I’ll Second the Third

The Thinker’s Garage might be a blog you have heard of. If you haven’t it’s worth a little look. The latest post shows a proposal by designer Andrew Marshall for a new Alfa Romeo Giulia.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2 door concept: source

The proposal draws quiet inspiration from the 1974- 1987 GTV while using the running gear of the current rear-drive Giulia. Marshall’s proposal eschews the production car’s soft shapes for something more angular (in some ways). The sideglass is a bit deeper than is fashionable – which is a good thing, lending the car a welcoming feeling many modern sports cars lack.

Here is the text accompanying the article (it doesn’t say much about Mr Marshall: “It’s been a few years since the Brera left Alfa Romeo’s lineup, leaving the Milanese brand without a 4 seat coupe in its range for the first time in decades. But rumours persist that there will eventually be a new coupe in showrooms, based on the rear wheel drive Giorgio architecture, which made its debut with the Giulia.

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2-door concept: source

These images demonstrate how such a car might look if it were to finally reach production. Featuring inspiration from historical Alfa models such as the 155 V6 Ti, 916 series GTV and Alfetta GTV 6, this Giulia GT proposal is an intended rival for cars such as the BMW 4 Series, Mercedes-Benz C Coupe and Audi A5.”

2017 Alfa Romeo Giulia 2-door concept: source

The design is very credible with some neatly resolved details. I am not sure it is intended to be expensively coach-built. The shutlines at the front are missing a section to define the outline of the bumper. As it is, the bumper flows uninterrupted into the wing and there is a panel gap missing somewhere along the sill. The bumper to wing panel gap is a tad problematic. A natural location, from the lamp inner top corner to the bonnet would look obtrusive. This shows how tricky shutline management can be as it can have strong repercussions on graphics and proportions. It is something that a revised version ought to consider though.

Mind the gap: source

A better idea (perhaps) might be to run it roughly like the green line, assuming it does not look too weird from some other angle.

Mind the gap 2: source

I notice also that Mr Marshall has avoided the use of brightwork. He is in good company as Aston Martin have elected to do the same on the new Vantage. It can always be added later.

2018 Aston Martin Vantage: source

Here is the Alfa Romeo concept in relation to the first generation of GTV:

Then and now: source

The references don’t shout, but add a bit of visual richness to the mix. Donald Norman would approve: functional, aesthetic and cognitive appeal. All in all, it’s a very convincing proposal and it’s pleasant to see these (though often the real thing is a lot less satisfying). I like the idea of giving the car its own identity rather than simply translating the existing saloon forms onto another package.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

15 thoughts on “I’ll Second the Third”

  1. The Alfetta GT’s strange combination of a hippo’s bum with an ant eater’s nose was chosen to make the car a full four seater. This was done because market research seemed to indicate that the main competitor was the Fiat 124 Coupé which had proper rear seats and a large boot, so the Alfetta GT was given the same.
    This new design seems to be much sleeker around the rear end making it a two seater or at maximum a 2+2 and a completely different kind of car.
    Fabrizio Ferrari’s wonderful book on the Alfetta GT in the “vetture che hanno fatto la storia” series gives fantastic insight in the car’s development process which surely was no less political and tortured than that of any BL product.

    1. When you see a GTV driving it makes even more sense. It’s one of my favourite latter-day Alfas. This new interpretation synthesises newer and older themes very well. I’d be interested to know if Mr Marshall set himself any package limits or was styling the main parameter.

    2. This car looks pretty good but for me it lacks ‘Alfa-ness’.
      The front strongly resembles BMW’s Gina except for the scudetto and it doesn’t even have proper ‘baffi’ which are absolutely mandatory on any Alfa.
      When the integral door handles are meant to resemble those of the GTV 916 they are done the wrong way round. Designed as they are, it would be impossible to open the door using them.
      I once had a 916 GTV and absolutely liked its looks – there’s still nothing like it on the road. But that car was an absolute pig when it came to everyday usability. This new one could be better, it even might have a usable boot 🙂

    3. Simon: it is not easy to design sonething contemporary without some stylistic resemblances. Not a few good designs have suggestions of other details. The Skoda reference is not shouting at me. As it is a CAD model it necessarily lacks the degree of finish only full-scale, long duration sculpting can provide. I see a lot of half-baked models and this model is not in that group, panel-gaps notwithstanding.

    4. Dave,

      you’re not alone, as far as your appreciation of the 916 GTV is concerned.

      If DTW’s powers that be don’t mind, I’d like to refer you to this piece on the subject: http://www.auto-didakt.com/cars_blog_leser/alfa-romeo-916-gtv-coupe-enrico-fumia-pininfarina-car-design-history-review.html

      Regarding Mr Marshall’s proposal, I’m in two minds. I much prefer his more clearly defined form language, even though it’s a bit on the rough side, to the current Giulia’s somewhat flaccid forms. But this GTV’s front overhang is absurdly short for today’s pedestrian crash-friendly body architectures, and the door appears to be about two metres in length.

      Now, does anybody else remember the Mike Robinson-penned Bertone Alfa coupé concept of a few years ago?

    5. [Getting off topic]
      As a life long dyed in the wool Alfista I can confirm that not being alone with one’s appreciation for an Alfa is strange…
      I already found the linked article that provokes many thoughts and comments.
      The 916 was a marvelous piece of design, a sculpture in the best Italian tradition.
      I got mine in April 1995, so in addition to usability deficits, lacklustre fit and finish, appaling Punto/Cinquecento parts bin special interior I also got severe quality and reliability glitches of an early example. Without Rosso Alfa tinted spectacles, the 916 GTV quite frankly was a bad car. It had breath taking looks, eye popping roadholding and fantastic engines – but that pretty much was it.
      Small wonder it didn’t succeed against the Audi TT – history repeating itself after the Alfetta GT’s failure against the Porsche 924. In both cases the German cars looked vastly inferior on paper but Alfa managed to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory with half baked products. And don’t forget the dealers who are able to disillusion even the most avid fan of the marque.

  2. While I like the idea of an Alfa Coupé back in the range and the overall proportions of this proposal, I find the detailing quite odd. It looks like from an old computer game, lots of small, plane surfaces jioned by edges and corners. It’s something Skoda has been doing for some years now and I equally dislike it there.

    1. It’s not only the grille. The front bumper is a major example. And also that side crease looks like taken from a Superb.

  3. Chris: the Robinson Alfa is from 2010 and still looks futuristic; Mr Marshall’s concept is meant for here and now. It’s not the door length that troubles me so much as the front wheel arch. Still, it takes a lot of trial and error to get from CAD “sketch” to a realised form. I really don’t feel the proposal deserves much kicking. I believe it could easily be tweaked to product maturity and would be worth so treating.

    1. I wasn’t kicking it. It’s just that I fear that trying to combine the packaging of the Alfetta GTV with today’s safety requirements would result in something a lot less sleek than this proposal, which is generally quite agreeable.

      The Bertone Pandion’s front end was a worthwhile attempt at updating the scudetto. Much more so than Alfa’s own efforts since. But what I truly desire is, of course, a RWD Alfa Brera. It may be 15 (!) years old by now, but it has none of its allure.

  4. That shield grille aside, it looks very Audi to me, especially in the surface treatment. Alfa won’t do a coupé yet, maybe for a long time, ir never for as long as it is part of FCA. Heaven knows how much they must have lost on the 4C and the bejumpered one won’t want his fingers burnt again. It seems they can’t even attract sufficient demand for the Stelvio and Levante in a rapidly rising SUV market, so imagine trying to make a turn on a coupé.

    1. Off-topic, but I’m not so sure they burnt cash on the 4C – knowing Sergio, all the risk would have been outsourced to suppliers like Dallara. I’m fairly confident they didn’t make much, if anything, but I actually would be surprised if they burnt a ton of cash on it – the only way it would have been signed off in the first place would be if there were cast-iron guarantees they wouldn’t.

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