World's weirdest Ferrari? Look inside the obscure Conciso Concept
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If I say '90s Ferrari, your thoughts are likely to immediately land on cars like the gorgeous F355, or the much faster and ... uhh ... much less gorgeous F50. Perhaps you'll even think about Miami Vice or Magnum PI — shows from the '80s that lived on well into the '90s on Kiwi TV screens.
I bet you don't think of this thing.
It started life as a Ferrari 328 GTS, before a gent named Bernd Michalak got his hands on it. The German scribbler and his wife Jutta started his own coach-building company — Michalak Design — in 1979. Since then he's designed several curious things, including accessories for the Smart Car, a convertible and wide-bodied Opel Corsa (ahem, Holden Barina) called the 'Corsaspider', and soft-top mechanisms for the first-generation Viper and the Ferrari 550 Barchetta.
But the 328 GTS kicked off what was arguably his most ambitious project. It was gutted, with the Ferrari V8 and gated manual transmission among the few things to hang around.
Just about everything else was completely new. Like most concepts from the period, bubbles and circles are prevalent everywhere, from the curvy dashboard to the curious center console, to the big beige suede inserts in the doors.
Well, 'doors' is a stretch. Michalak's car didn't have doors — driver and passenger would have to hop over the sides in what I assume was a less-than-graceful manoeuvre.
There was also no roof, and no real windscreen. Yes, there's a tiny screen in front of the cockpit, but it's only really tall enough to protect the driver's chin or neck.
The absence of a windscreen was combated with two black helmets; which had their own little moulded cubby holes in the not-doors.
Of course, the interior is only part of the weird. The exterior is the real hero here. Two separate black front wheel arches emerge from the front bodywork; both housing a headlight. The rear remains sort of conventional, and the side has a generous Ferrari-esque vent to direct air into the engine-bay.
It looks like Ford's GT90 concept, a Lotus Elise, and a McLaren F1 had sex ... while a Ferrari F355 was watching.
The weirdo aesthetics all had a purpose; weight savings. Michalak's creation was some 30 per cent lighter than a standard 328 GTS, and sported claimed performance figures of 0–100km/h in five seconds and a top speed of 278km/h when it was revealed to the world at the 1993 Frankfurt Auto Show.
They only made one of these things, which is normally guarantees that the concept will sink into complete obscurity. And for a while it did, until it was given a full service and homologation for road usage in 2014 by its new owner — a collector from Belgium.
And now, it's for sale at RM Sotheby's.
On May 12 it will go up for sale at the Sotheby's Monaco 2018 auction, with no reserve price attached. "This one-off special would be a compelling addition to any Ferrari collection worldwide," says the auction house.
"The Conciso is a one-off monument to their mantra of 'athletic with not an extra ounce'."