With low profiles, origami-like angles, and razor-sharp contours, the wedge-shaped supercars of the 1970s were the epitome of outrageous automotive style. Whilst the likes of the Lamborghini Countach, the Lotus Esprit, and the BMW M1 were the on-road embodiment of this ethos, the Maserati Boomerang concept car that preceded them took this style to the limit. Now, more than 40 years after it made its first appearance, this one-off automotive icon will be offered for sale by auction.
Designed by Giorgetto Giugiaro, the Boomerang looks like it drove off the set of a science fiction film. However, it was originally shown at the 1971 Turin motor show as a static display vehicle, and huge public interest meant that by the 1972 Geneva motor show the Boomerang had been turned into a fully-operational road car and a rolling advertising machine for Maserati. Powered by a mid-mounted 310 bhp (230 kW) 4.7-liter V8 engine driving the rear wheels via a 5-speed gearbox, the Boomerang took many components from its production model sibling, the Maserati Bora.
Unlike the Bora, however, the Boomerang sported an outrageously raked windscreen, in front of a "glasshouse" passenger cabin replete with a huge sunroof and doors that were mostly made of glass. The interior of this cabin boasted a custom interior and a clever steering wheel arrangement that encompassed the gauges and switchgear in a circular dashboard straight in front of the driver.
A ground-breaking icon of the era, the influence of the Boomerang’s design can be seen in the work of many other of Giugiaro’s contemporaries, but it also continued to influence the man himself in his later works. It is particularly obvious in the Lotus Esprit, where the wedge-shape theme, vast, steeply-raked windscreen, and sharp edges epitomize his style, and the MK1 VW Golf, which is arguably one of Giugiaro’s most successful designs.
"The Boomerang was the first car of its time to create such a strong, angular style statement. It's considered by many to be one of the most remarkable designs of the 20th century and the 'grandfather' to the Volkswagen Golf Mk 1," Said Philip Kantor, Bonhams European Head of Motoring. "The Boomerang has been shown at many world-class events including exhibitions and concours d'élégance such as Villa d'Este and Pebble Beach, and is now offered at Bonhams first ever sale in Chantilly."
The Boomerang is a fully-registered road car, and was shown in many dozens of venues before being sold to a private buyer after the 1974 Barcelona Motor Show. Since then, the vehicle has appeared at the Bagatelle Concours in Paris in 1990, and – with a new owner – at the 1993 Concours Italiana, in Carmel California and Pebble Beach. In 2000 it was displayed at the Monterey Historic Automobile Races, and in 2005 it was once more sold by auction at Christie’s, where it fetched €781,250 (US$1,007,005). With the later owner it was then shown at Monte Carlo, Monaco, in 2012, then Belgium in 2013, followed by the Paris Motor Show in 2014.
Now this incredible vehicle is once more up for auction, this time through Bonham’s auction house, where it (and a host of other rare and interesting automobiles) will be center stage at the Château de Chantilly, the venue for this year’s sale on the 5th of September. With a price estimate yet to be publicly announced, given the previous sale price, the current market, and high interest in this vehicle, its sale price should be in the many millions of dollars.