It's Halloween, so many of us are planning our elaborate going-out costumes, perhaps car-related, but all likely involving lots of extra shaving. But what about cars themselves? Don't they deserve scary costumes? Of course they do. And at least one designer, Luigi Colani, is doing his part.
Colani's been designing cars (and wearing big white sweaters and scarves) and furniture and appliances and computers and probably sex toys and spaceships for decades. And while I certainly respect a lot of the work he's done, there's a lot of cars that, when re-imagined in his particular, "biodynamic" style, feels sort of like cars wearing Halloween costumes. Lets' check out some of those.
This was the first one I saw that really made me realize that this dude was all about letting cars have the same fun we enjoy when we wear terrifying masks. Just look at this Trabant, and tell me it doesn't look like a Trabi wearing a mask. Part of that is because from the A-pillar back, it's just a Trabant, while up front the normal, dowdy-but-friendly Trabant front has been transformed into a grinning alien face.
He also made this roadster version which is a little more cohesive, but only because he spread the bonkers out over more of the car. Like the two chromed fairings behind the seats that look like something they'd have in a diner to keep rolls warm. This thing would be a blast to have as your summer fun-ride.
Colani 1977 VW Prototype
From what I've found, this was a prototype for a Beetle replacement that would have slotted between the Polo and Golf. The only VW parts-bin part I can identify on the exterior seems to be the Type IV taillights. It's pretty clearly front-engined, since that amphibian-mated-with-a-showerhead face can only be to get massive amounts of air into the front.
It's not clear just what it's based on — perhaps a Polo, or possibly even a Beetle-type air-cooled engine in there, like the VW Gol that arrived in Brazil a few years later? Who knows.
And look at that shifter. It looks like some sort of alien robo-orchid. I do sort of perversely like the VW logo side vents and the massive padding that suggests the VW logo in the wheel. Still, that doesn't make up for the fact that this looks like a space-lamprey that astronauts in a space horror movie would have to pull out of their space-armpits.
The Colani Trucks
I think these are probably the most known of the Colani designs, and are also probably the most terrifying. There's been a number of these made, costuming DAF and Mercedes-Benz large truck platforms, and almost any of them would be enough to make any grown adult eject a pantload of wastes if one snuck up on them in the night.
Seriously, if a race of alien land-leviathans came to take over the Earth, our best chance of distracting them would be to park a bunch of these Colani trucks by their encampment and just wait for them to start mating with them.
Unless the trucks liked it, those radial wipers whirling in orgiastic glee, and they then start to produce a race of super cyborg leviathan truck-aliens. Oh shit. Shit, I didn't even think about that. Crap. Now I'm worried.
Experimental Cars Need Costumes, Too
You'd think a radical, experimental car wouldn't feel the need for an elaborate costume, but you'd be very wrong, if you wore a big fisherman's sweater and had a lavish mustache and were Luigi Colani. Colani took one of the Mercedes C111 experimental cars and dressed up so it looked like something between a spaceship and prom dress shoe.
The Colani C112 does, however, have one of the most dramatic rear-wiper setups in the history of motoring, though. Props need to be donated for that wiper.
How about a G-Wagen? And A Ford Ka?
As bonkers as Colani is, you have to admire the guy's perseverance and sheer output. Oh, and his admirable willingness to apply his alien-amphibian ray to pretty much any car, regardless of type or cost or status or anything.
Look at his treatment of both the unashamedly boxy Benz G-Wagen and the somewhat more bio-compatible 1st gen Ford Ka.
Colani's one of those designers that I'm really glad exists. I very rarely think the things he does are actually attractive or successful, but the kook sure knows how to push some boundaries, and there's no denying he can design some pretty dramatic cars. We need people like him to keep stirring the pot, even if you occasionally get scared shitless.
Besides, getting terrified is sort of fun. That's why we still love Halloween, right?