This brilliant Pininfarina styling exercise was never considered for production. The running gear was pure BMC 1800, but the style was utterly unique for 1967.
This BMC-Pininfarina 1800 predates the Citroen CX by seven years - one wonders how BMC may have fared had they the courage to put this beauty into production - it would have certainly appealed in Europe and undoubtedly would have created a high-technology reputation for the (by then) struggling manufacturer.
There’s no doubt that had BMC had the foresight to produce this car, then things might have been somewhat different in the lead-up to the Leyland takeover of the following year. Styled by Italian coachbuilder Pininfarina, the Berlina Aerodinamica was as svelte and slippery as the standard Austin/Morris 1800 was frumpy and unappealing to contemporary motorists.
Unveiled at the 1967 Turin Motor Show, seven years before the introduction of the very similar-looking Citroen CX, and nine before the Rover SD1, the styling of this concept car was hugely influential.
There was never very much wrong with the production 1800 to drive thanks to keen dynamics and reasonable performance (expecially in the later 2200cc guise) but it was brought down by its stark interior and rather challenging styling. Plenty of subsequent speculation from commentators has concluded that with this styling, the 1800 could have gone on to be a huge international hit - although we’re not so sure that buyers would have been ready to take the leap in the late 1960s - and the 1800 may well have benefitted more from a less extreme restyle of its interior and exterior and the option of a column gearshift (something very popular in Europe at the time).
Source: Keith Adams, www.austin-rover.co.uk
Citroen designer Robert Opron never made a secret of the Berlina Aerodinamica being his inspiration source for the Citroen GS and CX.
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