(first posted 5/19/2013) There’s almost no such thing as a 100% original automotive design; stylists are perpetually recycling ideas, deliberately or unconsciously. But finding the connections takes a good eye, as CC’s own Jim Cavanaugh proved with his comment yesterday on the Giulia Outtake: Am I the only guy to see just a little teeny bit of 59 Edsel in the back half of this car? Both the C pillar and the decklid/taillight treatments show a resemblance. Undoubtedly, its rear end does owe a considerable debt to the 1959 Edsel. And since Jim may quite well be the first to point this out, this needs to be documented.
The Gulia has always been praised for its clean lines, superb visibility, and excellent aerodynamics for the times (Cd: 0.33) depite its blocky shape. That was the result of lots of fine detailing, and its relatively high and chopped-off tail is given part credit for that. But the similarities of its C pillar, rear window, and of course that trunk lid and rear trailing edge with the center depression have to have been inspired by the Edsel, even the low rectangular tail lights are too similar to be coincidental.
The renowned Robert Cumberford didn’t notice this in his otherwise excellent “By Design” Feature on the Giulia. Curiously, I can’t readily find any references as to who designed the Giulia sedan, an in-house design. The time-line certainly is right: the Giulia arrived for the 1962 MY, three years after the Edsel. And why would the Alfa designers have even noticed the Edsel at all?
That answer is obvious, of course, on the front end of the Edsel. If you’re going to steal our trademark grille, we’ll steal your rear end. Fair enough.
Update: It should also be pointed out that the Edsel’s front end design was very advanced stylistically, ignoring its grille for the moment. Its low-placed headlights, set into the grille, was something quite new, matched only by some of the ’59 GM cars. But the Edsel’s restraint in the front (and elsewhere) are very notable.
Alfa Giulia images: oldparkedcars.com