The Linea Diamante (Diamond Line) was created by the influential Italian architect and industrial designer Giò Ponti (1891-1979), the creator of iconic 32-storey Pirelli Tower in Milan – acknowledged as one of the world’s most ‘elegant’ skyscrapers – and the famous Superleggera chair, plus the co-founder of the respected design and architecture magazine Domus in 1928.
In an era when car design was characterised by large, swollen shapes, small windows and dark, claustrophobic interiors (the contemporary Standard Vanguard, Ford Zodiac, Simca Aronde, BMW 501, and so on), the sharp-edged Linea Diamante began with an aerodynamic teardrop shape and soon developed into the more angular and futuristic Diamond Line with flat-form body panels and a generous glass area to flood the cabin with light.
The airy car’s dimensions allowed a generously-proportioned interior and a spacious, pioneering ‘hatchback’ boot, with a profile that was later mimicked by Pininfarina’s influential BMC 1800-based Aerodinamica concept almost 15 years on. That then went on to inspire the Lancia Beta and Gamma Berlinas, Citroen GS and CX, Rover SD1, Chrysler Alpine and two-box saloons in the 1970s.
Had Ponti’s ‘right idea at the wrong time’ automotive vision been accepted and built in the early 1950s, imagine what the cars we are driving today might have looked like. They could have had spacious interiors, and light, airy cabins that could be safely seen out of, without the need for electronic devices to aid vehicle maneuverability!