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1984 Chevrolet Ramarro by Bertone

The Bertone Ramarro is an Italian concept car designed and built by Bertone and based on the Chevrolet Corvette (C4). It debuted in 1984 at the Los Angeles Auto Show. "Ramarro" comes from the Italian word for "green lizard."

The Ramarro uses the chassis from a 1984 C4 Corvette, the same car used to unveil the C4 to the European press at the 1983 Geneva Motor Show. Chevrolet gave Bertone that car to use to build the Ramarro and a port fuel injection V8 engine from the newer 1985 Corvette. The engine remains mostly stock, but the radiator and air conditioning have been moved to the back of the car, taking the place of the spare tire which was moved in front of the engine, to allow Bertone to design the body with a more tapered, sealed off the nose for better airflow and aerodynamics. Air intakes were placed just behind the rear window on both sides to get air into the radiator. The only other mechanical change was the addition of experimental Michelin tires in place of the original Goodyear units. These new tires measure 280/45VR-17 in the rear and 240/45VR-17 in the front. On the outside, the Ramarro also features sliding doors that slide forward towards the car's nose, making them easier to open in tight parking spots versus conventional doors, which had a wide opening span. Many reviewers have compared these and the doors on the 1954 Kaiser Darrin, but the Ramarro's doors are different in that they slide out and forwards, whereas the doors on the Darrin retracted into the front fenders.

The interior of the Ramarro retains the Corvette's factory digital instrumentation and emergency brake handle, but most of the original interior has been replaced by custom pieces. The concept features a sculpted single-piece bucket seat that moves as one seat but has a hump in the middle for the center console. The interior was retrimmed in specially patterned green leather that was picked to match the exterior and resemble the color and texture of lizard skin, a nod to the Ramarro name. Finally, the Corvette's original automatic transmission was kept, but the shift lever was replaced by a large rotary dial gear selector in the center console.

Nuccio Bertone reportedly started the Ramarro project because it presented a challenge and because most of the cars with Bertone-designed bodies were sold in America. Yet, they featured the name of the automaker first and Bertone second, so Bertone wanted to have a car to show in America which bore the "Bertone" name first and foremost.

Bertone originally intended to unveil the car at the Turin Auto Show in the spring of 1984, but the show ended up being rescheduled to a few months later. Since the Ramarro was based on the American Corvette, they decided to unveil it at the 1984 LA Auto Show instead. The Ramarro was well received at the show. Later in 1985 was awarded Auto&Design's Car Design Award for its "bold ideas," which they say gave "the Chevrolet Corvette an entirely new personality."

Source: Bertone Ramarro - Wikipedia.

Images: Carrozzeria Bertone s.p.a.