Zagato by name,
Delta by nature!
You might have seen this 1985 Lancia Delta HF Turbo on eBay.
This car is in Switzerland, and was part of a collection,
it is referred to as a Zagato.
It seems a young Andrea Zagato owned this Delta as a student,
and he made some modifications to the car. A redesigned front bumper, double headlights, black grille, upholstery improvements and dashboard electronics were fitted, along with Zagato badges
included in the alterations.
Part of Andrea's Delta dash display
upholstery can be seen here
click ebay for listing
click pic to find out more
Andrea Zagato was born in 1960, the grandson of the Zagato carrozzeria founder, Ugo. Andrea graduated from university with a degree in economics, he joined the Zagato company, and after gaining experience the first complete car he created was the Lancia Hyena.
Based on a 4 wheel drive Lancia Delta chassis, the Hyena was inspired by Andrea's love of animals and wildlife, and styled with the muscular haunches
of a powerful wild beast.
The Lancia Delta itself however had no Zagato design input, it was a
Giorgetto Giugiaro creation. Continued below is a short history of the
inspiration for the Delta's style.
1973 Asso di Picchi.
Ace of Spades
No 1 in a four car series,
each named as Ace
in the four suits
of playing cards
Giorgetto Giugiaro designed a series of cars in the 1970s named after the aces in a pack of cards. The first was 'Asso di Picche', Ace of Spades. Giugiaro's more flamboyant work sometimes overshadowed his practical designs.
Ace of Spades was one of the practical but forgotten models.
The Asso di Picche came about because Karmann coach builders in Germany wanted to sell a coupe design to Audi, that Karmann would build. Karmann approached Giugiaro who designed a very attractive wedge shaped coupe.
This body, shown above, was fitted to a shortened Audi 80 chassis.
The exciting Asso di Picche was exhibited by Karmann at the 1973 Frankfurt motor show. Karmann approached Audi with their design, but Audi declined the offer, they had other priorities.
The Asso di Picche was designed for the
Audi 80, but at the Frankfurt show Audi introduced their own coupe, based on
the Audi 100.
The VW group also had another coupe on the way, the Scirocco, which Ital Design were completing. So the Karmann venture didn't work, but Giugiaro won either way!
Audi 100 coupe
The Asso di Picche remained on Guigiaro's sketch pad, and when Fiat Lancia approached the master for their new small car design, the Ace of Spades' clean horizontal side form, generous glass area, low swage line and clean simple styling were utilised for the new small Lancia.
Looking at the launch Delta, the Ace of Spades' influence is clear to see, Giorgetto originally used the Asso di Picche rear light format too, but Fiat wanted a generous lift up tailgate, so the light design we know well was adopted.
So the ex Andrea's Ebay car may have had a Zagato front bumper, and some badges, but the Lancia Delta itself was pure Ital Design, and had no Zagato influence.
As a footnote, another Giugiaro 'Asso' design was a success, for Isuzu. This was the Asso di Fiori,
the Ace of Clubs.
Isuzu had a fruitful relationship with Ital Design, having used the European design house for previous popular cars.
So when Isuzu saw the Ace of Clubs, they happily took it to production as the Piazza coupe.
This article was inspired and informed by Karl Smith of
Car Design News, we have used some images from Karl's web page.
Click here to visit the CDN article.