Sunday, May 29, 2011

Meet the DAF 55 Siluro, One of the first Wedge-Shaped Cars

Concorso d'Eleganza Seen On www.coolpicturegallery.us
The Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza was definitely the place to be for those who love rare classic cars and have the necessary cash to indulge in such an expensive passion. The event, which took place in Italy this past weekend, was packed with a stunning array of classic production and concept models in mint condition. One of the studies that caught our attentions was the strange-looking DAF 55 Siluro.

Back in the days when Dutch company DAF was still building passenger cars (Volvo bought its car making business in 1975), Italian designer Giovanni Michelotti was assigned to create a study for the brand that would be the pride of Daf's booth at the 1968 Geneva Motor Show.

The DAF 55 Siluro was based on the Daf 55, a small passenger car sold in The Netherlands. The coupe concept owed its Siluro name (Italian for torpedo) to its rather unusual shape. It must have looked stunning in 1968, as it was a car well ahead of its time. It was the first wedge-shaped car designed by Michelotti, who also penned production cars for Triumph, DAF and BMW. The Siluro predated Bertone's 1970 Lancia Stratos Zero and 1971 Lamborghini Countach concept studies, paving the way for wedge-shaped supercars that took the '70s and '80s by storm.

However, unlike those powerful supercars, the DAF 55 Siluro had a modest powertrain comprising of a 50HP 1.1-liter water-cooled engine from the Renault 10 and a Variomatic transmission The two-seater never made it to production and the only example was kept by Michelotti in perfect condition until his death in 1980. His son inherited the car, but its condition deteriorated through the years and the Siluro needed a thorough restoration.

Michelotti's son eventually sold it to a German car dealer, which in his turn offered it to the DAF Museum in the Netherlands. Finally, the car received a much needed restoration and became a permanent exhibit at the company's museum in Eindhoven in 2005.

More than four decades after its Geneva debut, the DAF 55 Siluro made a very rare public appearance at the Villa d'Este Concorso d'Eleganza, where the following photos were taken. Scroll down to check them all out.

By Dan Mihalascu

PHOTO GALLERY

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