The original idea was conceived by Ferruccio Covini in ’74 and made provision for 10 inches front wheels because there where no low profile tyres at the time. The project was ditched in favour of the Soleado prototype, deemed more important, and lay dormant until the 80s when hydro-pneumatic suspension for the four front wheels where devised to optimise weight distribution under various loading conditions.
High development costs and other contingencies forced the project to be delayed again. Its use of new ABS technologies and airbags in the 90s pointed in the direction of new research into active and passive safety. This aspect encouraged backing from companies for its development..
Why six wheels?
-in case of a front tyre deflation, the vehicle control is guaranteed by the other wheel next to it.
-four front disc brakes, although a smaller single area, ensure a greater braking surface; this means less overheating and a higher brake effort
-low risk of aquaplaning, due to the two foremost wheels, which wipe the water for the ones behind them, ensuring a better roadholding
-comfort is a consequence of more evenly distributed reaction forces in the supension: the reaction in case of a pot hole is divided between the four front wheels and the shudder in the chassis is limited.
-reduced unsprung weight in the wheels improves the grip. Directional stability is improved: achange of angle due to slack in the steering mechanism (in stuctures like silentblocks) iscompensated by the second set of wheels.
-two additional springs and dampers provide a better handling for the vehicle.
ENGINE: rear, longitudinal, 8 cylinder in V formation, 4 valves per cylinder, naturally aspirated, petrol direct injection Bosch-motronic.
CAPACITY: 4200 cc
MAX POWER: 440 PS (325KW) at 6400 rpm
MAX TORQUE: about 470 Nm at 2700 rpm
TRANSMISSION: rear wheel drive transaxle
GEARBOX: mechanical 6-speed + reverse. Manual and electro-hydraulic steeringwheel mounted servo
CHASSIS: steel tubular with carbon fibre reinforcements and structural parts
SUSPENSION: independent front and rear wishbones
WHEELS AND TYRES: front 15in wheels with 205/45-15 tyres; rear 20in with 345/25-20 tyres
BRAKES: front and rear vented Brembo discs. Bosch servo and electronic brake distribution
BODYWORK: glass fibre and carbon fibre
DIMENSIONS: length 4180mm; width 1990mm; height 1080mm; wheelbase 2230mm/2750mm (to foremost/middle front transaxle); front track 1540mm; rear track 1620mm ; dry weight 1150Kg
TOP SPEED: 300Kph (185mph)