We’re always happy to bring you a concept car as they offer a glimpse of the future, but the one in these shots offers a chance to look back at what designers in the 1970s thought future cars would look like. The Ferrari 512 S Modulo was a concept car designed by Paolo Martin. The Pininferina designer’s work was unveiled at the 1970 Geneva Motor Show.
By the start of 1970 Ferrari had built 25 Ferrari 512 S racing cars to meet homologation rules so there were dozens of the machines available and Ferrari were struggling to find buyers amongst road users or racing teams so they gave an example to Pininfarina. Chassis 1046, which was the 23rd car produced found its way to the Italian styling house where its components were stripped and the extremely low body with canopy-style roof was fitted.
The four wheels are partly covered for aerodynamic reasons and there are twenty-four holes in the engine cover that provide cooling but also reveal the beautifully crafted Ferrari V-12 engine. The Modulo is not just a rolling chassis with a show engine, it’s a working car. But it’s so impractical that hardly any of the Ferrari sourced 550 hp can ever be used. Just to get into the car you’d have to be short and slim, and then if you do manage to get in and slide the canopy closed over your head, you wouldn’t get far as the two front wheels only turn slightly
It’s easy to criticise a car that’s more than 40 years old. To a modern driver the Modulo is a bit of a dinosaur. But it’s unique and today it’s one of the most impressive pieces on display at Pininfarina’s Museum, Museo Pininfarina.