Connecting the Dots?

The 1985 Subaru XT came from outer space – well, maybe not.

Subaru XT - image via zeperfs
Subaru XT – image via zeperfs

Last week’s discussion of glazed C-pillars recalled the Subaru XT – a car I had forgotten about entirely. It was never a personal favourite, I always felt its stance and proportions were a bit off. Frankly, the passage of time hasn’t added to its charms but its recollection did prompt the memory of a nicer variation on the same theme – Pininfarina’s comely Griffe 4 concept of the same year, which we featured earlier yesterday.

Perhaps it was the lateness of the hour, but concentrating on the profile shot of the XT during the early hours of Sunday morning bothered me slightly – the Peugeot connection I had already made but I saw something else besides. But if you stare at something long enough, some form of eureka moment will occur. Of course – the Triumph TR-7. Obvious now, isn’t it?

I asked nicely, but the nice young lady flatly refused to vacate her sunspot. Image via tr7beans
I did ask politely, but the young lady flatly refused to vacate her spot. People can be so selfish. Image: tr7beans

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

15 thoughts on “Connecting the Dots?”

  1. There’s plenty I could say, but instead I’m just going to point out why I don’t like the Subaru XT: because this car did everything better, including the wedge profile:

    1. The Honda is not nearly so wedgy – more horizontal, really. The TR7 has that a more marked diving of the glasshouse into the lower body as well. And the TR7´s roofline is more formally upright (very odd for a sports car.)

    2. I like how your ‘more horizontal’ involves having a higher bootlid than bonnet, and your ‘more wedgy’ doesn’t. As I can’t amend my original comment, I’ll revise my view here: the Honda did everything better than the Subaru, including the more horizontal profile.

  2. Sorry, can’t agree about the TR7 inspiring the Subaru. The XT and the Honda have coherent profiles and details, the TR7 is all over the place. A drooping boot lid, a severely angular door shut line and a swooping swage line that does not seem to integrate with the rest of the profile. I do have to admit the I rather liked the XT, particularly for the very slim pillars.

    1. I agree that the TR7, as with other Harris Mann vehicles, gets unfairly judged. The crease was certainly prescient – groundbreaking even. I think the TR7 would have had a far better reception if it had been released as a convertible first, ….. and if it had been decently built. Alas, BL were convinced that US legislation would outlaw droptops and, as for the second point …..

  3. Well, isn´t the Fiat X1/9 the father of both cars? Or maybe we have to name Bertone as the pioneer of all anti-Pininfarina-styled sportscars?
    Looking at the Subaru XT, the Aston Martin Lagonda always has a short revival in my mind…

  4. I admit that the XT is one of those cars I quite like, purely because it looks so wrong. Put a piece of white paper either above or below the glasshouse area and imagine the rest of the car. It’s nothing like the reality.

  5. I’ll concede the similarity between the two cars is a little tenuous – but I still maintain it’s there – more perhaps in spirit than in flesh. Similarities? Both TR-7 and XT shapes are extreme wedges. Both appear as though they went from rough sketch to production without a great deal of refining along the way. Both suffer from issues around proportion and stance. Both have pronounced overhangs and massive disfiguring bumpers. Both have canopy treatments that bear scant relation to the lower body. Both have pronounced and defining body swage lines. Both would appear more harmonious as a convertible and given both were aimed squarely at the US market, it’s a surprise the Subaru wasn’t marketed as one. So, while I wouldn’t say the TR-7 was a direct influence on the Subaru, I would say the designers were taking their Harris Mann pills nonetheless.

    But Simon has nailed it. There’s a LOT of William Towns in the XT.

  6. I feel a visual analysis is in order. Why is Honda’s Prelude more “horizontal” than the TR7? It’s probably down to a few degrees or less.
    The Fiat adds further complications – it’s less wedgy than I recall yet clearly pointy like a dart.

  7. I like the wedge, I like the TR7. It’s all down to personal taste and my taste is definitely a minority. That’s how I like it. If everyone is going one way .. I walk the other way. If everyone is selling I start buying (with consideration of course) I looked at a FIAT X19 at the NEC the other day and was taken with the compact proportions, the way the top sat in the front “boot”. Despite being small there were 2 areas for luggage, the spare sat behind the drivers seat (with sensible tyres this cleverness can be achieved). A delightful car that if you ziebarted it (from new)would have lasted a very long time.

    1. Hi, I saw that car too, quite lovely, although, as I recall, it was a later one badged as a Bertone. If one compares that to the just-announced 124 Spider pastiche … actually, don’t bother …

  8. Design like a knife – holding the road like glue.
    Ok – but that´s a poor comparison….
    Triumph TR7 Advert 1980

    To my eyes, the TR7 always looks like a car made for self-assembly.

    1. That´s a rather appropriate image. Yes, the poor old TR7 was not put together all that well. I think it´s not the monster people say it is. Given Il Maestro has penned at least a dozen duds in his long and prolific career, it was a bit disingenuous of him to be so unkind about the side creases. His remark was a good joke in search of a better target.

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