Yeah, I know… but he was.
In recent years we’ve seen a move away from boring round steering wheels, primarily in super- and concept-cars. And it’s probably for good reason that Fiat has chosen to install a quartic wheel in its latest Panda model (only the third generation since 1980), but for me it’s vindication of Harris Mann, George Turnbull and David Bache’s flight of fancy.
Back in 1973, the quartic wheel was a bit of a laughing stock, and has subsequently been blamed for being partially responsible for the Allegro’s unsaleability (I think it’s more likely down to being more expensive, thirstier and slower than the car it replaced, as well as looking like a kicked pug without a tail). But in 1976, no one laughed at the Rover SD1 for having a similarly shaped steering wheel; and in 2011, we’re looking at a sexy new steering wheel that bears more than a passing resemblance to the Innocenti Regent’s (the kissing cousin to the Allegro).
Let’s hope Fiat’s new baby sells rather better than the Italian Allegro. What do you think?
Is the Editor of the Parkers website and price guide, formerly editor of Classic Car Weekly, and launch editor/creator of Modern Classics 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 unfeasible adventures all across Europe.