Fifty years ago, legendary designer Giorgetto Giugiaro debuted the first car in his famed "Asso" (Italian for "ace") series of concepts. The first in the series, the Asso di Picche or "Ace of Spades," was introduced in 1973 at the Frankfurt Motor Show. The radical design went on to inspire not one, but two rally legends, the original Audi Quattro and the Lancia Delta.
To honor five decades since its inception, the firm that Giugiaro founded, ItalDesign, has reinvented the original as the Asso di Picche in Movimento (the Ace of Spades in Motion). Described as an electric 2+2 coupe, the sleek form measures 184 inches long, about the length of a Lexus NX, and 77 inches wide, about the width of an Audi A8. However, its height of 48 inches is shorter than an Alpine A110's.
The concept's silhouette eschews traditional two- or three-box layouts. Instead, there is one smooth line that encloses the hood, roof, and trunk, formed by an aluminum body and polycarbonate 1-piece window comprising the windshield, panoramic roof, and rear aperture. Doors are double-hinged, sliding forward before rotating upward, in order to reduce their size. Details hinting at the design house's influence include the headlights, which are shaped by the "D" in the ItalDesign logo, and the taillights, whose 13 bars of increasing width are also found in the logo.
Cabin-wise, the unique cylindrical dashboard of the original returns, this time spanning the width of the interior. Basic information is displayed on the cylinder, but an interface screen with more functions can be "rolled up or unrolled" from the tube. The original used stylish leather straps as door pulls, a cue that's revisited by the 2023 concept as well.
The 1973 Asso di Picche was followed up in 1976 with Giugiaro's Asso di Quadri (Ace of Diamonds), based on E21 BMW 3-series mechanicals. It was once again done at the behest of German coachbuilder Karmann, and it later served as inspiration for the BMW M1. In 1979, Giugiaro's Asso di Fiori (Ace of Clubs) concept presaged the Isuzu Impulse, the only one of the three to make it into production largely unchanged. Alas, the Ace of Hearts was never realized.
The Asso di Picche in Movimento isn't linked to any particular brand, but ItalDesign was purchased in the 2010s by various subsidiaries of the VW Group, including Audi and Lamborghini. So while the concept exists only digitally at the moment it wouldn't be difficult to imagine it as an EV show car at an upcoming auto show.