Karmann Cheetah by Italdesign


images Italdesign

German coachbuilder Wilhelm Karmann is of course most widely known for having created the Karmann Ghia and various other cult classics for Volkswagen.

One of his lesser known projects was the Cheetah – a small sports concept for VW via Giugiaro’s firm Italdesign.

The Cheetah is a real child of its times; having debuted at the 1971 Geneva Salon.

The X1/9-ish front end and flatbed rear was fitted over a modified Beetle floorpan bore obvious resemblance to various other Guigiaro projects – but less obviously the roof of the Cheetah was straight out of Mr Karmann’s stable of influences.

This pretty unique roof consisted of a a soft top with a translucent sunroof panel over the cockpit, which could be stored under the car’s twin seats.

Nice bit of period futurism that probably could have foreshadowed the success of Bertone’s X1/9.

File under missed opportunity, we think.