I believe that you can have too much of a good thing, and automobiles seem to prove out these beliefs on a regular bases. A cool exhaust note that sets your heart racing as you cruise down Woodward Avenue in Detroit might not move you to ecstasy if you try to drive a car with this sound for ten hours to the east coast. The fact that I’m constantly asking my coworkers “WHAT? WHAT?” is almost certainly indicative that I overdid it with the trunk-of-funk in my 220,000 mile Lincoln Town Car years ago.
Even one of my favorite 1980s staples can be overused or misused. “Say yes to pop-ups” is my mantra when it comes to headlamps, but when you go beyond a pair of these things, I start to question the logic. Did anyone even try that?
Well, of course they did! The 80s was the cocaine-fueled Miami Vice era, and no car summed up the times better than the Cizeta-Moroder V16T. If there was ever a car that appeared to be the result of putting “1980s, cocaine, supercar, Italian” into some AI application, this is it.
This outrageous sixteen-cylinder supercar was the brainchild of now-deceased former Lamborghini engineer and mechanic Claudio Zampoli. After establishing his own supercar repair business in California, he occasionally even serviced the much-abused vehicles of rock stars. If you want to see what Claudio looked and sounded like in the eighties, he’s “the mechanic” that appears as a consultant to Mr. Cabo Wabo in the first few minutes of the silly video below:
Giorgio Moroder was a Grammy-winning synthesizer whiz that owned a Countach which Zampoli serviced, and Moroder ended up providing Zampoli’s supercar fantasies with financial backing – at least until the two parted ways when Claudio rejected Moroder’s idea of using fiberglass bodies and BMW power to make the cars more producible and less over the top.
Possibly the most outrageous feature of the Cizeta’s Marcello Gandini-penned shape was the dual pairs of pop-up headlamps, the ultimate statement of excess for excess’ sake. What’s worse is that I’m not sure how these things might even work in terms of illumination.
Look at the views below. The upper set of lights are essentially blasting illumination onto the backs for the raised lower set of lights, throwing glare back at the driver and likely creating odd shadows and light patterns. I’d love to test one out, but with only around fourteen produced that would be a tough task to accomplish.
This is a pop-up too far. Note that Marcello Gandini did not include this detail on his rather similar-looking Lamborghini Diablo that was released around the same time; it had just one pair of good ol’ horizontal retractable lights (later famously replaced with exposed, fixed-position Nissan Z32 300ZX units).
Two-tier pop-ups is an absurd idea. Pure 1980s excess. Moroder made the soundtrack for the film Scarface, and this overabundance of retractable lights is the automotive equivalent of the scene near the end of that movie where Al Pacino has a pile of cocaine on his desk bigger than Peter Brady’s volcano model that sprayed lava on all of the popular girls. Is it any surprise that Cizeta motorcars went the same way as Tony Montana?