Concept Corner: Lancia Megagamma

Cars

The Lancia Megagamma is not the most glamorous of Giugiaro’s designs – but in many ways it is the most influential. If we’re used to the very idea of MPVs – those less than sleek, eminently practical solutions to family automotive life – the great man of ItalDesign in this 1978 project did more than anyone to introduce the idea to the mainstream.

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Introducing the Megagamma as a concept at the 1978 Turin Motorshow – the continuing journey to long, low, sleek design that had dominated the 1970s was reversed. Giugiaro realised that by pushing the height of a vehicle made not only for a more pleasant city driving experience: that it also allowed for adaptability and versatility in the cabin. It also, moreover, relegated speed and aesthetic appeal to a secondary factor in what made cars saleable – a sad harbinger of the future of automotive mass production perhaps – but this vision underlines further the man’s claim to being ‘designer of the 20th century’.

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And the funny thing is, of course, with 35 years’ worth of hindsight, the design is rather attractive in its own right. The designer manages to retain that ‘folded paper’ signature even in this unlikely platform – and though Lancia never went on to produce the Megagamma it is easy to see its resonance – not only in the Fiat Uno, Panda and so many other mini-MPVs on the roads today – but in The Espace, Nissan’s Prairie and classics of quirky design like the Avantime.

Bravo Maestro.

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