Carrozzeria designs : Pininfarina 1800
Ahead of its time
This brilliant Pininfarina styling exercise was never considered for production. The running gear was pure BMC 1800, but the style was utterly unique for 1967.
This BMC-Pininfarina 1800 predates the Citroën CX by seven years – one wonders how BMC may have fared had they the courage to put this beauty into production – it would have certainly appealed in Europe and undoubtedly would have created a high-technology reputation for the (by then) struggling manufacturer.
There’s no doubt that had BMC had the foresight to produce this car, then things might have been somewhat different in the lead-up to the Leyland takeover of the following year. Styled by Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina, the Berlina Aerodinamica was as svelte and slippery as the standard Austin/Morris 1800 was frumpy and unappealing to contemporary motorists.
Unveiled at the 1967 Turin Motor Show, seven years before the introduction of the very similar-looking Citroen CX, and nine before the Rover SD1, the styling of this concept car was hugely influential.
There was never very much wrong with the production 1800 to drive thanks to keen dynamics and reasonable performance (especially in the later 2200cc guise) but it was brought down by its stark interior and rather challenging styling. Plenty of subsequent speculation from commentators has concluded that with this styling, the 1800 could have gone on to be a huge international hit – although we’re not so sure that buyers would have been ready to take the leap in the late 1960s – and the 1800 may well have benefited more from a less extreme restyle of its interior and exterior and the option of a column gearshift (something very popular in Europe at the time).
It was rather a similar story with the later 1100 version, which was a far more appealing proposition than the Allegro…
Although this car was never produced as an 1800 replacement, it may have been a source of inspiration for the design of the Rover SD1, as this comparative analysis demonstrates.