The history of motoring and tapirs aren't an obvious area of commonality. Countless thousands of tapirs have been injured and killed by the increase of roads and traffic that cut across their habitats. But over 45 years ago, tapirs served as inspiration for one of Porsche's most attractive concept cars, the Porsche Tapiro.
The car was based on the Porsche 914/916 platform and its most notable feature was the double set of gullwing doors - one set for the driver and passenger, and one set for accessing the storage area above the engine. The observant will have also noticed a Volkswagen badge on the front of the car: this concept car was not the only foray of joint VW-Porsche activity; indeed, the close connection between the two marques continues.
The Porsche Tapiro, despite being a concept car, was actually a fully functioning car, thanks to its 914 base. After the car had served its life as an exhibition piece, the car was sold to a Spanish industrialist in 1972, who used it as his daily drive until around 1980. The car was destroyed during an industrial dispute involving its owner - allegedly by employees of the industrialist's company, who blew it up with an explosive device placed under it. The wreck was purchased by Guugiaro's company Italdesign, where it remains on display in its unrestored state.
Created by Italian designer Georgetto Giugiaro, who was named as the Car Designer of the Century three decades later, the Porsche Tapiro was a concept car produced for the 1970 Turin Motor Show exhibition circuit. Described as the first example of his influential "folded paper" style that featured in later car design (such as the DeLorean made famous in the Back to the Future films), Giugiaro named the car after the tapir because he felt that the design resembled it.