Compromise

The balance between a designer's desires and the cost of those desires is always a problem, no more so than in the car industry. Compromises have to be made for the manufacturer to make a profit on the new design.

I knew the Automobiliamos Futurista reminded me of something, and now I remember!

It was the humble Morris Marina.

The Morris Marina was a trim 4 door saloon, with quite an attractive style. The car was poorly built, but that's not our issue here. To maximise the Marina's profitability, British Leyland produced a Marina van, pick up, estate car, 4 door saloon, and our subject here, the Marina Coupe.

The coupe was designed as a 2 door fastback with a wider front door opening. Before production the wider front door design was dropped and the 4 door saloon front doors were used, which saved a lot of cash but compromised the side view visuals. The Marina Coupe was quite a good looking car in outline, but the short front door and long rear quarter panel upset the car's balance.

Sales probably suffered because of this (never mind the quality!)

when customers compared the well balanced lines of a Ford Capri.

Early Morris Marina in balanced

4 door configuration

Marina Coupe, with unbalanced

side configuration.

Marina Coupe,

a compromise

Automobiliamos's Futurista was a brave project to improve the unimprovable,

the finished car was attractive and mechanically improved.

Motor vehicle regulations are very strict, a new car needs type approval, which is an expensive and time consuming pursuit. To produce a 3 door Futurista with a relocated B pillar and door shut would mean type approval and a crash test, along with testing door locks, relocated seat belts testing, and seat runner type approval.

The Futurista project was already very expensive, every item changed from the original Delta, like the lights, needed type approval and testing by every country the car would be sold in. So moving the B pillar back a bit would have been a huge additional cost.

How do you improve the perfect?

A good effort, but unfortunately

a compromise.

Giugiaro designed the Delta as a perfect shape for it's job, Fiat required extra length before the Delta's original production, which was squeezed in by widening

the rear quarter vent panels.

This had added to Automobiliamos's dilemma, the new car's rear windows were replaced with a 1 piece bonded in glass, which without a rubber border visually increase that glass area's size. The Futurista rear vents could have been deleted and a flat body colour section inserted, to reduce the window's perceived area, but the finished side view is unfortunately unbalanced.

Here at Integralingham we like the Futurista, and appreciate the effort and expense involved. However the finished car's side elevation has lost the dynamic flow of the original car. The large wheels and 1 piece rear quarter have given the new car an unflattering arse heavy and dumpy look.

The Morris Marina and Futurista share the same design compromise,

and both suffer because of it.