Concepts from Future Past: 1967 Bertone Pirana

by Paul Strauss
Concepts from Future Past: 1967 Bertone Piranazoom in

Designed back in 1967 for the London Motor Show, the Bertone Pirana (also known as the Jaguar Pirana) was gorgeous 2+2 coupe that started out as a Jaguar E-Type. The car was designed to show that Bertone could match the offerings of Lamborghini, Aston Martin, Ferrari and Maserati.

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Nuccio Bertone and designer Marcello Gandini (who would later design the Lamborghini Countach) kept the chassis, 4.2-liter 6-cylinder engine and 4-speed manual gearbox from the E-Type, but created a replacement steel monocoque body for it.

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In addition to the dramatic exterior changes, the Pirana had a luxurious interior, with upscale leather seats from Connolly Bros., and electrically-controlled windows and radio antenna among other upgrades – rarities at the time. The car also featured a custom-made air conditioning system that collected warm air at the floor and pushed cold air back through ceiling vents. The car was also one of the first to feature a cassette player, and also had safety warning lights for seat belts and for exceeding a preset speed limit.

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Since the Pirana was a prototype, it weighed more than its Jaguar progenitor, which put it at a performance disadvantage, but had it actually gone into production, we’re pretty sure they would have solved that. Still, its 145MPH top speed wasn’t bad for the time.

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While the car never was never produced, it’s clear that many of the design elements of the Pirana made their way into the Lamborghini Espada, shown below:

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Some images via Richard Truesdell.

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