When maestro Giorgetto shuffled the deck in 1973, he certainly got his money’s worth.
The Ital Design Asso di Picche (Ace of Spades) concept emerged during what can perhaps be described as Giorgetto Giugiaro’s purple patch, when the maestro could barely put a stylistic foot wrong. An expressive styling study for a close-coupled four seater coupé, in this instance created in conjunction with both Audi and Karmann, it made its public debut at the Frankfurt motor show in 1973.
An evolution of styling themes expressed not only in Ital production designs for Alfa Romeo and Volkswagen, but also in the Boomerang styling study for Maserati, it could be said to have codified what would become Giugiaro’s particular recipe of origami surfacing and trapezoidal proportioning, one which served him well throughout the decade.
What’s more, Giorgetto made Asso di Picche’s styling theme pay, with a bewildering array of variations emerging in a succession of conceptual studies and production designs for Alfa Romeo, Audi, BMW, De Lorean, Hyundai, Lancia, Jaguar, and Maserati, over a period dating from 1974 to 1981. Indeed, some might suggest that even 1984’s Seat Ibiza may have imbibed from the same vessel, although by then it must have been down to the dregs.
Fast forward to Frankfurt 2019, where Hyundai showed its 45 EV concept, ostensibly a retrofuturist homage to Giugiaro’s 1974 Pony Coupé concept. Looking for all the world like a blend of first-generation Lancia Delta and a Harris Mann-era BL Princess, this attractive and well executed design marks what could be a first: the revival of ’70s retro. Frankly, I can think of worse hands to hold.