Bigger role for Ghia
FORD'S NEW HEAD of design J. Mays wants to make better use of the company's Ghia SpA design studio in Turin. 'In the past six or seven years, Ghia has been mainly a badge that we put on some cars,' said Mays, who replaced Jack Telnack last autumn. Mays said he would like to see more concepts and proposals from the Italian studio. At the Turin show, Ghia displayed a long-wheelbase, four-door version of the Ka.
No fighting, please
HYUNDAI IS TAKING care to avoid any suggestion that it promotes violence. The carmaker will sell its new Sonata in Italy as the Sonica. In Italian, while the word Sonata does mean beautiful music, it also has a 'very unpleasant' connotation of being punched, said Italian distributor Luigi Koelliker.
Another boxy Bentley?
JOURNALISTS WERE TOLD that the big wooden crate on the Rolls-Royce stand at the Turin auto show contained the Arnage, the Bentley version of the Rolls Silver Seraph launched in Geneva in March. It didn't matter if the Bentley was really in the box or not, since no one would get to see it in Turin. Rolls planned to unveil the Arnage at Le Mans on 27 April.
No need to shout
GIORGETTO GIUGIARO predicts that car drivers will no longer have to pay cash at toll booths and parking lots. That is why his Structura concept car, shown on the Italdesign stand at the Turin auto show last week, has fixed glass windows. He says electronic payment systems will take over, and drivers will not need to lower their windows to communicate with the world outside.
Count the money and run
CARMAKERS ALWAYS compare how fast they can develop a new model. Chrysler has claimed a new speed record. The company's accountants took just seven working days to close the books on the first quarter, count the money and report to shareholders. Their previous record was nine working days. European auto companies, by contrast, generally take a month.
Skoda vampire returns
THE RAREST SKODA in the world is back in the family. Skoda UK bought the 1100 OHC Racer at auction in April for £41,000 ($69,000). Built in 1958, the car starred in the horror movie Umpir Z Ferat, about a vampire car fuelled with blood. A later owner escaped in it from Prague when Russian tanks arrived in 1968. He crossed the border during a snowstorm, even though the car had no windshield or roof. The only other 1100 OHC Racer has quietly resided at Skoda's museum in the Czech Republic since it retired from racing. It never made a movie or an escape.