Wandering across the despotic prehistoric plains of the Americas for over 2.5 million years, the Smilodon genus, of the subfamily Machairodontinae, was a social predator to be feared. Up until 10,000 years ago, this 1000lb mammal stalked woolly mammoths, horses, and bison with its foot-long upper canines and bear-like build. It’s unique dentition and ease of recognition can be attributed to this animal’s place in popular culture today. It’s influence can also be seen in Italy, where Stile Bertone used the sabre-toothed tiger as paleontological inspiration for the Alfa Romeo Pandion, the concept car from the 2010 Geneva Motor Show.
The intimidatingly immense incisors of the Smilodon are mirrored by the Pandion’s titanic vertically swinging doors. Low-flying planes beware.
But it is the rear of the car where genuflection is mostly deeply made to the altar of sabre-toothed fossils.
The scattered fragments of steel and plastic protrude from the Pandion’s tail like a grenaded graveyard of bone fragments at the La Brea Tar Pits, home to the largest fossil collection of Smilodons to date. Angles intersect vertices, which cut off slopes and circumvent order. It all conspires to bring forth the raw incivility and brutality of those prehistoric times – the times when the sabre-toothed tiger was a force to be reckoned with.
Sometimes, inspiration comes from the most unlikely sources.