Many have tried to meld the stability of an automobile with the open-air sensation of a motorcycle, but few attempted to do so like Italdesign did with the 1986 Machimoto concept.
Using the 1.8-liter, 16-valve I-4 from the then-current GTI, the Machimoto was a low-slung, topless speedster with unusual rear wheel skirts that were de rigeuer on ’80s show cars. The Machimoto’s true claim to fame, however, lurked within the cabin. Instead of traditional seating, Giugiaro called for two banks of saddle seating, allowing the driver — along with seven passengers — to straddle the seat as if it were a motorcycle.
At the time, critics lambasted the idea of a VW-cycle hybrid, but perhaps Giugiaro had the last laugh. In 2006, Volkswagen showed the three-wheel GX3 concept, and reportedly came very close to pushing the hardcore trike into production.