Italian automotive designer Giorgetto Giugiaro was a true visionary, having styled cars for nearly every major carmaker on the planet. He has given the world iconic models like the Volkswagen Golf, Lotus Esprit, Fiat Panda, and BMW M1, and today's automotive world would not look the same without his creative talent. No wonder he was named "Car Designer of the Century" in 1999.
He had this special ability to envision state-of-the-art vehicles that transcended into the future, and he truly let his creativity run wild after he founded his own design firm, Italdesign, in 1968. One of his greatest yet lesser-known creations is the futuristic-looking Aztec Barchetta, which was designed to celebrate the Torinese company's 20th anniversary in 1988, along with the Asgard MPV and Aspid coupe concepts. All three of them were incredible cars and were first shown at the Turin Motor Show that year.
Aztec was built on a steel chassis and featured an ultra-lightweight aluminum, carbon fiber, and Kevlar body, a mix of materials that were also seen as cutting-edge by the standards of the late 1980s.
Other impressive features that give it a unique appearance include pop-up headlights that flank the hot-air outlet for the front radiator, LeMans-inspired wing mirrors, wildly curved cowls, see-through doors, and a carbon fiber rear wing.
The sci-fi-inspired rear panels integrated control panels on both sides of the car where you could type a series of three-digit codes to display certain info about the car's performance status or access certain parts and functions like the hydraulic jack, fire extinguisher, or tool kit housing.
The Italdesign Aztec concept was never originally intended to be a production car, with only 18 rumored to have been built by Japanese industrialist Mario Myakawa, who saw it in a motoring magazine and fell in love with the design.
Myakawa bought the rights to the Aztec and decided to put it into limited production, with help from Audi tuner Motoren-Technik-Mayer (MTM). While the show car presented at the Turin Motor Show was a true sensation, the production Aztec was a little less out there, but the unique, unusual styling remained remarkably intact.
Its futuristic looks and tech caught the attention of movie makers, so the car appeared in the 1990 science fiction horror movie Frankenstein Unbound and in an Italian science fiction comedy called A Spasso Nel Tempo alongside another concept car from Italdesign, the Machimoto.
The Italdesign Aztec examples still in existence today are true show-stoppers and highly sought-after by collectors. The 1988 unit shown here is a unique opportunity to become the owner of one.
This car, bearing serial number 50020, is one of the original production Aztecs that were built by Myakawa's Japanese firm, Compact. It is offered in exceptionally good condition, with just under 7,700 km (4,785 miles) on the clock and Giorgetto Giugiaro's signature on the right flank. It wears a space-age silver livery over a gorgeous eye-popping red interior and rolls on correct Canonica modular wheels.
Inside the two separate cockpits, you'll find the original-type instrumentation and controls, including the original Halda rally computer on the passenger side.
This Aztec Barchetta is set to go under the hammer with Bonhams on November 25, with a price guide of $180,000- $220,000.