The other day we were talking about the Renault 16 which led us to the Renault 21 which…
…led me to look for one for sale. Finding one I noticed the unhappy design of the nose cone, the plastic mask around the headlamp and containing the upper grille aperture. Here (below) are some other cars which demonstrate an attempt at rethinking the way the front fascia was handled.
One of them really works – the Ford Sierra is utterly industrial design. And have you noticed the Dacia Duster uses the same concept but eschews the body-colour for the lamp panel? In fact the elegance of the concept is hidden by the Duster’s other fussy details.
I have done this theme before, I think – the new bit is the Renault 21 (the facelifted version). Interestingly (if you are like me), you’ll notice a difference between the Ford, Citroen and VW trio versus the R21. What is it?
The R21 shown is a facelift and the others are initial launch versions. Series 1 Renault 21 of 1986-1989 had a quite conventional nose treatment. If we look at the fate of the theme, we see it did not last long or go down well.
The 1988 VW Passat had the nose-cone design but this was replaced with a conventional treatment in 1993. If Citroen didn’t change the XM’s nose, Velizy’s shape makers didn’t like the concept enough to use it on the 1993 Xantia. Ford threw away their ID aesthetic for the 1987 facelift of the Sierra.
The Renault 21 Series 2 is thus, in contrast, a kind of throwback – Renault had cottoned on to the nose-cone concept pretty much as every one else was facelifting them away (at a huge cost because the sheet metal had to be revised for a new/old assembly concept). Crash regs? Or aesthetics?
What were the origins of the “front clip”? The American Big Three started using them in 70s and 80s as a simple way for the design to accomodate badge engineering and frequent facelifts.
The 1981 DeLorean has something of the same treatment and the same problem of a glaring transverse-to-vertical line messing with the flow of the forms it cuts across:
By now have digressed back to John DeLorean’s time at GM where he introduced plastic, deformable nose cones. We must stop here….
(Is the Renault 21 as cool now as the Renault 16 would have been in 1987?)