One long-running trope of which I’ve become less and less tolerant is that of Japanese automakers’ failure to innovate. I think many of their cars have a look all their own, but if someone wants to confront me with a good argument as to why this stereotype has some basis in truth, then this E80 Corolla sedan (that’s the 84-87 model), uploaded months ago by Mr. Tactful, makes an excellent example.
The car Toyota copied to give us this Corolla was, in fact, sold here, but only after an ill-conceived restyle and renaming as the Alfa Romeo Milano, which was widely criticized for its bizarre looks.
But the Milano was based on a more sane looking predessor, the 1977 Nuova Giulietta sedan, and that’s the car Toyota copied. Think of the Milano as a Nuova Giulietta wearing a Members Only jacket.
My attempts to bring this to light were panned on some other car forums, as was my appreciation for the Alfa’s styling, so I’ll let you guys be the judge. But the resemblance is most evident in the C-pillar and taillights mounted at the top of the pert rump.
Keep in mind, as much as I like the early front-drive Corollas, that I’m not saying the Toyota wore the look as well, but the resemblance is clear.
This may be less the case from other angles, however. The Corolla’s front end has a slight rearward lean, where the Alfa’s mid-70s nose is a bit more bluff.
But in the world of automotive styling, innovation is an infrequent occurrence. Sometimes you just gotta learn from the best. Unfortunately, that allegedly wasn’t the case in Toyota’s obtaining inspiration from one of the least-loved Alfas.
Least-loved by others, that is; I feel no shame in my appreciation of the ’77 Giulietta’s kicked up tail and high mounted light clusters.
What other similarly shameless copies can you all think of?