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 gorgeous car predates the Citroën CX by seven years. One wonders how BMC may have fared had they the courage to put this beauty into production. That’s assuming the company could afford it, and such a complex car could be productionised.
Unique style for 1967
However, it would have certainly appealed in Europe and would undoubtedly 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 Carrozzeria Pininfarina, the Berlina Aerodinamica was as svelte and slippery as the standard BMC 1800 was frumpy and unappealing to contemporary motorists.
First shown in Turin
Unveiled at the 1967 Turin Motor Show (below), seven years before the introduction of the very similar-looking Citroën CX, and nine before the Rover SD1 and Lancia Gamma Berlina, the styling of this concept car was hugely influential.
There was never very much wrong with the way the production BMC 1800 drives – 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.
Righting BMC’s wrongs?
Plenty of subsequent speculation from commentators has concluded that, with this styling, the 1800 could have gone on to be a huge international hit. However, we’re not so sure that buyers would have been ready to take the leap in the late 1960s.
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.
Not its best angle, but the styling of this car pre-dated the move towards fastback executive saloons by nearly a decade…
A hatchback rear end placed it at an advantage over the Citroën CX and Lancia Gamma
This kind of profile would become very familiar in subsequent years…
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Clsssics magazine. Has contributed to various motoring titles including Octane, Practical Classics, Evo, Honest John, CAR magazine, Autocar, Pistonheads, Diesel Car, Practical Performance Car, Performance French Car, Car Mechanics, Jaguar World Monthly, MG Enthusiast, Modern MINI, Practical Classics, Fifth Gear Website, Radio 4, and the the Motoring Independent...
Likes 'conditionally challenged' motors and taking them on unfeasable adventures all across Europe.