words by pablo deferrari photo authors unknown
"...the Italians had superhero design powers that every car manufacturer sought…"
Already bumming superb engineering from Porsche with their version of an air-cooled flat-6, Bill Mitchell, who in 1958 succeeded the legendary Harley Earl, became the Vice President of Styling at GM had other plans for the Corvair. You see, Bill was out to change the chrome excess and fat fin thinking that Earl established with a more avant-garde mindset. What he decided to do was give Pinin Farina and Bertone a Corvair each and have them come up with a concept fit for the European market...that’s where the fun began, and Bertone nailed it.
The Testudo was a complete departure from what was in vogue at the time, notably the smooth, uncluttered design free from anything that disrupted its lines. In order to achieve this look, the pop-up headlamps were flat against the body and still visible, the bumpers were fully integrating utilizing wrap-around polycarbonate tail lamps (a never before used technology), and a forward hinged canopy allowed access to the cockpit. And because the engine was in the rear, the front was devoid of any openings that would’ve normally existed had it been placed there. Fix a set of wings (preferably of delta design) to the body and it was ready for take-off; clearly it had more in common with aeronautics than anything automotive.
Anatole acknowledged his love for the Testudo…the impression was cast.