“The actuality of it is that while I was at Fiat Centro Stile I designed the Alfa 145 as a 4 door hatchback, and when it was sent to Arese (Alfa Design) Walter [Da Silva] and his team made it into a 2-door (with my help…For some time I went back and forth between the Alfa and Fiat studios to oversee the production-izing changes) and widened the front fenders and changed the grille (that without my help! I still have the original grill that was given to me by the modeling house that did the car as a going away present when I left Fiat). The 3-volume 146 was then done later by the Alfa team.”
“The original concept was part of a platform sharing project between Alfa and Lancia for the successors to the Alfa 33 and the Lancia Delta. You might be interested to know that the 145 started life on my sketchpad as a new Lancia Delta (I imagined it as a 2 1/2 volume instead of the 2 volume original), and when we brought the full sized plaster model back from the wind tunnel it still had all the foam on the rear that we had added to optimize the Cx (basically we filled in the “notch” in the rear and turned it into a 2 volume) Arch Mario Maioli, who was the “Design Guru” at Fiat at the time, saw it come in to the studio down one of the corridors and asked my boss, Arch. Ermanno Cressoni, “What the hell is that?” Cressoni replied, “Its the model that Bangle just had in the wind tunnel.” Maioli studied it at a distance and then said “Looks like an Alfa.” Cressoni replied “Of course Architetto, that’s exactly what it is.” The next thing I knew we were taking the Lancia grill mock-ups off and adding Alfa ones!! That is the twisted way that cars get borne! (on another note, the weird dip in the front door beltline of the 145 was a legacy from the chief engineer of Fiat at the time who had dreamed of putting such a strange line in the Fiat 500 when it turned out to be too expensive for that “cheap” car he made me add it to the Alfa 145!)”
– Chris Bangle, interview, 2013
Interview with Chris Bangle
“Lancia Beta Montecarlo
The first drawings date from the beginning of 1969 and the theme of this project was to produce a sports car, with economic engine and front wheel drive Fiat 128 derived platform (first drawing).
The first sketches a little ‘exasperated and whimsical show a research aimed at young people from which the name inside “Youth Sports” later became X 1/20 Fiat always.
During the execution of these studies there was suddenly the order to change the arrangement of the engine which became transverse rear.
Of course, given the overall dimensions of the car and went with it the passage contained two bucket seats.
In the drawings in color and scale model 1-10 is already glimpsed the character of Max, the car became more tense, the side fins were very highlighted and the set was not overdone as well as a sporty also conveyed a certain elegance.
The biggest surprise was a Monday morning when I found myself embedded in the nose of the model a Lancia grille deliberately deformed, asking for explanations in Martinengo told me that on Saturday before the staff Fiat and Pininfarina in a hasty meeting decided this change.
She was born the Lancia Beta Montecarlo fully designed and manufactured in series by Pininfarina Spa
After all, even in this way decisions can be proved as successful in the near future.”
– Paolo Martin, interview, 2013
Photos and drawing provided by Paolo Martin
More about Lancia Beta Montecarlo
This case will bring better understanding and update Your views of origins of Maserati Mistral and of it’s designers and bodymakers.
First of all the most basic information is that the Mistral Coupé was designed by Pietro Frua and was bodied at Martelleria Maggiora in Turin from 1963. Mr. Frua had sold his own workshop in 1957 to Ghia. It is to some extent incorrect to state that coachwork is by Frua when it is by Maggiora. Just like when Boano designed the Aurelia B20 GT but it was coachbuilt by Pinin Farina.
Now we move to Mistral Spyder. An interesting piece of informtion was stated and maintained by Maserati Classiche:
“Last but not least, regarding the Maserati Mistral Spyder we inform you that there is no mistake in the text. The coupé Mistral (2 posti) was indeed designed by Mr. Pietro Frau. The Mistral Spyder however, was not. In order to create a Spyder model out of the original Mistral model, the whole vehicle was reworked and redesigned (of course the inspiration is from the original Mistral) but the work was carried out by Mr. Giovanni Michelotti.” (Interview with Maserati Heritage)
And still the Spyder, same as with Coupé, was bodied at Maggiora, but under a different designer, Mr. Michelotti. So now it is completely incorrect to state ‘coachbuilt by Frua’ as both times the title lies with Maggiora of Turin.