Alfa Romeo Displays Carabo Concept, Speculation Abounds

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

While Milan Design Week is primarily focused on showcasing the latest representations of furniture you couldn’t possibly afford, sometimes a car or two gets thrown into the mix and Alfa Romeo had one hell of an entrant prepared this year. But it wasn’t a new design.

Instead, the Italian automaker rolled out the Carabo concept from the 1968 Paris Motor Show. As one of the first vehicles to pioneer the wedge shape that became synonymous with supercars in later decades, the Alfa holds a massive amount of historical significance. However, there may be more going on than the automaker simply wanting to take a trip down memory lane.

Some of this is obvious, as the brand was clearly using the Carabo to draw attention to the Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese. The vehicle was also on display for the opening of the Larusmiani boutique, which has recently opened a permanent gallery dedicated to Italian automobiles.

“I’m sure that the inclusion of our futuristic Carabo here will arouse great amazement among the participants in Milan Design Week,” stated Raffaele Russo, Managing Director of Alfa Romeo in Italy. “And I’m just as sure that an item of such great stylistic value will in itself serve as an invitation to all enthusiasts for Made in Italy to visit the fascinating Alfa Romeo Museum in Arese, the home of extraordinary cars that have written indelible chapters in automotive history.”

Meanwhile, rumors have been circulating that Alfa has been working on a clandestine project that’s supposed to deliver the forthcoming "6C" nobody knows anything about but everyone already seems to want.

The prospective supercar is alleged to be inspired by the legendary 33 Stradale. Interestingly, that model likewise served as the foundation for the Carabo concept and the retro wedge design has become overwhelmingly popular in the modern era. Maybe Alfa Romeo is trying to test the waters before the styling department makes any final decisions.

While the 33 Stradale is about as handsome as classic automobiles get, there’s something about the wedge design that seems to resonate with modern audiences. Wedge designs are constantly showing up in popular media (e.g. video games, music videos, films) and we’ve started seeing concept vehicles incorporating a lot of the accompanying aesthetics — and not just from Lamborghini.

Practicality and safety regulations could make a full comeback tricky, however. The Hyundai Ioniq 5 clearly tried to stuff in as much retro-futurism as possible. But it stopped short of going full wedge due to the impractical nature of the shape.

Meanwhile, handsome concepts like the Lamborghini Terzo Millennio and Audi PB18 e-tron seem to be leaning into the wedge design as hard as possible while adding modern touches that prevent them from being derivative of vehicles dating back to the 1970s. Hell, even Tesla’s Cybertruck seems to be a bizarre homage to the angular vehicles we all thought we would someday be driving.

But the rumors pertaining to Alfa’s alleged supercar are just that — rumors. We only know for certain that the 6C is supposed to debut later this year. Perhaps its styling will be indicative of what direction the brand will be taking in terms of styling its most over-the-top products. Here’s hoping it looks as much like the Carabo as the regulations will allow.

[Images: Alfa Romeo]

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Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Sgeffe Sgeffe on Apr 21, 2023

    I think there was a Matchbox or Hot Wheels version of this back in the day, and in that color too, if memory serves!

    • SilverCoupe SilverCoupe on Apr 22, 2023

      I had been going to comment that the only thing I knew about the Carabo was that I had a Matchbox car of it when I was a child, but I figured I would fact check first. Almost every Matchbox Carabo I saw on the internet was magenta, and I distinctly remembered that mine was blue.

      This weekend, I opened up my childhood collection of 1-75 Matchbox cars, and there was no Carabo. But then I opened up my collection of old Hot Wheels cars, and there indeed was my blue Carabo.

      I had almost been guilty of putting incorrect information up on the internet!

  • Bobbysirhan Bobbysirhan on Apr 21, 2023

    I had a neighbor with the most incredible replica of the Carabo. He built it from scratch with Porsche 911 components and a set of Wolfrace wheels. The green was a little more muted, metallic and dard, and the proportions were spot on. Only now do I realize that he did a better job of designing and executing an instrument panel than Marcelo Gandini did.

  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
  • Alan My comment just went into the cloud.I do believe its up to the workers and I also see some simplistic comments against unionisation. Most of these are driven by fear and insecurity, an atypical conservative trait.The US for a so called modern and wealthy country has poor industrial relation practices with little protection for the worker, so maybe unionisation will advance the US to a genuine modern nation that looks after its workers well being, standard of living, health and education.Determining pay is measured using skill level, training level and risk associated with the job. So, you can have a low skilled job with high risk and receive a good pay, or have a job with lots of training and the pay is so-so.Another issue is viability of a business. If you have a hot dog stall and want $5 a dog and people only want to pay $4 you will go broke. This is why imported vehicles are important so people can buy more affordable appliances to drive to and from work.Setting up a union is easier than setting up work conditions and pay.
  • El scotto I can get the speedometer from dad's 72 Ford truck back. I can't get dad back.
  • El scotto BAH! No dividers in the trunk for bags of onions or hooks for hanging sardines! Hard Pass.