Babe’s Bravo…

Posted: February 18, 2022 in Compound curvature, Fotos
Tags: ,
babe and alfa (Schlegelmilch)

Babe and the Lamborghini Bravo concept car at Monza in 1974…

In much the same way that Pininfarina and Ferrari developed a symbiotic relationship, so too over the decade after its formation did Lamborghini with Bertone; the Espada, Jarama, and outrageous Countach the result by 1973.

I can still remember as a schoolboy, my jaw-dropping awe at seeing the Countach, with test driver Bob Wallace at the wheel at Monaco in an Australian Sports Car World feature and being completely blown away by its looks and specifications.

The Ferraris of the day (246 Dino, 365 Boxer, 365GTB4, 365GT4) were so safe in their styling in comparison if totally seductive most cases. Lamborghini were avant garde in their styling and engineering, it’s only in more recent times Ferrari have the edginess in their styling. Whether one likes that evolution or not is another matter entirely.

Together with its V12s, Lamborghini launched a little-brother V8, the Urraco in 1970. Initially fitted with a 2.5-litre engine which grew to 3-litres. Bertone based its third Lambo dream car – after the ‘67 Marzal and ‘71 Countach – on the Urraco chassis.

bra back  (unattributed)

Bertone hoped the Studio-114 coded Bravo would be adopted as a two-seater to sit alongside the 2+2 Urraco in Lamborghini’s range.

Bravo was 20 inches shorter than Urraco, its wheelbase reduced by nearly by 8 inches to 88.6inches. The engine was the 3-litre, circa 300bhp 2996cc DOHC, two valve V8 of the P300 Urraco. The lightweight, all alloy V8 was fed by four twin-choke Webers, had a five speed ‘box of course, and disc brakes all round. In a 1970s road test, Road & Track praised the car for its power delivery, precision steering and its handling, writing that “it is everything the Urraco could and should have been.”

Building Bravo was a brave commercial move by Bertone management in the context of the times. The economic shocks of the oil crisis and stagflation, a blend of inflation, slow growth and persistent unemployment were problems governments globally were ineffectively dealing with.

Those factors gutted the market for prestige performance cars, in the event, Bravo didn’t reach production. As late as April 1978 the car made the cover of British magazine Motor, with Lambo’s Sales Director, Ubaldo Sgarzi quoted as saying a production version was still three-four years away. Off the back of the oil crisis it simply didn’t happen.

bra side (unattributed)

“The Bravo’s styling was certainly striking, in the vein of Marcello Gandini’s previous styling exercises for Bertone. The sharp wedge shape was cut off by flat, near-vertical surfaces front and rear. The base of the windscreen was set ahead of the front axle, and its very steep angle of rake almost matched that of the short front bonnet. Likewise, the surfaces at the top of both front and rear wings gently twisted to match the inclination of the side windows, a treatment Gandini had honed through the Stratos Zero and Countach.”

“The talented designer complemented this basic shape with some strong graphic features, such as the very geometric slats that pierced both front and rear bonnets or the slanted rear wheel-arch cut-outs that were becoming his trademark. The wheels themselves introduced the theme of the five round holes that remained a Lamborghini staple right up to the Murciélago.”

“Pop-up headlights were neatly concealed in the louvered front panel. While all other glass panels were meticulously mounted flush, the way the rear three-quarter window gently folded into the bodywork to create air intakes for the engine bay was another highlight of Gandini’s magic touch,” Sotheby wrote when selling the car Bertone’s behalf some years ago.

Click here for an interesting website CarStyling on automotive design generally and further Bravo photos:


Car Styling, Sotheby, Rainer Schlegelmilch

Tailpiece @ Monza…

bra mon (Schlegelmilch)


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