View Full Version : World's coolest car company?

November 22nd, 2008, 09:45 AM
Maybe over-all the Germans and Japanese make better cars but IMHO the Fiat Group gets the prize as world's coolest car company: Fiat, Alfa, Lancia, Maserati, Ferrari. The designs are are better than ever.. and the company is healthy. Their styling has balls and the look can only be Italian... nothing wimpy... no anonymous "global" styling:

New Lancia Delta:

Delta interior:

Tiny but luxurious city car... Lancia Ypsilon:

Fiat Brava:
Brava interior:

The jewell like Fiat 500

500 interior high style:

Note the detailing:

Extra cool compact Alfa Mito

Mito interior
Maserati Sport GT... Maserati sales are up:

One of the world's most beautiful production cars:

GT interior
Interior detail

Maserati Quattroporte Sedan

Fiat Panda... small, rugged, IMHO a GREAT design:

November 22nd, 2008, 10:24 AM
I hear they're coming out with a new Topolino.

November 22nd, 2008, 10:59 AM
You've got super luxury cars like the Ferarri and Maserati with 12 cylinder engines ... as well as economical low priced compact cars like these:

2010 Topolino. Stylish like an iPod.


Watch this: First Lady of France Carla Bruni for the Lancia musa:


And again ... a great effective ad:


November 22nd, 2008, 11:51 AM
Thanks for the memory jog.

I forgot to respond to Ablarc's post (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=260221&postcount=195), which brought to mind a car I ran into on Washington St, near the Standard Hotel - the only Pininfarina I've ever owned.

http://img171.imageshack.us/img171/2807/meatpacking04jn4.th.jpg (http://img171.imageshack.us/my.php?image=meatpacking04jn4.jpg)
Fiat 124 Spider

It didn't have the clunky, useless mandated bumpers that were introduced in the 70s. More like this.


In 1963, Pininfarina introduced a styling concept from a Corvette Stingray at the Paris Auto Show, the Corvette Rondine, which is still in their possession. Several styling cues were incorporated into the fiat 124 Spider as few years later.



My favorite Adirondack car.

November 22nd, 2008, 11:55 AM
A classic.

BTW: You will be pleased to know that today, Fiat's reliability and quality is of world class standard.

November 22nd, 2008, 07:37 PM
Just another reason why Italy is the fashion capital of the World.

November 22nd, 2008, 08:01 PM
The new Ferrari California:


Maserati GT on Park:


Interior of the 2 seat GranSport... this is just soooo Italian:



Maserati went through very bad times and was nearly bankrupt when Fiat bought it. Maserati is now profitable. The Quattroporte Sedan. Isn't this what Buicks should look like?:



November 23rd, 2008, 04:25 PM
New Alfa 8C. 500 have been built for 2008. All sold. The car will go into production in 2009 with a spyder version offered also.


Shifting is done through toggles on the back of the streeing wheel rim.

Note how styling filters down to the new Mito (prices start at around 15,500 euro.):


November 23rd, 2008, 07:03 PM
The Brera does it for me..the whole thing is gorgeous, but those headlights just kill me.


But Aston Martin would have to be my favorite. Every single one of their cars looks identical and yet I still can't get enough of 'em. And I don't like the looks of the new Ferrari California. People have written its lines fare much better in person, but I just can't see past those stupid headlights. I don't understand why Ferrari would want to start taking design cues from the Koreans.

November 23rd, 2008, 08:40 PM
The design clues for the California's slanty-eyed covered lights come from the 1961 California.:


And actually Aston Martin uses a similair look.

Re: Aston Martin: while Ferrari and Maserati sales are up, Aston Martin's are down. No surprise... in economic hard-times even the rich want a sure thing: Ferrari's hold their value. Furthmore Aston Martin still has the foul oder of Ford.

November 23rd, 2008, 09:18 PM
Amazing quality and design.

November 24th, 2008, 05:07 PM
I always liked circles, ovals, and curves for interiors.

Never seems to go out of fashion.

November 24th, 2008, 05:31 PM
If the California looks a little too showy for your tastes ...there is the more traditional looking Scaglietti:


The interior is IMHO a wonderful mix of high-tech and artisan:


November 24th, 2008, 06:13 PM

This is stunning. Great thread Fab!

November 24th, 2008, 07:43 PM
Back when Detroit made great cars they borrowed liberally from the Italian design studios. The Ferrari was an inspiration for the original Mustang:

Note the fast back roof with gill vents:

Ferrari 250 GT

Even the Mustang logo was a blatant copy of the Ferrari prancing horse:

November 24th, 2008, 08:22 PM
Ford and Ferrari were big racing competitors in the 1960s.

Ferrari won the 24 hour Le Mans six straight times from 1960 through 1965. Ford introduced the GT40, which won the race the next four years. Neither company has won the race since.

Ford should have stayed in racing.

November 24th, 2008, 08:33 PM
It was quite a rivalry between them during the 60's


I die when I see those photos of the first Mustangs. There's a little Lincoln Continental, Ferrari, a touch of the 55 Tbird. They started out as elegant, classy looking cars... the styling was not swollen, pumped-up boy-racer:

The very first advertisement for the Mustang was this... evening gown and tux:

The advertising copy reads: "Mustang has the look, the fire, the flavour of the great European road cars."


The first page of the first brochure.... feathers and sequins:

1958 Ferrari:

November 24th, 2008, 09:25 PM
Even the wire wheels with knock-off hubs.

November 24th, 2008, 09:35 PM
Re: here's one equipped with those fake knock-off hubs, "spinners" as they were called:

(and another 1964 1/2 evening gown)


November 24th, 2008, 09:51 PM
There have been better looking Ferraris than the new California. Roly-poly and overfussy, it reminds me of a Lexus coupe from a few years back.

Definitely not sleek.

(I know, I know ... you need a big ass to shove the roof into.)

November 24th, 2008, 09:58 PM
I'm all for it.

November 24th, 2008, 11:11 PM
^ Figured you would be. ;)

November 25th, 2008, 01:10 AM
BTW: You will be pleased to know that today, Fiat's reliability and quality is of world class standard.

I hope this isn't sarcasm.

I remember inside door handles.

I could see myself in an Alfa 8C (http://www.roadandtrack.com/article.asp?section_id=3&article_id=6168)

November 25th, 2008, 06:13 AM
If only a Mustang now could cost $2368.

November 25th, 2008, 06:52 AM
The Quattroporte Sedan. Isn't this what Buicks should look like?
I think they already do.

Unresolved lines.

A better question: Is this what Maseratis should look like?

The Topolino is nice.

November 25th, 2008, 07:29 AM
A classic.

BTW: You will be pleased to know that today, Fiat's reliability and quality is of world class standard.

Do you have a quote on that? :confused:

I've seen at least one survey (of drivers, relating specific fixes on their own cars) placing Fiats way below average and certainly not in the same planet as the Japanese producers.

November 25th, 2008, 08:48 AM
Zippy: The detachable door handles were standard equipment on Fiats up until about 7 or 8 years ago.

Luca: I don't know how sales figures will be for 2008 but Fiat 's 2007 sales in Europe are a huge success. You can't do that with bad reliability.

Some figures:


Fiat Panda reliability:

I contend that the 500 will have an even better showing.

Oh, by the way, while we're at it: how's the British car industry doing these days?


Ablarc: That Maserati design is by now about 6 or 7 years old, IMHO it still looks great. Certainly the big new sedans from Germany top it, but IMHO the Maserati has an allure that they can't match. IMHO it's even nicer than the Bentley:


November 25th, 2008, 09:58 AM
http://www.autowp.ru/pictures280/maserati/quattroporte/autowp.ru_carrozeria_touring_superleggera_maserati _quattroporte_bellagio_fastback_concept_3.jpg (http://www.autowp.ru/pictures/maserati/quattroporte/autowp.ru_carrozeria_touring_superleggera_maserati _quattroporte_bellagio_fastback_concept_3.jpg)
[click for BIG image]

Carrozzeria Touring Maserati Quattroporte Bellagio Fastback (http://www.carbodydesign.com/archive/2008/04/29-carrozzeria-touring-maserati-bellagio/)


The Carrozzeria Touring (http://www.registrotouringsuperleggera.com/)was founded in the 1920’s and was known over the next forty years for its innovative designs, they worked with Ferrari, Aston Martin, Lamborghini and Maserati amongst others, the company was recently revived (http://www.barchetta.cc/All.Ferraris/events-stories/events/2006/models/carrozzeria-touring-superleggera/a-next-milestone-for-carrozzeria-touring-superleggera/index.html) and their first car is the Maserati Quattroporte Bellagio Fastback. The Carrozzeria Touring Maserati Quattroporte Bellagio Fastback is named after the village on the shores of lake Como and is based on the Maserati Quattroporte. The entire rear end of the vehicle has been remade to give it a fastback design giving it both a sleeker more sport like profile and more space in the trunk. The car is only available by special order (http://www.touringsuperleggera.eu/) directly from Carrozzeria Touring in Milan.


http://www.autowp.ru/pictures280/maserati/quattroporte/autowp.ru_carrozeria_touring_superleggera_maserati _quattroporte_bellagio_fastback_concept_2.jpg (http://www.autowp.ru/pictures/maserati/quattroporte/autowp.ru_carrozeria_touring_superleggera_maserati _quattroporte_bellagio_fastback_concept_2.jpg)
[click for BIG image]




Time to trade in the Outback... :cool:

November 25th, 2008, 10:27 AM
Zippy: The detachable door handles were standard equipment on Fiats up until about 7 or 8 years ago.The car was technologically advanced and refined for its time, a cut above the primary US competition - MGB.

It had features unheard of in entry level sports cars: double overhead cam aluminum crossflow cylinder head, four wheel disc brakes, first production engine with rubber timing belts.

For some reason, the interior door handles were chromed plastic. You couldn't tell, until they cracked. The parts network sucked; in Brooklyn it was a Datsun dealership. Took like 2 weeks to get parts. It happened twice. The second time I ordered two. Mocking me, it never broke again.

There's one Alfa 8C in the US.

November 27th, 2008, 11:23 PM
I'm still caught between my love of Hot Wheels & Matchbox Cars.

November 30th, 2008, 01:27 PM
Maserati Sport GT... Maserati sales are up:

One of the world's most beautiful production cars:

GT interior

I don't know whether I'd spend a lifetime with the new GT or a day with this old thing...

Maserati A6 GCS/53 Pinin Farina Berlinetta (http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/car/1526/Maserati-A6-GCS-53-Pinin-Farina-Berlinetta.html)




That was the last design Pininfarina worked on with Maserati before being instrumental in their resurgence. After designing the Quattroporte in 2003 Pininfarina developed the 2005 Pininfarina Maserati Birdcage 75th Concept (http://www.pininfarina.com/index/storiaModelli/ultimi/bird) which has informed the GT.
The GranTurismo (http://www.pininfarina.com/index/storiaModelli/ultimi/GranTurismo.html) is a singular blend of the heritage of the Tridente, of Pininfarina’s great design tradition and a modern look. “It evokes the modern themes explored in the Birdcage 75th concept, which was a futuristic extension of the Maserati marque, continuing its great tradition of advanced technology wrapped in sporty elegance”, stresses Lowie Vermeersch, Pininfarina Chief Designer.

http://www.desktopcar.net/wallpaper/8789-2/maserati_Pininfarina_Birdcage_75th_15.jpg (http://www.desktopcar.net/wallpaper/8787-2/maserati_Pininfarina_Birdcage_75th_15.jpg)

Pininfarina Birdcage 75th, sensual fluidity
by Silvia Baruffaldi

“To celebrate our 75th anniversary our intention was to make a strong, clearly focused statement: to create a dream-evoking car that would recover a role that has always been a foundation stone of a company like ours.” This remark by Andrea Pininfarina contains all the spirit of the Birdcage 75th, a concept car that is avantgarde in its advanced technological content, but at the same time is faithful to the bodyworking traditions of yesteryear. An exciting project that was terminated in just a few months, as Ken Okuyama, creative head of the Turin firm, tells us: “The first concepts go back to July last year. We immediately moved on to virtual modelling without doing the physical models, a technique we had already experimented with on the Nido (http://www.carbodydesign.com/archive/2008/01/30-pininfarina-nido-concept/)”.

The design of the car is based on the composition of two typical aerodynamic forms, the wing and the drop, in a balanced ensemble of great visual impact. “We wanted to keep the overall volume as low as possible,” explains Lowie Vermeersch, chief designer of the project, “so we started with the chassis of the Maserati MC12 (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maserati_MC12), eliminating roof and pillars but strengthening the sills, which create the high access point.

The Birdcage 75th is a dream car in its pristine state, “but it hints at some of the graphical features that are basic to upcoming Maserati’s”, says Okuyama. The exterior derives from a proposal by the designer Jason Castriota, while the interior was defined by Lowie Vermeersch himself and by Giuseppe Randazzo, with help from Pininfarina Extra for the Motorola-supplied technological content, in particular the product portfolio with iDEN (integrated Digital Enhanced Network) technology: digital cell phones with wireless Internet access, two-way radio communication and text pager.

(Full article in Auto & Design (http://www.autodesignmagazine.com/) no. 152 p. 21)http://www.desktopcar.net/wallpaper/8759-2/maserati_Pininfarina_Birdcage_75th_05.jpg (http://www.desktopcar.net/wallpaper/8757-2/maserati_Pininfarina_Birdcage_75th_05.jpg)

December 2nd, 2008, 07:41 AM
Luca: I don't know how sales figures will be for 2008 but Fiat's 2007 sales in Europe are a huge success. You can't do that with bad reliability.

Fiat Panda reliability:

Sales depend on many things, as you well know, including marketing, pricing, etc. When Mercedes suffered a massive drop in reliability and build quality a few years back, their sales fell but nothing close to proportionally, what they should have.

I think Marchionne’s done a fantastic job at Fiat with what he had. If we’re being realistic, however, the only auto makers that can BOAST about reliability would be Honda and Toyota, in relative terms. In absolute terms, most major brands are very reliable, these days.

Note that the survey you refer to, while praising the Panda also recognizes that Fiat’s overall result is 31 out of 35, which is pretty dismal.

How’s the British car industry doing these days?

They don’t really have an independent car industry, just local manufacture of foreign marques (and fairly efficient manufacture at that). It’s a choice they made that you can disagree or agree with but it says nothing good or bad about Fiat.

By the way, on the ‘coolness’ aspect: If, say, Ramada Inn buys a cool boutique hotel mini-chain, are Ramadas ‘cool’? If Fiat buys Ferrari, are Fiats cool? I don’t think so,

Me, I like the 500 (though I wish modern safety rules had allowed for an even closer imitation of the original aesthetics).

What I wonder about 500s and Minis and Smarts is how people can justify spending that money where they could get an equal or better and larger car for less money…

“I am what I buy”. :( Very aspirational. :rolleyes:

December 2nd, 2008, 09:06 AM
You can tell me all you want about how Honda and Toyota can boast about quality: but people choose to buy certain cars for many reasons.... quality is only one of those reasons... otherwise one would read the judgement of ConsumerReports and be done with it: but not everyone buys a car as if they are buying a toaster oven.

The Lexus often comes out as the best luxury car in comparitive tests, but plenty of Mercedes, BMW and Audi drivers would never consider trading in their cars for one. Style is an important reason.

Fiat has had an impressive turn around because of gains in quality and a dedication to good styling. And Ferrari and Maserati DO give Fiat a glow... and adds to their engineering and styling know-how. At one time GM regularly built dream cars: Fiat builds them in-house and puts them into production with Ferrari or things like the Alfa 8C.
GM and Ford once raced: Fiat still does with Ferrari and Maserati and it produces engineering benefits. Ferrari and Maserati create what Cadillac (the Standard of the World) and Lincoln (the Car of Presidents) once did for Ford and GM... or what the Corvette once did for Chevy... or the Thunderbird for Fords.

TopGear's review of the Fiat Grande Punto:

"The Punto is strangely cool, not only because it has that nod to Maserati in its styling, but also because it's not the default small car choice that is the Mini. Small hatchbacks, just like scooters, are always cool if they're Italian."

"You'd hardly dare expect it, but the Punto seems oddly sturdy. For an Italian hatch that undercuts the competition, this is nothing short of miraculous. Another string to what's become a surprisingly tempting bow."



And personally I'd take a Smart, Mini, Punto, 500... over THIS anyday:



January 19th, 2009, 02:01 AM
what could ever top this gull-winged puppy for coolness?

i mean come on --- you can time travel in it! :D


January 19th, 2009, 06:23 AM
And personally I'd take a Smart, Mini, Punto, 500... over THIS anyday:

You might --but someone else might say that particular Honda is strangely cool, with its neatly-integrated lines. Too bad that version isn't available in the U.S.; guess they judged it was too small.

January 19th, 2009, 10:15 AM
That honda looks a bit too smushed.....

Maybe it is the clam-shell looking compact (as in make-up case) build, but I think a car like that, with a bit more flesh (maybe slightly larger tires) would have more personality.

I hope they start to realize it is not just eco-gurus that want some efficient cars these days.

January 19th, 2009, 06:16 PM
See here.

January 20th, 2009, 08:47 AM
Fix-It-Again-Tony + Mostly-Old-Parts-And-Rust = F#cked-Over-Reconditioned-Dodge

January 20th, 2009, 09:16 AM
From what I understand of this: Fiat gets 35% of Chrysler for free.... 35% of a company that is getting bailout money from the US gov.!

January 20th, 2009, 09:23 AM
Vive fascismo!

January 20th, 2009, 09:39 AM
what could ever top this gull-winged puppy for coolness?

More hot wings



January 20th, 2009, 09:41 AM
It was cooler in the 80's....

I mean, you have such a radical vehicle, and you put standard sedan headlamps on it??!? Whassap wit dat?

BTW, does anyone else get the feeling this would look great in a modern kitchen.........

January 20th, 2009, 09:54 AM
....now that you mention it, yes.

January 20th, 2009, 10:02 AM
From what I understand of this: Fiat gets 35% of Chrysler for free.... 35% of a company that is getting bailout money from the US gov.!


January 20th, 2009, 10:11 AM
It also shows how bad things look for Chrysler.... they have to give it away.

January 20th, 2009, 10:17 AM
I hope the new Challenger will survive. :(

January 20th, 2009, 10:31 AM
It's ironic that Chrysler needs Fiat for new technology.

At one time Chrysler built space rockets:


Chrsler did turn to Italy for limousine coachwork. The Imperial Ghia Limousine was IMHO greater than the Caddy and Lincoln limos of the Time. Jackie Kennedy's personal White House limo was an Imperial.

(You can see the old Hotel Savoy in this shot. Look how even more elegant this area was when it was a sea of limestone)



What's ahead for Chrysler (1962) :

January 20th, 2009, 10:47 AM
Super Fab: 1958 Ghia Limo on Park Ave (sans the MetLife).... LeverHouse to the right:


1958 Imperial Ghia Limo interior:


January 20th, 2009, 11:19 AM
It's ironic that Chrysler needs Fiat for new technology.

Indeed it is.

Funny how this works out.

Main Entry: fi·at http://www.merriam-webster.com/images/audio.gif (http://javascript<b></b>:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?fiat0001.wav=fiat')) http://www.merriam-webster.com/images/audio.gif (http://javascript<b></b>:popWin('/cgi-bin/audio.pl?fiat0002.wav=fiat'))
Pronunciation: \ˈfē-ət, -ˌat, -ˌät; ˈfī-ət, -ˌat\ Function: noun Etymology: Latin, let it be done,
3d singular present subjunctive of fieri to become, be done — more at be (http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/be) Date: circa 1631

1 : a command or act of will that creates something without or as if without further effort