The Porsche and the Plinth

25 August 2022

For the 1970 Car Show season, Giorgetto Giugiaro designed the ItalDesign Porsche Tapiro; ‘a crisply folded mid-engined double gull-wing doored (gull-wing doors for both the passenger compartment and the engine bay) exotic coupé based on a Volkswagen Porsche 914/6.

Prototypical metallic silver with a warm butterscotch leather-lined cabin adorned the Tapiro.

A Porsche S-specification 2.4-litre flat-six was fitted and allegedly good for 220 hp and a reported top speed of about 150mph.

Unveiled at the 1970 Turin Auto Show in Turin. The Tapiro then made its US première in 1971 at the 5th Annual Los Angeles Imported Automobile and Sports Car Show.

It was evident from the beginning that Porsche had no real intention to license or produce the Tapiro, so in 1972 the one-off Tapiro was sold off after completing its rounds during the 1970 and 71 Motor Show circuits.

Supposedly, a group of social activists who strongly objected to the Tapiro’s owner’s trade and labour relations policies set out to make their displeasure clear in the most dramatic of ways; they planted a bomb beneath the car. The car was irreparable. Fortunately, there is no record of injuries.

Some years later, Giorgetto Giugiaro and his son reacquired the badly burnt shell, mounted on a plinth and displayed in the garden of their ItalDesign headquarters in Torino.