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1998 Alfa Romeo Dardo

A pure formal study, the Dardo is a spider with a powerful impact whose source of inspiration was the Alfa Romeo 156, "Car of the Year" 1998. The Dardo was intended to be a homage to a trademark, Alfa Romeo, that incarnates several of the finest qualities of Italian cars: sportiness, imagination, technology, and performance.

Alfa Romeo's 156 sedan forms the basis of an intriguing new concept. The Dardo (Dart) spider is "a pure styling exercise with no production prospects," states designer Pininfarina. All the Alfa Romeo spiders from the 1950s to the present day resulted from industrial and styling cooperation with Pininfarina. They include the Giulietta Spider of the 1950s, Duetto of the 1960s (in production for 27 years), and the Alfa Spider of 1994.

The Dardo takes the current Spider's aesthetic cues several stages further. It uses Alfa's 2.5-L V6 in a body 4380 mm (173 in.) long, 1709 mm (71 in.) wide, and only 1250 mm (49 in.) high. Its wheelbase is slightly shorter than that of the 156. The shape of the front of the car tapers toward a point to incorporate the traditional Alfa Romeo triangular radiator grille. Its twin headlights were developed jointly with Valeo. The inner light cluster provides a full beam and is surrounded by six small spotlights. Direction indicators comprise thin, amber-colored "neon" bulbs.

The styling for the Dardo's flanks also uses a triangular theme, as does the rear. The car incorporates the 156's dashboard with metallic-like leather upholstery used for it and the seats. Pininfarina worked with Sparco to design and build the seats, which have extremely rigid shells using carbon/Kevlar/carbon technology. They have four-point seat belts with a lever release.

Sources: pininfarina spa.;

Images Source: pininfarina spa.