The 1996 Mercedes-Benz SLK (R-170) by Mauer and Gunak started a trend for coupe-convertibles. In 2007 Ford joined the party as it began to end.
Pininfarina helped out with the styling and created one of the more successful attempts at using a C-class platform upon which to base such a car. Unlike Mauer and Gunak’s neatly styled roadster the Ford had to be a compromise and much cheaper. Pininfarina judged it quite well and managed to give the CC a very acceptable Italianate feel around the new rear bodywork while leaving the boot big enough to be usable.
We were discussing earlier this week what a carrozzerie brings to the party. Here we see how Pininfarina blended the carry-over front with new and pleasingly-chiselled forms. The lights are unique to the car and are good enough to make one want a car styled like that all the way around.
The idea makes me yearn for a fully developed medium-volume Focus derivative with a Pininfarina badge. Such a car might have been a creative solution to waning interest in volume-produced mid-size saloons. The Pininfarina input would have allowed Ford to package the mechanicals in a shape distinctly different from the Focus range; building to order would have added cachet too. That’s what the Vignale should be too, rather than a Ghia X for our troubled times.
Instead of the CC being a trial for a Pininfarina sub-brand, it ended up as a half-forgotten shot in the CC wars. The genre faded away as the platforms were replaced and interest moved to CUVs. Opel tried to keep demand alive for open-top motoring but the Cascada was a ragtop and it won’t be replaced when its number is up. The other mass-market brands have quit the game entirely as indeed have most of the premium brands. In the end, nobody liked the consequences of a hard convertible: top-heavy, often ill-proportioned and short on space.
All photos: Driven to Write.