After disappearing from sight for several years the unusual Covini 6-wheeled supercar project is back in action, now featuring revised mechanicals, more power, a new gearbox, and most significantly it has now been turned into a fully fledged convertible. The Covini C6W, as the unique supercar was designated, broke the mould when it was first presented in public in 2004 with its four front wheels, a distinctive cue somewhat reminiscent of the famous Tyrell Formula 1 cars from the 1970s.


The story of Covini starts three decades ago. After constructing several prototype cars as a hobby, in 1978 Ferruccio Covini founded Covini Engineering, a small Italian company dedicated to the construction of static and automotive prototypes. Built from a deep passion for cars and engines, the artisan company has been active mainly with experimentation and innovation rather than volume production. 


In March 2004, at the Geneva Motor Show, they launched their most ambitious - and eye catching - project to date, the unusual six-wheeled Covini C6W, a car which they hope will continue to push the Covini name onwards.

The original idea was conceived in 1974, but the idea of utilising a four front wheel design was not possible with the technology available at the time. The project was shelved in favour of the Soleado prototype, deemed a higher priority, and the plans lay dormant until the 1980s when hydro-pneumatic suspension for the four front wheels was devised to optimise weight distribution under various loading conditions.

However, high development costs and other contingencies, forced the project to be delayed again. Its use of new ABS technology and airbags in the 1990s pointed it in the direction of new research into active and passive safety. This aspect encouraged backing from other company's to assist its development.


Over the last three decades Covini have been busy pushing automotive thinking forward and honing themselves into a skilled and innovative company. Their major projects to date include the T44 Soleado in 1978, a sports car offering four wheel drive and a cutting edge body shell comprising of interchangeable panels, followed by the B24 Sirio four years later, a two seat sports saloon which became the first production ready diesel powered car to reach 200km/h (125mph).


The firm followed this up in 1986 with the T40 Summit, a luxurious and elegant 2+2 coupe propelled by a 4-litre engine and, last but not, least the C36 Turbotronic two years later, a coupé able to shatter the 300km/h barrier (188mph). All these prototypes share the distinction of being powered by diesel engines from Italian engine builder VM Motori. Covini Engineering has also taken part in other projects, including the design and manufacture of the Dragon Fly ultra-light 2 seat helicopter, and the Chevrolet Callaway C7 muscle car.


Following appearances at major events, such as the Geneva Motor Show and Top Marques Monaco, in 2004 and 2005 the project quickly disappeared from sight. However the engineering team at Covini have been busy in the meantime, chopping off the roof to create an open-topped supercar. More power has been squeezed from its 4.2-litre engine, it now boasts 440 PS, along with new wheels and tyres, a new gearbox and of course a soft top. At the moment Covini is manufacturing this unique supercar on request, however the ambitious firm plans to put it into limited production, of around 6 units per year, from the end of 2009.

© 2008 Interfuture Media/Italiaspeed