(first posted 3/30/2011) I’m obviously on a jag here with all these Italian-rebodied Americanos. But I never get tired of digging them out and dusting them off; the memory banks do need refreshing from time to time. And what a refreshing vehicle to do the job.
There was a good reason the C2 Corvette was so popular among the carrozzeria: it still sat on a real frame. That was very hard to come by indeed in Europe by the early-mid sixties. Pininfarina’s lovely Rondine is one of the finer examples of the cross-breeds, and ever so different than the husky and hunky new Sting Ray. Which would you take?
We’re now looking at a new Pininfarina front end, and one that was seen in much more pedestrian form on Pininfarina’s Datsun 410 of 1964.
Supposedly, the original Nissan Silvia Coupe was designed with “input from Count Albrecht Goertz”, but it looks suspiciously Pininfarina-ish to me.
The Rondine’s airy greenhouse is a marked contrast to the Corvette, despite the superficial similarity to the rear window. Its rather peculiar pinched butt reappeared unmistakably in Pininfarina’s Fiat 124 Sport Spider, albeit in a somewhat toned down form. Unlike the Rondine, other Corvette-powered Italian cars made it into production, such as the Iso Rivolta and Grifo. But that’s for another morning.
I have never seen this car before, but I REALLY like it.
That line thing on top of the front fenders sweeping into the tops of the doors is very interesting. The whole car is interesting. Seems very, very original and unique. Love it.
My goodness, that is one drop-dead gorgeous car! I abhor the color blue on a car, but I’d take that one.
It’s like an attractive Avanti! Especially that rear 3/4 shot.
That was the first thing I thought too! This car fixes everything that is wrong with the back-end of the Avanti! If the triangle-shaped C-pillar and the rear glass were swapped with this style, that alone would help a lot.
This is one sharp looking car!
My thoughts as well. The Avanti is like a an endless work in progress…not quite finished yet.
Maybe they should have sold this as Buick or Cadillac, especially Cadillac as a special order car. Just like I think the Opel Diplomat Coupe could have been an excellent LaSalle…
A brilliant idea! Only problem would be whether Cadillac back then would want to sell something based on a lowly Chevrolet chassis.
I too saw the Avanti connection, although I would not change a thing on the original. This confirms my opinion that 1963 may have produced the most beautiful American cars period… Lincoln Continental, Avanti, and split window Corvette.
The curvature on that double curved rear screen is just mindboggingly complex. This is haute couture, the finest cut of boutiquerie ever made. That time and place in history will never be surpassed…
I don’t think I’d ever seen this particular hybrid before. I like the front-end treatment, which appeals to me in the same way as the ’95 Alfa Romeo GTV, and I like the tail, but I’m less sanguine about the roof.
The front clip reminds me of an interesting feature I read years ago in an old issue of CARS, about a heavily modified ’64 Thunderbird built for Ford dealer Bob Tasca. It had oval Cibié headlamps and a custom aluminum grille that looked not unlike that; the magazine’s photos were B&W, but the car was painted candy apple red. (It was powered by a 427 with a heavy-duty C6 and lowered export suspension.)
Do you mean this one?
I recall seeing pictures of this when I was a kid. I thought it was one of the coolest things going then, and I see the design still holds up well. I agree with larsupreme it would have made a nice sports car for Cadillac.
Sorta looks like what the results would be of a combination of Peugeot/Saab/Corvette/Baracuda/Avanti parts getting confused on the same assembly line ?, Oh, and the tail end of a little Fiat for the fins.
The C2 Corvette is one of my fave generations of Corvette… but the Rondine has that 60’s- early 70’s sexiness, that only the Italian design houses could capture at the moment, in the era of driving machines.
It has the sexy lines of a sleeker Avanti, or the sportiness of a grand tourer, like a Ghia 450SS.
Split window or Rondine, Split window or Rondine? Decisions, decisions.
Oh we’ll, which ever you choose… You’re still a winner. 🙂
Pininfarina played around with that front end “theme” a bit. The 1963 Fiat 2300 Coupe Speciale Lausanne springs to mind immediately:
The 1963 Alfa Romeo 2600 Pininfarina coupe has similar elements too:
This is one gorgeous automobile. Now I know where they got the inspiration for the front end of the Montreal.
I missed this first time around, and have never seen this treatment of the Vette before. This is certainly intriguing to look at. It reminds me more than a bit of the larger Dual Ghia of around the same time frame.
That concept car looks like a Corvair with a better nose job.
Pininfarina actually did make one themselves, also in 1963:
I like Pininfarina designs… The Ferrari Daytona and my Alfa Romeo 164S come to mind.
Was the car in the pic ever produced… Has a few design cues of the original Nissan Silvia.
Missed this the first time. I really like it, but I still prefer the original 63 Stingray over this.
I love this site,gorgeous cars I’ve never heard of,thanks Paul.Britain built an Italian styled Corvette powered Anglo American exotic the Gordon – Keeble in the 60s but it was too expensive and only 200 or so were made.
Such a unique and mature design.
Italian style and American power.Whats not to like? Doesn`t have the hefty look of a “stock” Corvette, but thats seems to be the idea.Positively Pininfarina.
There is one thing not to like: Those wheels don’t fit.
They probably looked very stylish and contemporary in their day, but they’re far too busy when set into the smooth, rounded flanks of that car. The knockoff hubs don’t help either.
This is a fascinating look. I think the rear light remains in the American idiom while the rest of the car is quite Italian. (My lottery-winner’s response to this problem would be to get a fuelie Corvette AND an Italian car.)
Add the later Peugeot 504 coupe to the list of front-end treatments that share something with this. I love the deep grill on this car, even though I don’t like the modern open-catfish Audis and their imitators…
I’ll take both – a ’63 Stingray convertible (never was too fond of the split window coupe) and the Rondine hardtop. It is beautiful
Franco Scaglione made three interesting specials in, 1960?, I think? I tried to look for pictures on the internets, but I couldn’t find any. There were three Corvettes that was sent to Italy to receive their handmade bodies, right from the master panelbeaters shop. And they looked like a muscled up 250 GTO a couple of years before the fact. It actually looked for exactly like what it is, an Italian suit over American power, they captured that to the point. I think Briggs Cunningham was involved, but it may have been someone else. Does anybody know what I’m talking about?
I couldn’t find anything. He left Bertone around this time and they don’t seem to have done any GM stuff then; this Storm Z250 was 1954 and mopar-based. Would be very interested to see what they looked like.
Now that one reminds me of a Facel Vega. It’s probably the stacked quads combined with the smooth flanks.
Which brings up an interesting question: what was the first use of stacked quad lamps on a production car? In the USA I’m assuming the ’57 Lincoln and Nash, as they weren’t allowed before then. Any before, I wonder, elsewhere?
Just found this ‘lost’ 1960 Briggs Cunningham Corvette; no mention of Scaglione though.
No, none of it ain’t it. They had a very raw muscular feel to it, more masculine than the lithe Ferraris, but very much looking like a hybrid 250 GT Berlinetta/250 GTO kind of thing. But wider, to fit the wider Corvette chassis. They were completely boutique cars, I don’t think they left any of the Corvette in it except for the chassis and engine. I only saw one picture from behind, it was advertised for sale in an auction like Christies or similar, the magazine was one of those English thick fancy car mags. Never thought of the car until I saw this thread, then I just got a flashback to that magazine.
You got me salivating Ingvar. It sounds a bit like this…
Damn it, memory is fickle. It wasn’t Scaglione but Scaglietti. And it wasn’t Briggs Cunningham but Carol Shelby. But I found the car!
Great find! That’s an interesting car; reads as if it were a proto-Cobra.
The 250 GTO was actually a Scaglietti design (as well as coachwork) albeit heavily influenced by Pinin Farina.
Never heard of this Corvette, thanks Ingvar.
Interesting. I was not aware of that car’s existence. But I’m glad to have made the acquaintance. Almost generic Italian coupe of the era, but with that toothy Corvette grin.
Yes it surprises me how generic it looked, I only saw it from the rear, and I think that rear looks quite aggressive. I especially like that curve that goes around the lower lip of the trunk. The Italians are masters of integrating lines like that, it reminds me of another Scaglietti work, the 365 Daytona. I don’t know who was resonisible for those lines, though. But the rest, very generic Italian late 50’s supercar, more 250 Tour de France than GTO. I guess Scaglietti didn’t dare walk too much into Ferrari territory with that one…
Leonardo Fioravanti was the stylist for the Daytona. Looking at the rear end detailing of this Scaglietti Corvette reminds me a bit of that of the Touring-bodied Alfa 1900C SS I featured here.
Definitely overtones of the TdF in that C-pillar.
Having never seen this before, I`m floored. It`s the first gen Silvia`s more gorgeous cousin, with perfect proportions. Also see some Kaiser-Darrin in the rear flanks, anyone else?
From the rear 3/4, that cantilevered roof is just spectacular. So `60s mod/delicate/strong.
I’ve just had a Clarksonian “crisis”. Oh my, she is lovely!
It wasn’t just the tail that also appeared on the 124 Spider – except for the front end, it shares most of the form and details – the sheer sides with a break at the door bottoms, the body feature line with the sharp hip and the rounded shoulder above it, etc. – albeit with quite different proportions. Not coincidentally, both were designed by Tom Tjaarda when he was at Pininfarina. Tjaarda also did the Corvair seen in the contents, and I believe the Alfa 2600 there, too. A ‘Spider Rondine’ was built sometime recently as sort of an homage: http://www.velocetoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/124-Tjarde-side-.jpg
Yes. Here’s a photo for direct comparison. Obviously the Rondine is far slicker and sharper.
I’ll take it. Though I’d be terrified to drive it! Just put it in the living room by the pool and banquette, if you would.
That greenhouse looks like something almost everyone tried to pull off around this time, but only here does it work. The roof truly floats; the pillars just vanish. Wow.
That is attractive. Agree with the idea that it would have made an interesting way for Cadillac to get into the sports car business – if they had gotten started in the early ’60s their later efforts might have been more appreciated.
At the time, it would have had to have a Cadillac engine and transmission. Not enough of an expert to know how well that would have transferred to the Corvette chassis.
Very beautiful car, but to me it doesn’t look so much like an Avanti as it looks like an updating of the early 50s Studebaker Skyline coupes. The very slim roof almost looks like it could be a removable panel.
The color is gorgeous, I wish car companies would be a bit more adventurous when choosing colors for cars….I really am sick of 3 shades of grey/silver, white, and black.
Gorgeous car. Spectacularly gorgeous. However, as a Corvette, I prefer the actual ’63 design to this one.
Another vote for this as a Cadillac though. Or as a limited-run standalone, though I don’t know how well such a thing would have flown in the 60’s.
Rondine: Styled by Pininfarina. Powered by Chevrolet. Built for you by General Motors.
Rondine = swallow
Is it me, or is there a hint of NSU Ro80 in that nose, too?
And a bit of Barracuda in that rear glass and B post hoop?
What struck me first is that even though the styling is totally different, I noted the Corvette proportions underneath right away. Hard points unchanged, I guess.
When Pinin hit it out of the park, he really hit it out of the park. Just plain drop dead gorgeous.
Such beautiful automotive form, from Italy. I am reminded of a recent CC on the first Corvair and its influence on European designers . . .
Pretty though it is, the Vette is a far more resolved design in my opinion. That rear end doesn’t work for me, although the front is absolutely stunning!