Vecchie Notizie: da Italia
In English that means, Old News: from Italy
One of the perks I’ve enjoyed with this blog is being able to connect with so many people that have similar passions for cars. I’m amazed at the reaches of the earth that I hear from and the variety of materials that some share with me.
A few weeks ago I received an email from a guy 6,000 miles away. His name is Paolo and he’s from Italy, and boy does he have a passion for cars. Thankfully his passion extends beyond his own country’s borders to include an interest in American makes as well.
Io sono Italiano troppo
Okay, so I’m no linguist. I made use of Google Translate. But my roots, at least half of them, happen to extend to Italy. So, this email was particularly interesting. Paolo is from a valley called Valsesia which is at the far northern reaches of the country, near Switzerland. My ancestors happen to come from Calabria which is to the south of the country, the so-called “toe” of the peninsula.
Since that works out to about the same distance between Los Angeles, California and Albuquerque, New Mexico, there’s little chance we’ll turn out to be long-lost relatives. But given his enthusiasm for cars we might easily be mistaken for brothers.
As is the case with many auto buffs, Paolo has amassed a collection of magazines that spans decades. Even though they are Italian publications, such as Quattroruote and Gente Motori, they are rife with spy shots of cars undergoing testing, many American. Paolo was kind enough to scan and send some of them my way.
So, without further ado, I present Paolo’s contribution to the archives.
1976 Chevrolet Chevette
Even though the Chevette was technically introduced in 1973, in Brazil, with a trunk, this more recognizable hatchback version was being prepared for the 1976 model year, to be sold in multiple countries including the United States. Incidentally, for those that don’t remember, these were rear-wheel-drive.
1979 Cadillac Eldorado
I can’t say I’ve seen any prior spy shots of the 1979 Eldorado wearing camouflage, what little of it there is in this sole picture. Sort of interesting how they hid the vertical detail of the rear window. The implied angle looks similar to that of the rear window on the so-called “bustle back” Seville, but that car was introduced a whole model year later.
I imagine, at the time, this must have looked ultra-modern compared to the car it was replacing. (Hmm, I wonder if GM has any material on this car they’d be willing to share for a Design Notes post…)
1981 Ford Escort
One of the reasons I’ve produced so few Design Notes posts about Fords is because that company is not too keen on sharing behind-the-scenes images of what might have been. It’s unfortunate because there are at least half a dozen models I’d like to understand better.
In any event, sometimes spy shots can indicate what was being considered but didn’t make the cut.
Here we have a Ford Escort mule but this one is a four-door model with a trunk. I can’t say I remember ever seeing a first-generation U.S.-spec Escort with a trunk, I think they all had hatches.
1982 Chevrolet Camaro
This one can only be described as funny-looking. Most of the front clip looks familiar to the third-generation Camaro, that is except for the open upper grille and hood’s bulging arc.
From the cowl back, things get really weird. It appears to be a cobble of Buick Skylark body panels with a crudely fabricated rear hatch.
I hope no one rushed to judgement based on these pictures because the finished product was quite the looker for its day.
Continue to page 2, below.