By 1978 Franco Sbarro was becoming well-known within the car world as a maker of replicas, most notably the BMW 328. He may have found building replicas interesting even if somewhat limiting . He had created a few original cars in the past; most notably the Stash. This achieved a high profile at the 1975 Paris Motor Show: the show car’s interior was designed by Pierre Cardin, the famous fashion designer. In 1978, Sbarro produced another original model: the all-terrain Windhound.
The off-road 4x4 market was different then. The vehicles were rugged; on-road comforts and capabilities were definitely secondary. Some typical examples of this period are: the Land Rover; the Nissan Patrol; the Mercedes G; the Toyota Land Cruiser. However alongside these rough and ready machines were a few that were more luxurious and above all more comfortable, the forerunner being the Range Rover. The Windhound is in this latter category.
The Windhound, available in two or four door versions, resembles a raised station-wagon. The chassis is derived from the Mercedes G. The Windhound is also powered by Mercedes’ engines, typically the famous 6.9 litre V8 (I don’t know if others were used). The interior is luxurious without being flashy. An abundance of wood and leather giving it an english flavour.
The four door version has a different front grille with two rectangular headlights. In both models, fog lights are incorporated into the lower part of the bumper. At the back a spoiler is mounted above the hatch. One vehicle has exhaust and intake pipes running from the bonnet up over the roof.
The beauty and excellent engineering of the Windhound cannot have been lost on those (rich!) off-road amateurs. Twelve Windhounds were built, each one according to the customer’s desires. However one man wanted a version with 6 wheel drive for an unusual use: so the Windhawk was born.
text Philippe Calvet - Translation Justin Bouverie
Windhound 2 portes, moteur BMW : 2 exemplaries
Windhound 2 portes, moteur Mercedes : 6 exemplaries
Windhound 2 portes, moteur Jeep : 3 exemplaries
Windhound 4 portes, moteur Mercedes 280 : 1 exemplary
Windhound 4 portes, moteur Jeep : 2 exemplaries