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Alfa design study could hint at 159 replacement

by Bill Cawthon on

Alfa-Romeo-Gloria-Web

At the upcoming 83rd Geneva Auto Show, the European Design Institute (IED) of Turin will present ‘Gloria’, a concept created by the school’s Master’s program in Transportation Design working with the Alfa Romeo Style Center. The design is intended to evoke Alfa Romeo’s spirit and Italian style as well as its international appeal.

Alfa has made a splash on the international scene before. In 1966 an Alfa Romeo Duetto Spider was immortalized in “The Graduate” and brought the brand wide attention in the United States, a market to which Alfa is returning. The Gloria concept is designed to spark similar interest outside of Alfa’s traditional European markets.

IED, located close to the Fiat-Chrysler EMEA Design Center, gave its students a design brief to: “conceive an Alfa Romeo sedan to appeal to the American and Asian markets”. The Alfa Romeo Style Center participated in the various phases of the project from the brief to the development of the 1:1 clay model.

“We asked the students in the Master program to give us their completely independent interpretation of a new Alfa Romeo saloon,” states Lorenzo Ramaciotti, Head of Fiat & Chrysler Design. “During development, we commented, discussed and guided the projects in order to get the most from their spontaneous expressions of creativity. The result was stimulating and marked by professional and creative excellence.”

Gloria is 4700 mm long, 1920 mm wide, 1320 mm high and rides on a 2900 mm wheelbase, slightly larger than the now-discontinued 159. The designers envision the Gloria being powered by a V6 or V8 biturbo engine. The strong lines and novel treatment of the traditional Alfa front end blend nicely into the car’s curves. The leather strips on the hood are homage to the tie-downs used on the hoods of classic racing Alfas.

Gloria was created by a group of 20 Masters candidates from Italy and other countries. Working from the brief, each student created a concept and built a quarter-scale model for a sporty sedan with traditional Alfa Romeo design language. From the model submitted, the one that corresponded most closely to the initial brief provided by Alfa Romeo was chosen. The entire class then worked to render the selected design in full scale.

“The possibility of developing a concept car in collaboration with the Alfa Romeo Style that we were offered was a great opportunity to demonstrate that the IED is, first of all, an Italian school that aims to generate beauty,” states César Mendoza, Director of IED, Turin. “What better brand than Alfa Romeo to teach our students how form and volume can convey strong emotions, fuelling the desire to design a car? The passion that the brand evokes had a powerful impact on the students and teaching staff, allowing them to push themselves within tight deadlines to achieve the final delivery of a project which was unquestionably complex. Today, the European Design Institute is proud to represent Italian teaching excellence internationally.”

While the Gloria is currently just a clay model, its dimensions and some of its styling cues hint at a possible mid-size Alfa in the next few years. Alfa currently doesn’t have a model in that range and it will need one, not only to compete in a very active segment, but to effectively dovetail the brand with Maserati and its Quattroporte.

 

Bill Cawthon grew up in the auto industry in the 1950s. His Dad worked for Chrysler and Bill spent a number of Saturdays down on the plant floor at Dodge Main in Hamtramck. Bill is also the U.S. market correspondent for just-auto.com, a British auto industry publication, and a member of the Texas Auto Writers Association, which has named the Jeep Grand Cherokee the “SUV of Texas” several times and named the Ram 1500 as the “Truck of Texas” two years running.

Bill has owned five Plymouths (including the only 1962 “Texan”), one Dodge and one Chrysler and is still trying to figure out how to justify a Wrangler. He also has owned at least one of every 1:87 scale model of a Chrysler product. You can reach him directly at (206) 888-7324 or by using the form.

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