Home Car News Become an icon of retro cool with this 1988 Italdesign Aztec

Become an icon of retro cool with this 1988 Italdesign Aztec

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

Interest in cars from the late 1980s and early 1990s continues to grow, but this incredible Italdesign Aztec could beat them all. 

Intended to be a concept car for display at the 1988 Turin Motor Show, the hype around the futuristic Aztec saw a small number of cars put into production.

Now one of the estimated 25 cars made for the road is up for sale in the United States, with a listing currently live on auction website Bring a Trailer. 

Welcome to the future

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

The Aztec was the creation of famed car designer Giorgetto Giugiaro. Described by him as being the car that ‘dreams are made of’, the radical two-seater sports car wowed onlookers when revealed. 

Driver and passenger sit in separate plexiglass cockpits, which open using a gullwing design. The top bubble of each can be removed to allow open-air motoring, whilst the conventional doors have transparent panels set into them. 

Futuristic touches can be found across the bodywork, with pop-up headlights and extended fenders covering the rear wheels. A combination of carbon fiber, aluminum, and kevlar were used, whilst the tubular chassis is made from steel.

Coded commands needed

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

A large carbon fiber rear wing helps provide downforce, whilst twin roll hoops are also incorporated into the design.

Panels in the rear of the car allow the doors to be unlocked using a keypad. By entering certain codes, access can also be gained to storage compartments for a hydraulic jack, tool kit, and various dial readouts. 

The Aztec is powered by a mid-mounted Audi 2.2-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine. This was supplied by MTM Mayer, with a claimed 250 horsepower when new.

All-wheel drive and turbo power

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

Also standard is an all-wheel drive system, using front and rear differentials said to have been taken from a Lancia Delta Integrale. A five-speed manual transmission is responsible for shifting gears. 

Being mid-engined means there is a degree of storage space beneath the small front hood, and also in a rear luggage compartment behind the engine. 

The interior is just as radical, with the driver faced by an asymmetric Nardi steering wheel. Control buttons are incorporated into the circular housing for the dashboard gauges, whilst the climate control and JVC sound system are operated from a more conventional center console. 

An original museum piece 

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

The passenger also gets their own control panel. It includes a period rally trip computer, along with a large grab handle. Power adjustable sports seats trimmed in gray leather are fitted, whilst driver and passenger were meant to communicate via motorsport-style headsets. 

This particular Aztec has lived a curious life, having been part of the Shanghai Automotive Museum collection between 2011 and 2015. Following that, the car resided in the Blackhawk Collection in California. 

Imported in 2015, the car is registered with a New Jersey title, with the seller including all the relevant documentation in the sale. From new this example has covered less than 250 miles. 

Raddest of them all

BaT 1988 Italdesign Aztec

What kind of price can you place on living in an idea of the future from the 1980s? Examples listed for sale previously have ranged from $750,000 to $2 million, reflecting the rather unique nature of these cars. 

The auction on Bring a Trailer is set to run until Monday, February 24th, leaving plenty of time for the bids to start stacking up. Expect plenty of comments from BaT regulars, too. 

Whoever wins the Aztec will also gain themselves an unexpected bonus. Radwood, responsible for events celebrating automotive lifestyles from the 1980s and ‘90s, has promised the winning bidder ‘free lifetime entry’ with this car.



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