Italian coachbuilt coupe is actually a 1976 Camaro commissioned by Chevrolet

By: Alex Affat, Unique Cars magazine

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Europa Camaro front side Europa Camaro front side
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One-of-one Pietro Frua design, for Chevrolet, is coming to auction

Here’s one we’ve never seen before: a one-of-one distinctly European-flavoured fastback coupe designed by Pietro Frua, with a Chevrolet bow-tie on the grille.

It’s actually a one-off second-generation 1976 Chevrolet Camaro underneath its bespoke coachbuilt body, and was originally commissioned by Chevrolet themselves. It could also soon be yours, as it will auctioned with No Reserve as part of RM Sotheby’s Mitosinka Collection auction from September 23-25.

The car began life as a normal 1976 Camaro, however Chevrolet shipped it to Italy for Pietro Frua to entirely rebody the car.

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Frua’s creation is virtually unrecognisable as a second-generation Camaro, now wearing a very-70s cab-backward silhouette, with a lengthened bonnet and raking fastback faithfully mimicking the fashionable Italians of the time, such as the Lamborghini Espada. An extra set of headlamps were added to the Ford Capri-ish front end, whilst the rear of the car is dominated by the expansive glasshouse.

Even today it's a rather radical design, but itmust have looked even more space-age back in the 70s - especially for anyone who knew that a simple Camaro lurked beneath.

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While the Frua name never reached the status of Bertone or Pininfarina, it was one of the leading Italian coachbuilders throughout the 1950s and 60s.

Born in Turin Italy in 1913, Pietro’s mother was a tailor and his father Carlo worked at Fiat. After school, young Pietro was educated as a draftsman at Scuola Fiat, after which he joined Stabilimenti Farina, an established Turin coachbuilder. By 22, he was made Director of Styling at Farina. In 1944, at the age of 31, he purchased a bombed-out factory and set up shop himself.

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Throughout his career, Pietro Frua’s pen touched the lines of various models of different manufacture. From AC Cobras, to BMWs, to Renaults and Jaguars.

He had previously collaborated with Chevrolet on a 1968 Camaro SS (below), which looks even more stunning, and visually harks to the Guigiaro-designed Fiat Dino.

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As a completely unique one-off vehicle, it’s extremely difficult to predicthow it will perform at auction, and we suspect that many wealthy collectors will still write it off as a mere 1976 Camaro. RM Sotheby’s have yet to publish a pre-auction estimate, and since they’re offering it up with No Reserve – perhaps they’re struggling to evaluate it too.

 

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