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Autonova – GT

The Autonova GT, exhibited for the first time in public at the Frankfurt Motor Show in 1964, was a compact Gran Turismo (3750 mm long, 1550 mm wide and 1200 mm high).

Vehicle Overview

It was built on the platform and mechanicals of the standard NSU Prinz 1000 TT, with a rear-mounted 1085 cc engine producing 55 HP. The spare lines of the profile of the body converged at the front in an original appendage to the nose, which served the twofold function of a bumper and a fascia uniting the surfaces of the low, elongated engine hood. However, perhaps the most original feature of the car was the aerodynamic design of the flanks, enhanced by a truncated integral rear end with a window that could be opened (unusual in a fastback body type). Also distinctive was the arrangement of the headlights.

Their protruding outlines were dictated not only by functional constructional criteria but also by practical considerations, because they helped give the driver a sense of the car’s volumes.

The interior was notable for the austere design of the bucket seats, the central tunnel housing the gearshift and other principal switches and levers, and the door panels equipped with tubular armrests of an original design. In this car Pio Manzù and Michael Conrad sought to rethink critically the stylistic currents of the day, which Manzù regarded as stuck with a sort of “formal catechism” and incapable of moving beyond their established schemes.

Of the Autonova’s numerous functional and technical-constructional features, the most striking were its rigorous formal synthesis, the simple, “modern” design of its different parts, from the lines that unite or segment the different sections of the body down to individual details like handles and switches and the most minute seams and welds.

Both the Autonova prototypes are still surprising for their originality and coherence, even after this lapse of time. Pio Manzù and Michael Conrad’s project can still be seen as an exemplary contribution to the evolution of the automobile and car design, not only because of the results they achieved but also in terms of method and the development of radically innovative contents.

Technical Specifications

  • Body
  • Year
  • Make
  • Model
  • Coachbuilder
    Sibona Basano
  • Length (mm)
  • Width (mm)
  • Height (mm)
  • Photo credits
  • Engine Type
  • Designer

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