Thursday, August 23, 2012

Inspiration for the Fiat 124 Spider - part 2

Tom Tjaarda continues in his letter:
" Thus the idea for the 124 spyder was born from this Corvette. My next assignment was to take this theme and prepare full size drawings to construct the WOODEN MODEL - PIC 2 - PIC 3 - PIC 4
( these are wooden models of the Ferrari 500, 365 and 330 just to give an impression how these models look like ).

To prepare these drawings was not an easy job for the simple reason that the Fiat chassis was much shorter than the Sting Ray, smaller also were the overhangings both front and rear. Thus to adapt the lines of the Rondine, which were rather long and flowing, to these shorter proportions was a real challenge.
It took me days just to plot the first profile of the car, it just did not seem to work, and it took no end of time to come up with something satisfactory. SIGNORE MARTINENGO ( left, Tjaarda - right ) could see that I was having trouble coming up with a solution and above all that it no longer looked like the Rondine. That is where he kind of saved my day, or month in this case.

He simply said why must it look exactly like the Corvette; this was a different car. After that I just went ahead and finished up the drawing and came up with a new front-end treatment.

The buck was put together in the workshop and ready to fabricate the metal prototype. It looked good but it was not quiet ready because before making a prototype it was standard practice at Pininfarina to hammer out aluminum panels which conform to the surfaces and mount them on the wood model. The model was then taken into a courtyard and oil wiped over the aluminum surfaces so the sunlight could pick up the reflections on the surfaces, and of course point out eventual defects. This process went on until everyone was satisfied, and Battista was always there for the final approval".

So far Tom Tjaarda's letter in which he explained me in detail the relationship between the CHEVROLET CORVETTE RONDINE PININFARINA COUPE and the FIAT 124 SPIDER .

In the early 1960s when many manufacturers were switching to a unitary chassis, the fiberglass-bodied Corvette was a popular subject for Europe's coach builders. At the 1963 Paris Auto Show, Pininfarina launched this Corvette-based, steel-bodied Rondine Coupe commissioned by Chevrolet.

Based off the recently introduced Corvette C2 chassis, the Rondine sports a very elegant shape of which various cues were later found on the Fiat 124 Spyder. The car featured a 327 cubic-inch, 360 hp V8 with a 4-speed transmission and power brakes.

The 1963 Corvette Rondine is one of the most famous and expensive Corvettes in history. The car is absolutely unique - being a product of a partnership between Chevrolet and the Pininfarina design studio.
After its conception the Rondine Concept remained in the Pininfarina collection for almost 45 years and was shown only on very few occasions. The Rondine resided in Pininfarina’s collection until 2008, when it was sold for $1.76 million to Michael Schudroff.
The differences in proportions between the C2 and the Rondine are striking, as the Rondine has a much longer front overhang. The rear half of the Rondine also features a number of styling cues that were carried over to the Fiat 124 Cabrio.

The last picture was its first appearance at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance in 2008.