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Lapin Agile- 1999
This one-of-a-kind, canvas-bodied roadster was created and commissioned by Anatoly “Toly” Arutunoff. The name he gave his unique vehicle, Lapin Agile (LEH-pawn AH-zheel), loosely translates as the Rabbit that Wouldn’t Hold Still, which speaks volumes about the man.
Toly began his racing career in 1957 after purchasing a Porsche Carrera Speedster in Tulsa. He competed in a Ferrari 250 GT in Italy’s 1967 Targa Florio open road endurance race and drove in two of the legendary Cannonball Runs in the 1970s. Toly was the Sports Car Club of America (SCCA) H Production National Champion and won the President’s Cup in 1981. He constructed his own course; Hallett Motor Racing Circuit, close to his Tulsa home. Toly was involved in countless races around the U.S. circuit and many more in Europe. Even as late as 2007, he was still driving in European vintage rallies, according to Autoweek!
From the very beginning, Toly also collected unique, low production, and one-off cars. The Lapin Agile, is one such car. Built on a Chevy Camaro chassis and powered by a Chrysler L-head inline eight, it’s said to do 0-60 mph in 10 seconds. However, its most extraordinary characteristic is its canvas body. Fabric-designed bodies originated in early aircraft fuselages, and soon after, it was adopted for super-light coachwork in motor vehicles in the 20s and 30s. Using these materials saved time in construction because fabric was cheaper and easier to work with than metal—though, Toly’s body design is less about economy. Fitted over a tube frame, this canvas skin is truly meant for style. Like a chameleon, it could be switched out whenever the mood arose.
Speaking of style, the cabin was devised to produce an “interior tranquility”. Based on a theory that, “crocodiles are among the most leisurely of reptiles,” he fitted the cockpit in crocodile-embossed wallaby hide!
Technical design and construction of the Lapin Agile were done by Alf Gebhardt.
Manufacturer: Anatoly “Toly” Arutunoff
Country of Origin: USA
Drivetrain Configuration: Front-engine, rear-wheel drive
Engine: Chrysler, water-cooled 323.50-cid, L-head inline eight, 92 hp
Transmission: Four-speed, clutch-free semi-automatic
Top speed: unknown
Years Produced: 1999
Number Produced: 1