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02-13-2008, 11:49 PM #1
MA61 Design Study: The Underlying Influence and Inspiration
Some people here may recall my comment in the Hemmings Buyers Guide article where I shared my reaction when I first laid eyes upon the 82 Supra in the Autumn of 1981. It looked like nothing Id ever seen before… or maybe not?
I wanted to put together a thread to examine what might have served as inspiration when Akihiro Wada (Chief Engineer) and Kazuo Morohoshi (Lead Designer) dreamt up the MA61. At a time when the Japanese were known for copying and improving European and US products, the 82 Celicas and Supras were radically unique from head to toe. A long time ago, someone here on the forum drew a parallel to the MA61 and the Lamborghini Jarama… I wanted to take that a little further. I suspect Wada and Morohoshi had a few iconic European cars in mind infact.
The following is purely my speculation and opinion. None of it can be proven factual, and I certainly don’t have any secret knowledge. Nevertheless, I thought this might lead to a fun and lively discussion.
First I want to start with the nose.
Welcome the Ferrari 365GTC/4, introduced in 1971. It was penned by Pininfarina and was regarded as a supreme 4-place GT cruiser. I believe it roughly forms the same bumper/grille/fog lamp shape known on the MA61.
The nose of the Bitter Coupe and Sedan bears an even closer resemblance to our MA61. Bitter was created by racer Erik Bitter – as best I can tell, this design was conceived somewhere around 1979-80.
The power bulge on the MA61 hood is another strong characteristic not found in many cars. However the XKE Jaguar seems to following the pattern of a long sloping hood with the bulge extending almost the entire length.
Greenhouse Effect: Check out the B-Pillars, Quarter Glass, and C-Pillars on the Iso Rivolta Lele. This design came from Bertone and was unveiled in 1969.
The Lamborghini Jarama, penned by Marcello Gandini, first appeared in 1970. I think the greenhouse similarity is obvious. Apologies to the forum member who first mentioned this – I don’t recall who it was.
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02-13-2008, 11:50 PM #2
Also worth mentioning are the P-Type flares. Lots of cars have worn them as aftermarket trim or as ralley car spec. But I think the 240ZG was one of the few production cars (albeit limited) to feature them as a stock item. Such a gorgeous car!
I credit the latter Countach (1976+) for the further refinement of flare design.
Lastly…. Toyota did an excellent job copying the standard bearer of aftermarket seats. These Recaros were unsurpassed in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s…. and crazy expensive too. This feature really gave the P-Type on edge over its competition in its day.
Let me know if you agree with me or think Im off my rocker. Ive put alot of thought into this compilation, so dont make it an all-out bash-fest please.
Feel free to add to this list as well.
02-13-2008, 11:54 PM #3
02-14-2008, 12:08 AM #4
Bravo! Well done!
Would anyone like to see a design analysis from Road & Track? I have an old anthology of R&T magazine articles devoted to Toyota GTs and it includes some interesting notes, pictures and history too. It follows the CelicaSupra from inception in three articles to the last model. It includes a review of the MK III, too.
I have considered the many inline-six engines just prior to the 5MGE, too. The Mercedes 280s is beautiful in the same way as the 3.8 Daimlers, Jags, and Ferraris and BMWs.
Since we lived through these cars times it is nice to see how they are related by design.Kenny
02-14-2008, 12:43 AM #5
I have thoroughly appreciated reading your thread here. Not only has it brought me sheer entertainment, but it has spun my mind off into a pit of... deception if you will. I have certainly been deceived all of my life that foreign performance car makers are all of their own with design, but these pictures coupled with the captions, have lead me to think more about who copies and who dreams... as well as this case, who can solve jigsaw puzzles; which, is genius in its own. Great read.-Ross
02-14-2008, 12:43 AM #6
02-14-2008, 12:46 AM #7
Greg, you ARE the man. Very kickass write. Should definitely be stickied in the FAQ IMO.
I kinda like that Bitter car... never seen it before, the nose just gives me the creeps it's so similar to ours! I know ours came afterwards, but wow
02-14-2008, 01:07 AM #8
Awesome thread Greg, I second the motion to sticky it. Without your wisdom I wouldn't ever notice these simple traits our car has "borrowed" from older European models.
Oh and btw. That is totally my car there when you compared the bulge in the hood with the XKE Jaguar . If you have any more pictures of her could you send them my way? I just had a gut feeling that it was my car, and then i compared it to a picture Andrew sent me and sure enough...
02-14-2008, 01:35 AM #9
Wow, that was a good article you wrote. Along with the pics. Great job.
02-14-2008, 01:46 AM #10
Good call on the Bitter coupe Greg! I think most of us can remember the first time we laid eyes on the MKII design, especially since it's so different. Which makes it so strange is that the second generation Supra doesn't get the recognition it deserves; maybe in a another half decade or so.Mikey C
1984 P-Type Celica Supra
Currently getting turboed...
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