Gio Ponti was a well-known Italian architect and designer most famous for the Pirelli Tower in Milan, a 32-story building that became known as a symbol of Italy’s recovery from the devastation of World War II.
But for every Pirelli Tower, there’s a scuffed-up drawing sitting in a desk drawer somewhere, forgotten. For Ponti, this was the Linea Diamante, or "Diamond Line” a 1953 car design that intended to stand in contrast to the bulky, dimly lit autos of the time.
The body was described as having an “angular diamond-line shape,” and Ponti envisioned a massive amount of glass to let in natural light. He used the principles of his modernist sensibilities, says Forbes, and wished to replace the bloated style of his contemporaries with something that better utilized the space.
This included flat body sheets and a low hood and featured back seats that adjusted like those in an airplane. The vehicle would also feature safety components like a rubber bumper all the way around and a buffer inside that lessened impact in the event of a collision.
But it appeared that Ponti was well ahead of his time with the Diamond Line, and it was deemed “too radical” by the automakers approached with the design. Sadly, it was never to see the light of day – that is, until now.
Grand Basel is a brand-new automotive show that’s slated for September in Switzerland. The event hopes to bring old and new vehicle designs alike and help shape conversations around culture, design, and art.
It’s been announced that a full-sized mockup of Ponti’s Diamond Line will be brought to life and displayed in Basel – developed using the drawings and a 1:10 scale model that was produced decades back. Head of FCA Heritage Roberto Giolito is said to be overseeing the project, in a twist of irony, as Fiat was the last automaker to turn down the design in 1953 – playing a critical role in sending it into obscurity for 65 years.