Cadillac Techniques d'Avant Garde Function Car by Sbarro

Car of the Day #57: Cadillac Techniques d'Avant Garde Function Car by Sbarro

Cadillac Techniques d'Avant Garde Function Car by Sbarro

One of the most universally-loved vehicles on planet earth (among the 56 people who know about them) is the Citroën CX Loadrunner.

For the unaware, the CX Loadrunner is a 6-wheeled high-speed delivery van, built on the foundation of a hydropneumatic suspension-shod CX, resulting in a quirky take on the 6-wheel station wagon genre.

By my estimation, since you’re still here, you should then also appreciate the 1978 Cadillac Techniques d'Avant Garde by Sbarro.

Though it has the proportions of a transformed Rodimus Prime (you get so many bonus points if you know what I'm talking about), I rather admire the overall profile of the car; it seems to come from an alternate past where Bandit became President of the United States and spent his term on the roads of America in a CB-equipped 6-wheel Cadillac.

You can bet Cledus would be driving.

Franco Sbarro with a few of his creations; TAG car is on the left • via sixmania

First, sadly, the prototype didn't inspire a whole new class of car to ferry Very Important Persons to and from their gated communities, or businessmen from city to city. History gave us SUVs with much less vertically challenged interiors.

Think about it: congested motorways started to become much more of a problem by the late 1970s, and at the same time, the world's elite started to buy their own airplanes—at an initial cost likely not too much more than ordering your very own Function Car.

Second, were you wondering what the heck Techniques d'Avant Garde is? 

You've heard of TAG Heuer watches, yes? Now you know what those three letters stand for; you're also familiar with TAG if you remember the "TAG Turbo"-branded engines in 1980s McLaren Formula 1 cars — which were really V6 Turbo motors designed and built by Porsche but financed by TAG founder Akram Ojjeh.

Before TAG and Heuer hooked up in 1985, TAG was looking to make its mark among the world's elite. So what better way to get attention than to hire the outlandish designer Sbarro to create a gigantic Cadillac chock-full of the latest "business" gadgets?

I see the car as a fitting tribute to the last big Cadillac Eldorado which, in late 1978, was subject to a radical downsizing and neutering. Fitted with an 8.2-litre (500 cu. in.!) V8 with more than 300 horsepower, I can't find documentation to suggest the engine powered both rear axles, so it must have stayed front drive; it's likely the second rear axle was added to handle its immense weight, said to be in excess of 3 tons (2,700 kg or thereabouts).

If the Function Car's interior was a let down, well, what good was it in the first place? No worries here.

TAG supplied a television, two mobile phones, four armchairs, a small bar, and enough wood veneer to cover just about every surface. With little leg room (or room to stand up and move around, for that matter), the interior was actually not all that great. 

Just imagine a polyester dress pants-shod regional VP awkwardly bending their posterior around the cabin when switching seats.

These days, if the elite travel on public roads, it's much more likely they'll be in a luxury SUV. If they prefer to share their vehicle with friends, family, and colleagues, many — even the Kardashians — outfit vans like the Mercedes-Benz Sprinter and V Class with wood, leather, plush armchairs, and enough screens to make Best Buy jealous.

Some sources online say that 23 TAG Function Cars were sold, but I'm VERY skeptical — by now, there'd be photos of at least one in a junk yard somewhere. 

More likely, Sbarro built only one and it's the one sitting in his museum.

I've got a conclusion…ready? The Cadillac Techniques d'Avant Garde Function Car by Sbarro: probably not as functional or desirable as a 6-wheel Citroën cargo van.

Being able to type out that last sentence is why, friends, the world of interesting vehicles never gets old.


Thank you to my supporting members: Ben B., Brad B., Chris G., Daniel G., Damian S., Daniel P., Ingrid P., Karl D., Luis O., Michael J., Michael L., Michelle S., Mike B., Mike L., Mike M., Richard W., Sam L., Wiley H.