely that you would have come across it.
This car broke all the usual Porsche moulds, it featured gullwing doors for both the passenger cabin and storage compartments at the rear. The profile of the windscreen was almost at the same angle as the bonnet and as already mentioned the mid-mounted engine, all very unusual for a Porsche of this era.
It was first unveiled in 1970 at the Turin Motor Show and was never really meant for production, although you can see all the great Italian design elements of the seventies such as the wedge shape, plenty of glass and very little use of chrome.
By this time the Porsche 911 was already 20 years old and Porsche were considering a replacement, imagine if they had gone ahead with this. It would have been a completely different direction for Porsche both in style and design, especially with the engine no longer behind the rear wheels.
The one-off prototype which was delivered to the Turin Motor Show was a fully operational and road going model, after the show it was purchased by a wealthy Spanish Industrialist who actually used the car daily. But unfortunately it was blown up by terrorists protesting the owner’s labour policies. Even though the prototype had a very short life span it influenced many concept and production cars of the era, you can see the clean lines of the Tapiro on other manufacturers cars such as Lamborghini, Ferrari, Bugatti etc. it is often described as the “folded paper” era of car design.
The burnt and rusty remains of the car now live in Giugiaro’s Museum, a sad end for a car that could have been an iconic classic if it went into production.