Cylon on wheels - the Bertone designed Alfa Romeo Pandion
This year's Geneva Motor Show has seen a deluge of delectable concepts unveiled and one of the finest pieces of eye-candy presented must surely be the Pandion. Created to celebrate Alfa Romeo’s one hundred year anniversary and also marking 75 years of collaboration with Italy’s legendary styling house Bertone (think Lamborghini Countach among many others), the Pandion hides a 4.7 liter, 450 CV 8-cylinder Alfa Romeo engine beneath some very, very well honed curves.
Conceived as "pure dream car," the Pandion is the first produced by Mike Robinson in his new role as Design and Brand Director at Bertone.
The elongated doors (we're talking around 10 feet) open backwards and upwards from a rear hinge on the wheel arch and sit at 90 degrees to the horizontal - sort of taking a gull-wing and turning it into a rabbit-ear, but with a stunning visual result. The designers say there's also a practical spin-off, with the huge doors making it easier to get in and out of the vehicle, although at just 1230 mm (48") high. The doors are also designed to detach from the car body in a roll-over accident.
The short rear end is marked by quad tailpipes and "crystal-like blades which are intertwined in various widths and lengths, protruding out into space," while the deeply buried headlights and a narrow T-shaped grill at the front would make this the perfect ride for a Cylon.
Inside, the distinctive backlit, “swimming pool blue” seats are constructed from carbon fiber shells just over an inch thick. There's two analogue dials placed directly on the steering column in the tradition of Alfa sports cars and three of the four LCD screens are linked to external video cameras that replace the rear view mirrors. The fourth, 9-inch screen shows air conditioning, sound system, Sat Nav and other info on the car's systems.
"Cars are like films: they must tell a story to win people over", says Mike Robinson. "The best car designers are necessarily excellent narrators and their products, whether they are concept cars or mass-produced products, reflect their creators’ ability to gather fascinating ideas from every field, from all over the world, to bring them together and transform them into new and great stories. This is what we have attempted to do with the Alfa Pandion.’
Incidentally, the name Pandion is from "Pandion Haliaetus" - the scientific name for an Osprey.
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It\'s a brilliant LOOKS design, but safety wise... it\'s a beautiful steel/composite coffin. Too Italian for me: All heart and no brain. It is however the perfect brand. Alfa owners don\'t get bothered by these \"minor details\" as long as it\'s got the ignition key on the left side and the engine roars good enough. (too caustic?)
The safety of the doors is also mentioned in this article, as they are designed to actually fall totally off in the case of a roll over. If such a car was made, and I could buy it, I\'d be in a world where the word \"practical\" is meaningless. My garage would be tall enough. If venturing into some lower part of society, where garages may be accordingly low and have lesser floors than marble covered by shiny white silk sheets, one could easily exit the Pandion without lifting the doors all the way up.
I once sat in a Diablo, not driving, but I\'ve just seen the tremendous Lamborhini Countach, the Worlds fastest car for 20 years, and what all real supercars since have been more or less copying. It was not made to be safe. It was a pure ultimate racing machine made just about road legal and put into a groundbreaking design package. It\'s such a fine tuned on the edge machinery it needs half an hour of warm up before you can drive it properly. Hardly a means of transportation. Its road grip and stability are of stellar proportions. If you manage to roll a Countach, your need speed enough to imply there are no doors left to open. Nor will you be abe to worry about it. You may hope to have appendages to your shoulders resembling the Pandion doors (Angel wings?).
Same kind of logic may be used to some degree on any car made for pure fun. And actually on any car at all, but with differens types of compromises made. Big family cars may be safe and run cheap, and last long, but they are totally boring in every meaning of the word. Still extremely good some of them, for what they are. Italy has allways had a strong hold on the totally wild and beautiful side of cars, without allways gripping all other qualities that may match, but they\'re worth it. Easily!
This Alfa can let loose from reality even more, as it\'s ONLY a beautiful dream.