The Karmann Ghia is familiar to most automotive enthusiasts as a styling exercise intended to turn the Volkswagen Beetle into a slinky “sportscar” using pedestrian internals. The resulting Type 1 Ghia debuted way back in 1955 and added some (more) Porsche styling to the family sedan. Assembled by Karmann in Osnabrück, Germany, with styling from Carrozzeria Ghia in Turin, Italy, the curvy two-door offered little performance, but much style, compared to its stablemates.
However, the Type 1 Karmann Ghia wasn’t the only car to bear that German-Italian nameplate.
As we bring you one Question of the Day each weekday, we figured getting someone from TTAC’s commentariat to ask questions of the same commentariat above the fold would add a dose of flavor. That flavor comes from Ohio, and its name is CoreyDL. Welcome him to the headlines and bylines.
It’s entirely likely in 2016 that you or someone you’re very close to own one or more crossovers. The CUV is as prevalent in the North American landscape these days as the midsize sedan was in about 1988. But as with the body-on-frame SUV which came before, and the all-American wood-sided family wagon before that, the party can’t last forever.
Safety groups want pedestrians to giggle like the Pillsbury Dough Boy when struck by two-ton metallic death machines, necessitating ever softer edges. Stricter fuel regulations push the roofs lower for the sake of aerodynamics, shrinking space for people and cargo. Designers who don’t shower very often show us shapes inspired by used bars of soap.
How long can this go on before the party’s over, and the CUV isn’t the cool kid any more?
Though it may seem hard to believe, we’re only a month away from celebrating the 50th anniversary of the start of the Wedge Era in automotive designs.
To those of us who still think of the Countach as a sharp enough design to be considered cutting edge, this is a sad reality. Yet the prototype of what would become the 1980s poster child was first shown in a hard-to-conceptualize 1971.
The influence of the angle extended far beyond the Countach in the 1980s. It also started before the scissored doors opened on the stand in Geneva in 1971 and was seen in many more marques than just those wearing the Raging Bull. Even more impressive than its age is the reach of these designs, some of which are still being refined today. So, let’s take a look at some of the interesting and influential doorstop shapes and where they later found a home.
It should come as no surprise that some of the most iconic automobile designs have interesting associations in their geneses. Where those associations come from, though, can sometimes be surprising, as companies leapfrog the globe trying to find the talent, technical expertise, and productive capacity to build a new or unique model.
These stories seem to pop up more often when there’s a shift in a company’s priorities or an attempted to redefine its direction or mission. Large organizations can be slow to adjust to these changes, and so often these major manufacturers turned to small teams to produce what have often become standout models from already legendary lineups.
Often, but not always, as we see in this montage of odd couples.
Sometimes designers become super stars in the car biz: just ask that dude who made the Ford GT, or the other dude responsible for the Chrysler 300. I am sure both made other vehicles which they truly hated. Perhaps the 300’s designer shares some amount of blame for the last Chrysler Sebring? I am sure that Ital Design’s Giorgetto Giugiaro has the same problem, but Hyundai wrote him a check and he made it happen. Quite honestly, the original Hyundai Excel here in the USA wasn’t a bad car at all. Bad looking, that is.
And honestly, after walking around this example at a historically savvy Hyundai dealer (next to a Lamborghini Dealership that bored me after 20 minutes) I suggest to you, dear reader, that the Excel sold so unbelievably well on both price and design. Because this machine could look much, much worse.
Last week we told you that Volkswagen could announce this week that they would buy Giorgetto Giugiaro’s Italdesign. Sure enough, they did. At a joint press conference held today in Turin, both companies announced that Volkswagen Group will take a 90.1 percent stake in IDG. That buys them the company lock, stock and barrel, including the brand name rights and patents. (Read More…)