Working mostly as an independent stylist Giovanni Michelotti designed many famous vehicles, which were executed by coach builders or manufacturers. One of his lesser known concept vehicles is the DAF 55 based 'Siluro', Italian for 'Torpedo.' After its debut at the 1968 Geneva Motorshow, it was not seen in public until it recently resurfaced at the 2005 AutoRAI in Amsterdam. In those 37 years it served mainly as a memorial to Giovanni Michelotti in his son's garden. He inherited the car after Michelotti's sudden death in 1980.
Before he started work on the Siluro, Michelotti had already worked as a consultant for DAF when the DAF 44 and 55 road cars were designed. The single most remarkable feature of these small sedans was the continiously variable automatic transmission, which allowed the cars to drive as fast forward and in reverse. Although the DAFs did not feature a very powerful engine, their versatility made them quite successful in motorsport. The most sporty of the road cars was th DAF 55 Coupe, which served as a base for the Siluro concept.
More than anything the Siluro was a design excercise, used by Michelotti to showcase the latest trends. One of the most noticable of these is the wedge shape, which is very apparent in the Siluro. After its Geneva debut, the Siluro returned to Italy, where Michelotti kept it until his 1980 death. In the following years the car quickly deteriorated in his son's garden, where it was used mostly as a shelter for the local animals. Eventually it was tracked down by the DAF-museum and brought to The Netherlands for the very first time.
DAF production stopped many years ago and much of the Siluro was custom made by Michelotti, so restoring the one-off was quite a task. Backed by generous sponsors, the Siluro was slowly, but steadily brought back to its original shape and condition. All the hard work payed off and the Siluro made its Dutch debut 37 years after its conception in Italy.
The unique vehicle is seen here at its second 'debut' at the 2005 AutoRAI.