In 1967 I was fourteen, and perhaps one of the earlier exponents of the eighties’ teenage tradition of having a Lamborghini pinup on my bedroom wall. And there it is again thanks to google images. You’re so familiar; every detail, line and curve of your body is etched in my memory, how often I rode you off into my dreams…
The 1967 Marzal was a breakthrough car, at a time when there were so many. It’s purpose was to create a true four passenger mid-engined sports coupe, as a follow-up on the groundbreaking Miura mid-engined super sports car. Built on a lengthened Miura chassis, the Marzal had a 175 hp two-liter six tucked between the rear wheels, essentially the Miura’s V12 cut in half.
The Marzal’s body design was by Marcello Gandini, who also takes credit for the Miura. It’s brilliant, and surprisingly practical to boot.
The Miura pioneered and popularized rear louvers, and the Marzal took them to the next level, or two. This was seriously hot stuff in 1967. Think of some American cars from 1967 for perspective.
I don’t want to rub it in for you younger ones, but living through the sixties was a treat. Just about every day, something radically new appeared, whether it was music, clothes, drugs, ideas, or cars. And the era really hit its peak from about 1966 through 1970 or so. The Marzal was a serious early high point in one of the most creative eras ever. Nobody had done anything like this before.
Especially interiors and dashboards like this.
It wasn’t just that it was cool, but the Marzal really grabbed me because it was a very early exponent of the “unibody” look. By that I’m not referring to the usual use of that word, but how the sides, and especially the rear quarters form a continuous plane from bottom to top, a unified whole.
The other new car of 1966 that also espoused that design was the Toronado, with its integrated rear quarters-C Pillar. Everybody else was mostly still stuck with putting a greenhouse on top of a lower body. Not these two. As handsome as the Toro is, the Marzal’s proportions have it beat by a healthy margin.
Of course, this quickly became a major design trend, especially apparent on AMC’s 1968 Javelin and even more so on the AMX.
And the 1970 Camaro owes more than a passing tip of the hat to the Marzal. As do many others.
Well, it’s bed time for me now, and I can think of worse things than having the Marzal in my head as I drift off….now if I could only sleep as soundly as I did in 1966.