Concept cars have always been a way for brands to showcase their creativity.
Making use of new technologies, they provide an avenue to let the imagination run wild. So when Lamborghini decided to create a concept car in the 1960s, there was no doubt that it would be special.
Lamborghini created the Marzal for the 1967 Geneva Motor Show. The car was designed by automobile designer Marcello Gandini, who had previously designed the Miura. Gandini worked at Bertone - a company that designed and manufactured cars for Lamborghini, Ferrari and Alfa Romeo among others. This provided him with an abundance of knowledge and resources, which proved invaluable for the Marzal project.
Gandini wanted the car to be unlike any other available at the time. Ferruccio Lamborghini was looking to add a 4 seater GT to Lamborghini’s cars. So Gandini decided to attempt the 4 seater configuration with the Marzal. He extended a Miura chassis by 120mm for this purpose. As the 4L V12 engine wouldn’t fit into this configuration, he got it split in half. This resulted in a transverse, rear mounted in-line six engine with a 2.0L capacity.
The length of the car was balanced out with a futuristic design that made the car appear more spacious. Instead of opting for the traditional 4-door configuration, Marcello Gandini gave the Marzal glazed gull-wing doors. This was supplemented with a smoked glass roof, effectively giving the car an open look. With a steel body, aluminium hood, glass doors and a glass roof, the car passed for a space-age vehicle. Interior upholstery in silver furthered this futuristic look. In designing the Marzal, Gandini incorporated several hexagonal motifs throughout, which became yet another unique feature of the car. From the headlamps, metallic louvres and Campagnolo Magnesium wheels, to the dashboard and even the seats, hexagonal shapes were a prominent feature in the design.
On debuting, the Lamborghini Marzal received positive reviews from automobile experts. The car was driven by the Prince of Monaco and his wife for the 1967 Monaco GP parade lap, following which it attained celebrity status. Despite its popularity, the unusual design made it infeasible for the Marzal to be a production car. However, taking cues from Marzal’s design, Lamborghini soon released the Espada. Some of the Marzal’s design elements like the hexagonal patterning can still be seen in many Lamborghini models till date.
The original Lamborghini Marzal became a part of the Bertone Design Study Museum after its expos. It was then sold off to a private collector in 2011. In 2018, it appeared in public once again, at the Grand Prix de Monaco Historique. Driven by Monaco’s Prince Albert II, the Marzal once again displayed the imaginative power of the Lamborghini brand, transcending normality in the present as it did in the past.