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Proposed replacement - Aerodynamic saloon

In 1967 rumours of a merger between BMC and Leyland had begun to surface and Issigonis was keen to have a smaller car developed just in case new management might have a different view from Harriman's. Issigonis arranged for Pininfarina to be sent an 1100 platform from Innocenti, which assembled the car in Milan. Fioravanti was keen to show that the same aerodynamic shape and proportions, applied to the original 1800 concept could be transferred to a smaller car.

BMC had figured that if reaction was good the car could go into production very quickly. The motoring press had been criticising the present family saloons of looking alike and sharing the same three box design. BMC's 1100, 1300 and 1800 range was an exception to the trend, they were beginning to look "dumpy".

Pininfarina had in effect suggested the next step for the BMC transverse engine, front drive layout, and would go a long way to meeting the anticipated needs of motoring in the early '70s. These thoughts were echoed by Autocar who wrote: "a demonstration that so far as styling for the '70s is concerned, this it the kind of shape we shall all be driving". Something BMC/BL should have picked up on and run with, but sadly the BL management under Lord Stokes wanted nothing to do with either an ultra-advanced small car or Pininfarina.

Good all round vision, this could have been the start of the safest cars on Britain's roads...

Perhaps the biggest failing of the car was the length of the nose. It was suggested that if this was cut down in size it would perhaps spoil the clean lines. However, Citroen managed this with the GS and ended up with a fantastic product.

Four selling points of the proposed replacement were:

• Spacious interior for passengers and luggage.
• Good aerodynamics, with blending lines for minimum wind resistance and silence.
• Big windows all round for good outlook and safety.
• Simplicity of line, no bright metal, no radiator grille, rubber bumpers and enclosed headlamps.

The interior was also designed with safety in mind. There were padded and rounded surfaces and edges and recessed into the dashboard. Headrests were fitted the seats in order to make the car safer in the event of an accident. In addition to safety features the car also featured a central locking device to all five doors in order to lock them at the flick of a switch. Ideal for night time driving, or those less desirable areas.

The boot in the aerodynamic saloon was slightly more accessible than in ADO16, but the rear valance could be a hindrance to the load space.

The steering column is mounted on a double knuckle to allow it to adjust to suit the driver. The controls are easy to access and the level of padding in the passenger cabin can be clearly seen.

BL gave up on the idea, but Citroen could clearly see potential and were quick to take it forward. Whether or not Pininfarina had anything to do with it remains open to debate. I'm sure you'll agree the GS looks more a much more European take on the conservative "British" design.


Rover SD1

David Bache appeared to use the Aerodynamic saloon to base the SD1 on. Granted the original design has been brought up to date, but much of the original DNA is still buried under a modern coachline.


This page was last modified on Saturday, 01st July, 2017 @ 22:36:55 CEST