Take the infamous ‘unsafe at any speed’ Chevrolet Corvair, for example. First launched in late 1959 for the 1960 Model Year, the Corvair’s distinctive high-waisted bath tub body shape ‘inspired’ (or was copied by) a host of other car companies within a remarkably short time frame.
The ‘Neuer Klasse’ BMW 1500, Fiat 1300-1500, NSU Prinz II, Hillman Imp, ZAZ 966, plus many other mass-produced saloons of the early 1960s, all clearly mimicked the Chevrolet’s wrap-around high-belted waistline.
Whether GM’s Detroit Styling Studio helped to shape the design of these other cars with its influential Corvair is debatable, but the European vehicle makers were either coincidentally thinking along similar lines, or acted rapidly to ape the Chevrolet’s then-new ‘bath tub’ look.
Driving a few thousand miles around France over recent weeks got me thinking about this, with every new Renault Mégane IV or Talisman that I saw on the roads (which were many!). Both of these recent new Renault models, - launched into the French market earlier this year – come equipped with distinctive ‘J’ hockey stick-shaped front side lights as a bold ‘brand statement’ styling feature. This new ‘family look’ design has now also added to the new Kaleos II SUV model, due to go on sale in 2017.