With the revelation of the Lancia Pu+Ra HPE done in the previous post, it’s time to look at the subliminal inspirations of this concept car. The round is a key word in defining the style, concept and formal language, both on the outside and inside. It is not the only one, and we have decided not to go in circles, simply around this manifesto. The round is in the spotlight, as shown below with one of the two control panels of the S.A.L.A. system (see previous post).
Roundness, here and there. Below, the view shows the sunroof in a circular shape instead of a rectangular one. Is it possible to transfer this innovation to one of the next three Lancia products? Its advantage lies in its compact size which integrates, in the same space, the open or closed roof, unlike the rectangular sliding roof which changes in size between the closed and open versions. In 1 the circular sunroof, in 2 the rotation point of the two semi-circles.
The operation is very simple: the front semi-circle (below in 1) located above the front passengers, rotates and is housed under the other fixed semi-circle (2)
This solution of rotating one semicircle under (or over) another is not new to the automotive world. The example of Renault’s VBG programme gave rise to a prototype called “Circular” and designed by the Renault styling manager at the time (1976), Robert Opron. Does this mean that Jean-Pierre Ploué designed the sunroof of the Pu+Ra HPE? That’s a bit of a leap!
The system is identical on the Renault and the Lancia: a fixed semi-circle (or equivalent) is overlapped by its mobile counterpart. The space requirement is the same in the open or closed position. Another advantage over the Renault project is that the window descends very low in the area of the rear-view mirror, allowing a wider view of this area. Would this system pass the homologations today? Not sure…
Read the tribute to Robert Opron here: http://lignesauto.fr/?p=23253
To stay in the world of Lancia icons, here is the 1978 Sibilo, designed by Marcello Gandini. Its particularity was the window that was literally integrated, even melted into the bodywork. Extremely cubic, the style of this sedan offered nevertheless many references to the round with its window openings, its monolithic steering wheel and some accessories on board.
The round is also omnipresent on the exterior of the Lancia Pu+Ra HPE, with the visual accompaniment on the front bonnet of the semi-circular dashboard in 2. In 3, the two control plates of the S.A.L.A. system, in 4 the sunroof and in 5, the circular rear lights. But on board too, the round is king, not the other way round….
In addition to the circular dashboard screen, the controls and the woolen floor mat, the door panels also receive circular embossing. The latter is reminiscent of the one designed by Michel Harmand in 1974 on the CX, below in 1.
The surprise comes rather from the dashboard of the Lancia concept which does not repeat the theme that Mario Bellini succeeded in imposing on the Trevi in 1980, below.
This was an auspicious period for the designer Bellini, as he also collaborated with Renault on the Renault 25 project, proposing a dashboard below that was totally at odds with automotive codes, but which retained the idea of holes, circles and originality in the ceiling light.
Finally, let’s end this topic with a comparison between the Pu+Ra Zero of last November and the Pu+Ra HPE of today (below). We understand that the idea of bringing light on board was already suggested in the sculpture and should be a common thread in the genesis of the next three Lancias.
It should also be noted that the styling research carried out by the Italian design office was extensive in an attempt to transpose the Lancia DNA into future products. As seen below with one of the Lancia studies compared to the interior of the Lancia Beta coupe of the 1970s.
BONUS : THE MAIN LANCIA CONCEPT CARS SINCE 1998
Here are 5 Lancia concepts to remind you of the styling studies of recent years