Like many futuristic concept cars of the 1980s, aerodynamics played a key role in the 1989 Ferrari Mythos concept car mechanical design. The rear wing spoiler, for one, could raise almost a foot (according to speed), to boost downforce. It also rotated 12 degrees, while producing a load of 331 pounds at 155 mph.
Instead of the usual correction techniques that affected either the front or rear axle alone, which upsets a car's balance, Pininfarina opted for one at each end. So up front, the retractable lip at the base of the bumper protruded a little over an inch to increase the downforce reaction of the dam. Both devices operated electrically, zipping into action at speeds above 62 mph. Each retracted when speed fell below 44 mph.
Ornamentation was about as minimal as in any design of the 1980s. Functional elements (bumpers, headlamps, spoilers) were integrated into the overall design, not tacked on later. No surface graphics were needed to identify a car that spoke for itself.
Within the Ferrari Mythos concept car lay a symphony of symmetries. Seat bases, for instance, reflected the flowing line of the simple dashboard. The twin-circumference pattern of the analog instruments repeated itself in the steering wheel. Controls sat on symmetrical stalks at the side of the instrument panel. That panel, the steering wheel, and pedals formed a single, depth-adjustable block.
The lack of window handles allowed the door shell to serve as an armrest, while door panels were of the most minimalist nature. Like the body, the two-seat interior, upholstered in red leather, was intended to recapture the spirit of racing "barchettas" of the 1960s. The instrument panel, facia, door panels, and seats were leather-covered shells.
Mechanicals for the Ferrari Mythos concept car came strictly from the Testarossa, including the 12-cylinder, 4942cc flat Boxer engine. Only the exhaust system had to be revised, because of the Mythos's shorter rear overhang. The tubular steel frame was also derived from Testarossa, but reinforced in this application. Hoods, doors, and body panels were made of carbon fiber.
Pirelli PZero tires carried the engines 390-horsepower to the ground: 245/40 ZR17 in front, and mammoth 335/25 ZR17s at the rear. Alloy wheels, derived from the basic Ferrari five-spoke design, displayed only the familiar prancing horse in their hubs; lug nuts were concealed.
With the creation of the far-from-mythical Ferrari Mythos concept car, the Pininfarina firm -- and Ferrari -- reached back to the tradition that brought forth such innovative models as the 250 PS (in 1968), the 512 S (1969), and the futuristic Modulo (1970). Fans of both art and automobiles surely welcomed a regression of that kind.
Go to the next page for specifications of the 1989 Ferrari Mythos concept car.