Chris Bangle made waves in the automotive design space. He joined BMW design as their Chief of Design and the ultimate driving machines of the early-to-late oughts all bore his signature. Some enthusiasts disdainfully called some of his designs “Bangled” while others considered Bangle’s designs ahead of their time. I have owned 2 Bangle BMWs so I guess that makes me an accidental Bangle fan.
One of my favorite aspects of international travel is seeing cars we don’t get in the U.S. I spotted the Fiat Coupé above on a rainy day just outside Taipei, Taiwan. The paint color was hard to miss as was the rather unique rear end. In retrospect I realize this photo was taken from the passenger seat of a Bangle-designed E65 7-series.
Before BMW, Bangle led the design of the Fiat Coupé. The Coupé came to life as Pininfarina had spare capacity after the Cadillac Allanté, which they were building the body for, had ended its run. Impressively, Bangle’s work at Fiat’s in-house design studio “Centro Stile” beat out the competing Pininfarina proposal.
So what has led the Fiat Coupé to having a passionate fan base despite its Italian reliability and an oddly angular design? Well to start, probably that oddly angular design. It looks like a Ferrari F40 mated with a Chevrolet Beretta and mutant Corvette. The other piece is the Fiat twin-cam turbo motors which were inherited from the design of the Lancia Delta Integrale. Yes, the same Delta Integrale that dominated the World Rally Championship in the late 80s and early 90s. They sound amazing in anger and a 6 second sprint to 100kph isn’t too bad as a “period correct” piece.
So if you’re looking for a quirky car to bring to the next RADwood, don’t sleep on bringing in a Fiat Coupé. On a scale of Folgers to Kopi luwak, I give it a Starbucks Reserve. Just make sure you have roadside service on speed dial.
daily automotive addiction.