I take a small amount of melancholy comfort to hear that Lancia will be discontinued, according to a teleconference given by Sergio Marchionne today. The indignities it was forced to suffer over the past 10 years or more were greater and greater with each passing year of mismanagement. When the final lineup of rebadged Chryslers was unveiled, it was a bridge too far. Lancia will now join the all time great nameplates in the pantheon of disappeared grands marques. It will be where it belongs, in the company of Duesenberg, Packard, Cord, Auburn, Delahaye, and yes even Pontiac. Let's hope maybe someday the name will be revived and stand once again for technological innovation and beautiful Italian design. Until then, let's try to forget its sad decline and remember the halcyon days of Lancia's remarkable racing history and their achingly beautiful road cars of the midcentury years.
Entries in RIP (2)
The automotive world has lost two important figures this past week. Tom Walkinshaw and Chuck Jordan were both men of great achievement, but from very different backgrounds.
Tom Walkinshaw, who passed away at the age of 64, was one of the most successful team manager/owner/constructors in motorsport history, achieving victories in a wide array of formulae, but perhaps most notably with Jaguar's World Sports Car program in the 1980s and with Volvo's BTCC program in the 1990s. He was also involved in F1 for many years at Benetton and other teams. Also a driver of quality, here he is in a simply electrifying qualifying lap at the wheel of a Jag XJS, at Australia's Mount Panorama Circuit!
Chuck Jordan was hired at GM as a stylist under Harley Earl, and eventually worked his way up to that man's position over the course of more than 4 productive decades at General Motors. He was head of GM Styling from 1986-1992.
A true blue car designer of the "old way," Jordan fought GM management for creative control over design, and had famous disdain for focus groups and consumer testing that became the norm at GM: "A good designer doesn’t need Mr. and Mrs. Zilch from Kansas telling him what to do," he once quipped in an interview. Chuck Jordan passed away at the age of 83 last week.
Image credit: GM
Hat tip to Drew for the Walkinshaw video.