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Redusernab Asks- What’s History’s Homeliest Italian Sedan?

Robert Emslie September 5, 2014 Redusernab Asks 93 Comments

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As you may be aware, some Italian cars are among the most achingly beautiful on the planet. That comes from the fact that most of the world’s greatest design houses – places like Bertone, Pininfarina, and Italdesign Giugiaro – are located there. You might also have noticed that the Italian cars that are the most beautiful are almost always those with but two-doors. At the same time, their four-door platform mates often are the ones to sit out the ball, owing to their not being nearly as pretty.

It’s not so much the case today, as companies like Afa regularly seem to anoint their saloons with as much styling acumen as their coupes, but that wasn’t always the case. Italian manufacturers, like those in other countries, oftentimes put more effort – and resources – into their two doors and sports cars, often spending hard-earned Lira on having a design house pen their lines, while the four-door edition of the very same car would get in-house styling.

This happens elsewhere, but perhaps nowhere as often as in Italy. Consider the ’70s Bertone-executed Alfa GTA, and its very upright and somewhat dowdy Giulia sedan sibling. Woof! It’s true that some Italian four-doors are handsome in their own right, but we’re not interested in those today. Instead, we want the ugly ducklings, the motes in God’s eye, the sedans that it’s plainly obvious were styled to make their owners rue the day they needed a four-door. What do you think, which is the homeliest Italian sedan?

 

Image: ©2014 Redusernab/Robert Emslie, All Rights Reserved

  • quattrovalvole

    I'll go with the Lancia Dedra. It's not ugly, but it's painfully boring and derivative in the 90s sort of way. There are some angles where this can be mistaken for a Primera/G20!

    <img src="; width=640 />

    • Jay_Ramey

      I saw a G20 yesterday, made me laugh out loud for some reason.

  • Jofes01

    Low hanging…

    <img src="; width="600">

  • $kaycog

    Fiat Multipla.

    <img src=";

    • FЯeeMan

      Really, that goes beyond 'homely' doesn't it? I mean, that's well into eye-bleach territory.

      • $kaycog

        Designers must have been under the influence of something.

    • quattrovalvole

      I've seen this in person and I have to say, it's so ugly that it kind of cross the line and become interesting in the same way that a Vehicross is interesting. But maybe that's just me.

      • CABEZAGRANDE

        I feel the same about it. It's so far over the top that it's interesting. I'd much rather drive a Multipla than something boring, at least you have the novelty.

      • FЯeeMan

        There is some validity to that.

        Also, I suppose that it might save on the coffee bill – you know you'll be awakened by the shock of walking into the garage and seeing that face every morning… But, won't somebody think of the children?!?!??!?!?

    • mike

      I wouldn't call that a sedan, tho.

      • $kaycog

        Party pooper.

        • Scandinavian Flick ★

          CTRL+F "mike". He's the thread's designated wet blanket. 😛

          I mean, he's not wrong. Just… Meh.

          Then again, this whole question is a case of the Mondays on a Friday.

          • $kaycog

            Gotcha. Yeah……meh.

            😀

            • Scandinavian Flick ★

              Ha, did he come through and down-thumb us both? The irony of that is, I up-thumbed his posts.

              Oh well.

              <img src=";

              I put you back to 1.

              • $kaycog

                I upped yours too. Wait………what?

                • Scandinavian Flick ★

                  <img src=";

                  • BlackIce_GTS

                    You were only sitting at +6 there for a minute, but I fixed it.

        • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

          This Mike won't call the multipa ugly though, how's it been Skay?

          • $kaycog

            Life is sweet! How about you and yours? Long time, no see!

            • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

              Same here, no complaints, as Bj would say, keep on keeping on Skay!

    • paxman356

      <img src="; width="600">

      I'll see your Multipla and raise you a Doblo.

      • $kaycog

        Eeew!

      • Also not a sedan.

        [ducks and runs]

  • smalleyxb122

    Lancia Beta "sedan"

    <img src="; width="500/">

    • Jay_Ramey

      Woooowwww……

    • Alff

      Nailed it. The Italian Dasher.

    • Rover_1

      No, the Trevi, (named after the fountain?) was worse,as if the designers were told,

      ' Make that Beta with a boot. Here's an axe.You have ten minutes.Any money you save can be spent on a new dashboard made of painted swiss cheese'

      <img src=";

  • PotbellyJoe ©

    <img src="; width="600/">

    FIAT Siena.

    That ride height. Styling by committee. We need a body line, I know, let's tack a piece of chromed plastic to it!

    • I was going to nominate something else, but I don't want to now. You win.

      Er, It loses.

      • FЯeeMan

        Which means this will soon be hitting US shores as the Neon/Caliber replacement, right? It's headed in the same direction as that line – reasonable to what? to ooof!

        /yes, I know the Dart is the replacement, but I'm sure they'll soon be rectifying that nice looking error in their ways.

        • Devin

          I think they're busy selling them to North Korea:

          <img src="; width="500">

          • mike

            That's a Fiat Palio, another world car.

            • Devin

              No, it's the sedan, the Palio just refers to the hatchback and wagon. There's also a pickup version that is almost cool (because it's a tiny truck) but I can't remember the name of it.

          • Number_Six

            That sign is a hot mess:

            "Smart and strong car!"
            "Whistle"
            "Pyeongwha Cars"

            The Pyeongwha Whistle pictured is based on the Fiat Siena.

            • PotbellyJoe ©

              "You know how to Whistle don't you? You just put your lips together and throw up all over the floor."

              • ˏ♂ˊ mzs zsm msz esq

                Bwahahahaha!!! That was really funny, thanks PBJ.

                Anyway, wanted to say my FiL had a Siena in Poland. It looked a lot more like the one from Greatest Korea though than the silver one. To me it looked like a smaller Jetta really. It was pretty neat if spare car, I wonder if it was in any way related to the Suzuki SVX or whatever that was sold until recently here?

                Anyway another aside, his Siena was special, he had converted it to CNG. The tank was neat, he had a round cylindrical one bolted down under the trunk liner where the spare would normally be.

    • mike

      The ride height and the styling is explained by the fact that it's sold only in developing countries. Seriously, look at the other cars sold in Brazil, Turkey or India.

      • PotbellyJoe ©

        Cromulent explanation aside, it's still ugly. The question wasn't, "What ugly trait is functionally appropriate?"

        • Manic_King

          I agree, ugly POS for developing countries.
          Well, other question is, is it an "Italian sedan"? Brand is Italian but that car was never made and sold in Italy. Is Ford Ka which is designed and built in Cologne, Germany an American car? Or something what US carco's build in Mexico….

  • Irishzombieman☆

    Don't get me wrong–I really like the Maserati Biturbo.

    But I like it in spite of–or maybe because of–it's weird proportions and ugly profile.

    EDIT: Whoops. That's a 2-door. Very sedan-ish, though.
    The 4- actually looks better.

    <img src="; width="400/">

    EDIT: added
    <img src="; width=400>

  • CABEZAGRANDE

    Flame suit, engage!

    <img src="; width="600">

    But I seriously nominate this as the one that everyone but me seems to find beautiful. I think it is a hideously ugly car. Wonderful to drive, excellent interior, one of the best engine notes in history, but just wretched to look at. I wouldn't say it's the worst looking Italian sedan in history. Fiat had some dark days. But it's right up there IMO.

    • PotbellyJoe ©

      I will speak for the rest of humanity on this one; I disagree with your opinion. This is the skinny-lapel Italian suit of luxury sedans. It may not look good on everyone in every situation, but when it works, it's marvelous.

      • pj134

        Counterpoint, frumpy.

        <img src="; width=500>

        This car will not age well. The new one is pretty though.

        • nanoop

          Note to self: get a dark one.

          • Not surprisingly, also good advice when buying a skinny-lapel Italian suit.

    • wunno sev

      i thumbs-upped you for having the courage to post that

      tbh when i first saw pictures of the quattroporte (at the tender age of like 12 or 13 – wow, it's been a while), i didn't like it much either. then i started seeing them on the streets. all doubts removed, it was the prettiest car you could buy.

      i can see how one would not like it, and i'll admit that in the wrong colors and/or with the wrong wheels it can look a bit frumpy. but when it's right, it's delightfully right.

    • Scandinavian Flick ★

      I am so glad to see I'm not alone in this. This is one a number of cars I have no idea what people see in it. To me, the front end looks like they had something going with a clay model, then the janitor came in that evening, slapped some lights from another car on it, squished and pulled on it's grille, and then stuck some Pep Boys fender vents on there.

  • Maymar

    <img src="; width=500 /img>
    Awkward, just painfully awkward. Like, me in high school awkward (which isn't much worse than today, I suppose).

    • Number_Six

      <img src="; />

      • FЯeeMan

        You know, I never noticed his eyebrow falling off before.

        • Number_Six

          It's the split second right after the eyebrow falls off that the designer of that disgusting Lancia was emulating with the front fascia.

    • quattrovalvole

      Oh man I came across one in Kijiji a while back and was seriously considering getting one before common sense kicked in. It's an acquired taste but it sure as hell better than the boring Kappa on the background.

      I suppose it looks better from the back?

      <img src="; width=640 />

      • FЯeeMan

        Actually, it does look quite nice from this angle. The front? What #6 said.

        • Rover_1

          And Morgan dealers will stock those tail-lights.

          So easy panel repairs.

          And. designed by the American Mike Robinson, friend of Chris Bangle and director of Fiat Design for twenty years. Now with ED design and working with BAIC
          <img src=";

      • Maymar

        Don't get me wrong, I'd be tempted at the right price (and you're right, it's nicer from the back), but no one's best work.

    • IIRC, there was talk of putting the Northstar V8 in those things during the brief GM/Fiat marriage.

      • So that it could melt your face while melting its own?

      • Maymar

        Synergy!

    • King of Eldorado

      I see a little bit of Studebaker Hawk in the hood and fenders.

    • craigsu

      Looks like Lancia's attempt at a Jaguar Type-S, which is not something to aspire to or emulate either.

  • mike

    Obviously, the Fiat 124. It's amazing to think that this

    <img src="; width="600">

    and this

    <img src="; width="600">

    were derived from this

    <img src="; width="600">

    • FЯeeMan

      A blank sheet of paper?

      /broken links'll do that to ya'

    • mike

      Last picture :

      <img src="; width="600">

      • JayP2112

        I learned from James May the Lada was a 124 built by the Soviets.
        So this Russian built FIAT gets my vote.
        <img src="; width="400">

        • Synchromesh

          The Russian-built version was actually pretty tough and not all that bad to drive. It's not great now as it's relatively old-tech but it's still decent. I drove a 2107 last year and liked it in its own weird way.

          • JayP2112

            I'd like to try one. May not have been the Lada but he drove a car with a 3 speed column shift.

      • 7FIAT's Later

        I owned a 124 TC Sedan and it was a great little car, not handsome, but not deserving of the ugliest sedan award either IMHO.

  • FЯeeMan

    Not Italian, but I thought I'd throw it in because everyone's thinking it:
    <img src="; width="600">

    Also, not a sedan, but Italian:
    <img src="; width="600">

    • pj134

      I want a promaster badly. I think it will end up being awesome for conversion van/RV type vehicles.

      • Perc

        The Ducato rules the RV market in Europe. Except in the UK, where fiat doesn't exist, which means that they get Peugeot badges instead. But it's still the same product.

  • scroggzilla

    Series 1 Lancia Flavia
    <img src=";

    Also, the car in the main post is an Alfa Romeo 6.

    • Number_Six

      It's not the prettiest painting in the toolshed but I'd rock that in a heartbeat.

      • scroggzilla

        Me too. But, I'd rather have a second or third series Flavia. Better performance and looks, but still proper Lancias.
        <img src=";
        <img src=";

        • Rover_1

          As driven by Niki Lauda in 'Rush".

  • Manic_King

    Alfa Romeo Alfa 6 (Type 119), photo of which Mr. Emslie has used above, has half-brother, the 90 (Type 162A), smaller but with engines out of Alfa 6, styling is also quite similarly strange, esp. rear end:

    <img src=";

    • I love alfa butts. they all look strange, but endearing.

    • Rover_1

      And with a self-deploying front spoiler that lowers with the increased air pressure of speed and/or the failing spring tension over time that keeps it retracted.

      Also: Detachable briefcase built into the dashboard. Perhaps overly optimistic design given tendency of non-detatchable things to,….err…………..detatch.

      I still want one! The Bertone Alfetta!

  • Manic_King

    Fiat Tempra's sedan version looked very clumsy, compared to wagon and hatch called Tipo.

    <img src="; width="666">

  • Devin

    In on a technicality: Innocenti Regent.

    <img src=";

    • British version has Italian model name (Allegro), Italian version has British name (Regent).

      Yup, sounds about right…

      • Vairship

        A lot of engineering went into those badges…

  • Manic_King

    All the Fiat 128 versions, Serbian Zastava and versions from South America

    <img src="; width="666">

    • Manic_King

      Related but not ugly: Autobianchi A111

      <img src="; width="670">

    • I'm sorry, I have 128-love goggles on.

      • Manic_King

        Not sure about prices but I probably would have chosen that Autobianchi, a bit bigger, more minimalist cleaner design IMHO and they were introduced at the same time, Wikipedia says. And it was dead after only 3 years. Same now.

  • mac350

    While the little Vespa sedan is almost ugly enough to be cute, you have to admit that it is pretty homely.
    <img src="; width="600">

  • Rover_1

    The winner has to be a Lancia- sorry Alfisti, too many pretty ones cancel out the oddities-even the 3rd gen Guiliettas and first gen Guilias
    <img src="; width="350">
    <img src="; width="350">
    The Lancia Gamma as a sedan AKA the car that killed the reputation of Lancia as a quality car .Yes it is a sedan not a hatchback. That is a boot below that rear window.
    <img src="; width="600">
    <img src="; width="600">
    In contrast the Coupe was sublime, the same mechanical problems but forgiven because of it's looks. And Pininfarina tried very hard to get the hunchback sedan changed to a four door variant of the coupe with the Scala and a Shooting Brake called the Olgiata that Agnelli himself ran as his own car.
    <img src="; width="600">
    <img src="; width="500">
    <img src=";
    Even the factory saw the need for a car with a boot, and less homeliness- but by then it was too late and it was left to Subaru to introduce the idea of a turbocharged big capacity flat four with the similar sized Legacy. This prototype remained a one off.
    <img src="; width="500">

    • Alff

      Looks like a Volvo and a Peugeot got busy.

      • Rover_1

        We Lancia Gamma owners dream of the heights of even Peugeot build quality let alone Volvo reliability. Ironically the Gamma was to be the sister car to the Citroen CX, Lancia supplying the 2.5 litre flat four and Citroen the hydropneumatic suspension but DeGaulle said "Non" and Citroen missed out on the delights of the Italian flat four and the world was spared Italian hydropneumatic suspension.

        So both sides dodged a bullet.
        '

        Actually Aldo Brovarone, while head of design at Pininfarina designed the earlier Peugeot 504 and contemporary 604 as well as the Gamma Coupe which certainly explained the resemblance.
        <img src="; width="600">

    • Maymar

      That shooting brake is just so. Damn. Pretty.

      Thank you.

      • Rover_1

        Worthy of a picture or two on its own……….
        I have relocated the rubbing strips on my own coupe to free that swage line.

        <img src=";
        <img src=";
        <img src=";
        <img src=";

  • spotty

    i think the italians approach 4 door cars in the same way they do with 'Custom' motorcycles, they know that financially they can't justify not making them, but they'll be damned if they're going to put any effort into them
    i don't know how to post pics on here but just google ducati indiana or moto guzzi nevada

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