Project C9 was instigated in 1976, and like the Alpine and Horizon before it, was engineered in France and styled in the UK. The car that emerged was the first car to emerge from the combine, which was not styled under the directorship of Roy Axe... the upscaled Solara concept was considered a failure by most contemporary commentators.
The Tagora was always going to be a six-light, three box saloon, but the Citroen SM style nose treatment (headlamps and registration plate housed behind a glass cover) of the early prototypes was soon abandoned following pressure from Chrysler management.
The C9 is taking shape; and thanks to the abandonment of some of the drawings' more advanced features, the character of the final car is evident for all to see. Most striking aspects of the design are its large glass area, slim pillars and low shoulder line. Note also the Chrysler 180-style rear light clusters, which failed to make it to production.
many subtle changes have taken place between the full-size clay and this styling buck. The semi-covered rear wheel (very reminiscent of Citroen) and round front wheelarches have been abandoned in favour of Bertone-like squared-off arches. The shoulder line has also been raised slightly in order to eliminate the original's top heavy appearance, and the front bumpers have been reprofiled.
Final styling evolution shows more chrome detailing and a further alteration to the front grille/lights arrangement. The car is wearing French market number plates, which indicates that this model was most likely used in customer clinics...
This glass fibre model was the C9 that Peugeot first saw when they took over Chrysler Europe in 1978.
Interior studies centred around a rather minimalistic design, which displayed touches of the Rover SD1 and later Citroen XM... This design may have looked good during the design phase, and helped to give the final car a very airy looking cabin, it also put off many British buyers, who were accustomed to much more busy looking cockpit.
Pleated seat designs seem to have been finally adopted on the Talbot-Matra Murena.
Various designs of road wheel were pursued, with the final solution being a development of the design depicted in the picture on the left..
Pictures courtesy of Club 604 and www.allpar.com.
Copyright © 2001-2004 Keith Adams; Copyright © 2005 Allpar, LLC
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