1976 Chevy Camaro ‘Europo Hurst’ Is the Only One of Its Kind, And It’s Heading to Auction
Chevy itself commissioned Pietro Frua to redesign the Camaro, envisioning a European muscle car of sorts.
Ever heard of a Frua Camaro? Before now, I certainly hadn't. The car was commissioned by Chevrolet to be designed by Pietro Frua and is the only one of its kind, built in 1976. Learning about a car you've never heard of can have the same emotional sensation as discovering new music, regardless of the vintage. Considering the unique design, this second-gen, Italian-bodied ride is amongst the rarest Camaros in the world, and soon you can bid on it. RM Sotheby's will be auctioning this car in late September—with no reserve.
At first glance, you'd never suspect this was a second-gen Camaro. It has a face like Ford Capri, body lines like a Lamborghini Espada and a fastback that's reminiscent of a DeLorean DMC-12. If you saw this thing at a car show, you'd start walking around it looking for an Italian or French badge only to find a familiar-shaped bow-tie on the front grille with the name "P. Frua" written inside it. This Camaro may be all-American underneath, but the body is imported straight from Italy.
Pietro Frua, a Turin native, was born in 1913. He started his design career at the age of 17 as an appreciate draftsmen with Fiat. Later on, there wasn't a high demand for automotive design during World War II, so Frua found work designing other things like children's toys, electric ovens and motorized scooters. In 1944, Frua purchased a bombed-out warehouse and started his own business, later penning the first car at his studio, the soft-top Fiat 1100C Spider. One of his most significant designs, the Maserati Quattroporte, helped identify the brand as a luxury automaker in 1963 following the 3500 GT and 5000 GT, both of which were also styled by Frua.
Frua collaborated with many manufacturers redesigning AC Cobras, BMWs, a Dodge Challenger, Jaguar E-Types, Renaults and more. According to Car Talk, his design studio gave us the Volvo P1800 when Pelle Petterson's father got him a job working at Frua Design in the early 1960s. Frua worked until he started cancer treatment in 1982 and died in 1983 at the age of 70.
In a brief article by Car and Driver about this Frua Camaro Europo Hurst, it's explained that Chevrolet commissioned Frua to redbody one of its 1976 Camaros. A car was shipped to Italy where Frua lengthened the hood, gave it sloping hatchback, double front headlights with a custom fascia and large, horizontal taillights that look rather familiar. Car and Driver went on to end the article by saying, "It may look a bit homely, but at least it's one of a kind..." Which I think is unfair. The Camaro Europo Hurst has a quality about it where the more you study it, the more you like it.
The Camaro Europo Hurst is part of The Mitosinka Collection event hosted by RM Sotheby's, an online-only auction scheduled to take place Sept. 23-25. The car has no reserve, and being a one-of-one means it is difficult to gauge how much it will sell for. My guess, though, is that it won't be cheap. It just depends on how badly someone wants an Italian second-gen Camaro in their garage.
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