When brutalism is the star of car design

Brutalist cars: let’s retrace their history through the example of 10 models, from the end of the war to the launch of Tesla’s Cybertruck, including unexpected Italian brands such as Alfa Romeo, Lamborghini and Ferrari.

With the Cybertruck, the American brand marked a radical change of direction in design, a real “back to the future” approach to design. The reference is not casual: the DeLorean Dmc-12, the time machine from Robert Zemeckis’ film trilogy, is probably the queen of Brutalist cars.

Citroën Type H (1947)

As in architecture, Brutalism in car design means bare and possibly exposed structures and a redesign of the interiors that has little to envy of Le Corbusier’s Unité d’Habitation in Marseilles. A year before that revolutionary project in 1948, Citroën launched the Type H, the “grandmother” of all Brutalist cars. The link between the two French projects is not only aesthetic: that square, compact van also had a utilitarian soul, it was a work vehicle in which volumes had to be maximised by working with lines. It is no coincidence that it was transformed into a Red Cross ambulance, a caravan and even a mobile shop for street vendors.

It is no surprise that the Type H was designed by Flaminio Bertoni. The designer and sculptor from Masnago is just one of the many Italian designers and Italian brands that put Brutalism on the road. From Bertone to Gandini, from Giugiaro to Pininfarina, from Ferrari to Fiat and Lamborghini, there is no doubt that in the language of car design Brutalism is above all Italian.

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