Both design houses produced impressive concepts, but it was the stunning Corvair Testudo of Bertone’s young Giorgetto Giugiaro that turned the most heads at the ’63 Geneva Motor Show. The ‘Testudo’ – or ‘turtle’ – featured a shortened Corvair Monza chassis, the standard air-cooled flat-six engine, but came presented with a bold waistline and arching canopy evocative of a turtle shell.
Giugiaro later revealed the car opened up new design possibilities for him, no longer leading him to design in “two separate parts” or views of a car, but rather as “one part blending together.”
Ironically, the Testudo didn’t lead a wholly grandiose life as its gorgeous flanks would suggest. The concept was heavily damaged in the mid ’60s and went un-repaired for close to three decades. Its iconic lines didn’t however go unnoticed. One could argue a direct semblance between the Testudo and the likes of the Ferrari Daytona and the Bertone-styled Lamborghini Miura. But what isn’t up for debate is the Porsche it influenced – the 1977 Porsche 928.
Tony Lapine, Porsche’s design director, cited the Testudo as a driving force behind the design of the 928. It certainly wasn’t a shape he would have forgotten. Before Lapine joined Porsche, he worked for Bill Mitchell at GM and was responsible for crafting the Corvair Monza GT and SS concept cars – the Testudo’s American contemporaries – with Larry Shinoda.
The iconic pop-up headlights mark perhaps the most immediate resemblance from 928 to Testudo, but so too does its rounded rear section, which leads into a sweeping canopy, as well as its definitive waist which wraps around to meet an angular fascia.
It’s an unforgettable design, though given the Testudo is a one-off, it would be exceedingly difficult to put in your garage. The 928 on the other hand exists quite commonly in nature. This sleek blue example pictured above is a 1982 Porsche 928, which shows around 54,000 miles on the clock and features the sought after manual gearbox.
Photo Credit: RM Auctions