Thursday, June 5, 2014

Lancia Thesis: Latter-Day Lincoln Zephyr?

As in other countries, the Italian automobile industry consolidated.   But it consolidated further than most, because today it has been reduced to Fiat plus a few small brands controlled by foreign manufactuers.  The venerable Lancia firm was absorbed by Fiat in 1969, but continues in production as a distinct marque.

Lancias come in various sizes.   For 2002-2009, there was a large (for Italy) sedan marketed as the Lancia Thesis, the subject of this post.

From the front wheels back, the Thesis was a conventional, even conservative design for the times.   But the front end was unusual and distinctive.   I don't know why it emerged from the styling studio they way it did, but am struck by its resemblance to the Lincoln Zephyr of the late 1930s.


Front view of a Lincoln Zephyr for 1937, the model year after it was introduced.  Note especially the shape of the headlights and their housings and compare these to those in the Lancia Thesis images below. Even the grilles display similarity in that they narrow towards the bottom, though this is because Lancia grilles traditionally are tapered, whereas Lincoln stylists were placing a sharp prow on what originally was a downward-curing nose of a rear-engine experimental car.  (Note the character line running below the side windows that curves downward towards the front of the car.  It approximates the nose profile of the John Tjaarda experimental car design.)

Front view of Lancia Thesis.

Front three-quarter view of Lancia Thesis.

Lancia Thesis side view.

Rear three-quarter view.  Note the vertical tail lights; recent Jaguar XKs feature something vaguely similar.


Nima Mojtahedzadeh said...

I think you meant Jaguar XJ, not the XK in the last sentence. :)

Donald Pittenger said...

Nima -- You are quite right. And I was quite wrong even though I was probably looking at a picture of the XJ when I was wrapping up the post. Maybe to some of us "of a certain age" all Jags are XKs.