Experimentation is the distinguishing feature of the visionary Tuscan designer’s career. Among all his works, two particular projects focus specifically on aerodynamic research, two record cars born between the Fifties and Sixties: the 1956 Fiat-Abarth 750 Record and the 1963 Stanguellini-Guzzi Colibrì
Drawings courtesy of Massimo Grandi
When we talk of record cars, our thoughts turn instantly to a formal repertoire linked closely to that essential purpose of pure speed, just like aircraft, where everything is based on efficiency and nothing is expressed in its aesthetic dimension. But when the research into this efficiency reaches the highest levels of synthesis between form and function, when function, or rather functionality, reaches the limits of perfection, form is also expressed in all its coherent beauty.
Talking in terms of aesthetics, how can we not admire the beauty, for example, of a 1943 Lockheed L-049 Constellation, the four-engine plane with a triple tail which is still considered today by specialised literature as one of the most elegant planes ever made: the sinuous main lines of the fuselage were designed to optimise aerodynamic penetration, but ended up representing one of the most characteristic elements of the plane, creating a simple yet sophisticated appearance with an elegant profile reminiscent of a grey heron in flight. These forms were not intentionally designed to be “aesthetic”, there was no research into beauty, but they were rather merely the response to technical specifications, created by adopting solutions based on the mathematical principles of aerodynamics.