The Eighties. Piazza Style

Taken from pages 54 and 55 of Giugiarro Italdesign Catalog Raisonne 1959-1987; Volume 2.

The Eighties. Piazza Style.

Although it ensured its manufacturer a good sales level, the Isuzu Piazza did not become a new legend. As elegant as it was, its beautiful and very modern set of clothes was not enough to hide the imperfections of an old frame, fine for the 55 mph speedlimit in Japan but somewhat unstable on European roads. Nonetheless, Giugiaro (and not only he) would greatly benefit from this research. First of all, Isuzu expressed enormous confidence in him by giving him "carte blanche" in both design and engineering. Offering Giugiaro and Montovani the chance to show that the solutions they proposed (too often rejected by the client company's engineers as "unfeasible") could be applied to mass production.

Moreover, the chance came right at the right moment, when Giugiaro had developed new ideas onthe subject of surface area treatment and the visual impact of aerodynamic efficiency.

The initial proposal, whose beginnings went back to the Asso di Fiori prototype, was laid out by Giugiaro with great fervor and exceptional speed.

Directed by Montovani, the Italdesign engineers soon afterwards completed the constructional drawings of the Piazza in record time. Rather than frightening the Isuzu engineers with the theoretical production difficulties, the drawings stimulated them. This, then, lies behind the creation of the sophisticated and elegant body of the Piazza, destined to influence the style and technology of dozens of new cars, Japanese or not.

A brief mention of the outstanding features of the Piazza design is important, as they would be returning in many of the cars designed by Giugiaro in the years to follow.

Extreme overall "cleanness" of the car body constituted the general theme. Giugiaro's obsession with the influence that the cuts of hatches and hoods have on shape led him to reduce them to the bare minimum or use them to "outline" the surface areas. This explains why the shape of the engine hood was continued on the sides by a groove that highlights the belt-line. The lower line received similar treatment, where the bumpers are joined by a raised element and painted the same color as the car body. Guttering and relative aerodynamic noise done away with, the limousine doors got flush with the roof. The A-pillar was concealed under the door pillar and the visual impact of the B-pillar was reduced to a minimum in order to create a feeling of continuity in the side windows. The glazing was flush and the C-pillar structures were covered beneath the hatch.

All in a mass production car.

At this point, in 1981, Giugiaro could finally show that many of the ideas he proposed were feasible.

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