If we're going to talk about concept cars, the Bertone Lancia Stratos HF Zero is kind of a basic bitch, pumpkin spice latte choice. Everyone knows it and everyone loves it. I don't even care. It's amazing and I love staring at it.
The 1970s is my favorite decade for both supercar and concept car design. I like to think of it as the era of "disco spaceship wedges," these long, low, flat, sharp-looking machines. They're evocative and dangerous, unlike anything on the road today. This era produced a ton of great designs, like the Lotus Esprit, Lamborghini Countach, DeLorean DMC-12 and so many others.
And those are just the ones that made it to production! The concept wedges are even cooler. Of them, the Stratos Zero may just be my favorite.
Of course, that name would be used on Lancia's famous rally-going car a few years later, but this concept from the 1970 Turin Motor Show had little to do with that. As Autoweek tells it, the concept was a salvo in the ongoing war between Pininfarina and Bertone, conceived by the latter as an experiment to see how low they could go. (In height, not design, of course.)
The fully-functioning prototype was powered by a Lancia V4 engine pounding out a mighty 115 horsepower which sat under this crazy triangle-shaped engine cover in the middle of the car. That paltry power figure didn't matter because the Zero was all about its razor sharp looks.
The seats were almost horizontal and the long trapezoidal windscreen gave a great view of the sky. The inside sported a futuristic instrument panel encased in green glass that reminds me of the inside of a Tesla Model S, just 40 years earlier.
If you grew up in the 1980s and early 1990s, you may remember Michael Jackson transforming into a replica of this car in the film Moonwalker. Google it, children.
The Stratos Zero got a full restoration in 2000. In 2011, it was sold by RM Auctions for about $915,000, which I think is kind of a steal considering how freaking awesome it is.
These days Lancia is basically on its death bed and Nuccio Bertone's famed house has been run into the ground by his heirs. The Stratos Zero concept lives on as a rolling symbol of a better time.