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Concept Car of the Week: Fiat Scia (1993)

Fri, 17 May 2013

After a successful design competition between famous Italian design houses to rework the little Cinquecento, Fiat renewed the experience two years later by giving to nine of them – including Fiat's in-house studio – a new Fiat Punto as a base to let their creative juices flow.

The results ranged from being simply forgettable (Zagato Monomille), ridiculously daft (Boneschi Doblone) or just plain ugly (Giannini Punto 4x4 TL), but one of the concepts stood out from the flock for being brilliantly bold. This was the Fiat Scia, presented to the public at the 1993 Turin Auto Show.

In Italian, Scia translates as 'the wake of a boat', but the nautical theme also extends into the concept's unusual forms. Created within Centro Stile Fiat by John Kinsey in collaboration with Carrozzeria Maggiora, the body is shaped like the hull of a yacht. A strong line flows around the car, splitting the upper half from the lower, which tucks dramatically underneath. A thin opening at the front creates a timeless face and hosts four tiny, round headlamps while the long tapered rear deck suggests one you would find on a Riva yacht.

On the empty deck, two pairs of tail lamps sit on each side of a dorsal fin, which runs along the centre of the car. No fuss around the wheels: a dish, four holes, four inserts – job done. They look good despite their simplicity but don't really seem to have been designed for the car. Finally, a cut-off wind deflector on top of the seed-like body dives into the doors to complete the ultimate barchetta ('little boat') look.

The interior by Darrin Caddes is very Spartan, with a simplistic dashboard only interrupted by three gauges. The ultra-thin seats are fixed but the position could be adjusted by shifting the steering wheel and pedals to suit the driver.

More than the fruit of some designer's fertile imagination, the Scia really was an exercise from Fiat to test the public's reaction in view of the future production of a Punto-based two-seater roadster, the Barchetta, which would be launched two years later.

First seen Turin Auto Show 1993
Exterior designer John Kinsey
Interior designer Darrin Caddes
Dimensions Unknown
Engine Unknown

Thanks to and Peter Fassbender for the permission to use their original photography

Your author, Flavien Dachet, is a UK-based, French-born car designer. You may know him as the purveyor of KarzNshit, a photo blog that if isn't already in your bookmarks, certainly should be.

By Flavien Dachet