Eight Great Volkswagen-Italdesign Collaborations

1988 Audi Aztec/Aspid
The idea of a futuristic Audi-powered, Kevlar-bodied, dual-cockpit speedster concept entering limited production is quite absurd -- but that's exactly what happened to the Italdesign Aztec.

Italdesign prepared three concept cars -- the Aztec roadster, the Aspid coupe, and the Asgard minivan -- for the 1988 Turin motor show. In spite of their different bodywork, each featured a rear-mounted, turbocharged 2.5-liter Audi I-5 mated to an all-wheel-drive system cribbed from a Lancia Delta Integrale. Both the Aztec and Aspid bore some resemblance to Giugario's 1984 Ford Maya concept, save for the unusual-looking rear fenders and wheelskirts.

All three designs were simply intended to be show vehicles, but a Japanese industrialist -- smitten with the looks of the Aztec -- bought the production rights to the car, and pushed the car into limited production. Each car was identical to the concept, and ran buyers nearly $750,000 a piece. At least 18 were completed, although a production run of 50 cars was originally planned.

The front of the car doesn't look very "pedestrian-friendly". If someone was hit by the car, the injuries would be serious. It would be surprising if European regulations didn't outlaw such a configuration. Furthermore, it really isn't an aerodynamically advantageous; a small change is relative wind could cause the car to lift, as been the case with many race cars, even at moderate speeds.

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