Cohort Classic: 1969 Pontiac Farago CF 428 – John DeLorean Asks For An Exciting Car And Gets One

Thank you Dean Edwards for jogging my memory of a car that had slipped into the dusty back shelves of my internal library. The 1969 Pontiac Farago CF 428 was the result of John Z. DeLorean asking his friend, the distinguished engineer and designer Paul Farago to come up with something exciting for the 1969 auto tour season, as well as just to add some more spice to Pontiac’s already hot reputation. The result is this stunning automobile.

The first two shots by Dean at a car show don’t do it full justice, so I’ve found some more that show it off a bit better.

Does this remind you more than a bit of the 1971 Mustang Sport Roof? Of course I could also ask if it reminds you of the 1967 Lamborghini Marzal, Marcello Gandini’s seminal masterpiece that was so highly influential. Other influences will undoubtedly come to mind, both before and after this particular car. Toronado? AMX/3? 1971 Mopar B-Body coupes?

Farago, an Italian-American who had a colorful career in sports car racing, sports car building, had a close relationship with Virgil Exner and Luigi Segre of Ghia. He became Ghia’s rep in the US, and was something of an intermediary for the fruitful relationship of Exner and Ghia that resulted in so many concept and production cars. Farago was the chief engineer of the limited production Dual-Ghia cars.

Farago had left Ghia by this time and had teamed up with Sergio Coggiola, and this was the first project for the firm ‘Carrozziere Coggiola’, in Turin.

Farago bridged the two countries for decades, and his namesake car here shows the two influences quite clearly. It’s a hybrid of two cultural trends; an Italian muscle car, or an American gran turismo. Your pick, or just both simultaneously.

It’s not perfect, by any means; the proportions are a bit off, with the hood length trying a bit too hard to challenge the Lincoln Mk III for the longest in the land. As best as I can tell, it’s sitting on a Pontiac GP chassis, and of course has a 428 under the hood, in 370 hp guise.

It’s wearing some prototype experimental Firestone LXX tires, which were unusual in having a narrow rim and then flaring out horizontally. I couldn’t readily find anything on them on the web, but I do remember reading about them at the time. Flat run capability was the main advantage. I rather assume these are the original tires from 1969, as I don’t exactly imagine they can be reproductions.

Here’s some shots of the Farago at Pebble Beach, with some August company.

A fine example of a coach-built special of the times. Imagine taking your 1969 Pontiac GP chassis and shopping around for a new body for it. One could do a lot worse than this exciting design. DeLorean got Pontiac’s money’s worth.