10 more sets of automotive doppelgängers
A year ago, we assembled 20 pairs of cars that looked a lot—or at least somewhat—alike. Many of these cars were separated by decades, or by continents, while others were direct competitors with each other in period. Some of our pairings were more well-received than others, but many in the Hagerty Community became interested enough to offer up their own suggestions. We mined the comments for some of the best suggestions and added a few more of our own to come up with the following 10 pairs of automotive doppelgängers.
Lotus Elan and Mazda Miata (NA)
It’s been said that the greatest British roadster ever built is the Mazda Miata. Of course, the Miata hails from Japan, yet it was clearly the spiritual successor to a long line of MG, Triumph, Austin-Healey, and, yes, Lotus droptops, with which it shares more than a few design elements.
First-gen Ford Thunderbird and Auto Union 1000 SP
These two look so much alike that it’s hard to deny Auto Union’s inspiration. There is plenty of resemblance up front, but the round taillights and slanted fins leave absolutely no doubt which vehicle the 1000 SP’s designers had pinned on their studio walls.
1942–48 Ford and Volvo PV444/PV544
This pair is another suggestion from the Hagerty Community. The fastback rooflines of these two cars are similar, as are the essentially horizontal orientation of their grilles. Although originating on different continents, this Ford Coupe and the Volvo PV444 were both born in the same decade, so it’s not too surprising that they share a similar design language.
BMW E24 6 Series and 10th-generation Ford Thunderbird
We’ll admit that this comparison wasn’t the first to leap to our minds, yet this Community suggestion certainly has its merits. Note the shape of the Thunderbird’s quarter window and its Hofmeister kink.
Ferrari 275 GTS and Fiat 124 Spider
These Italian droptops were both products of Pininfarina’s design studio, so naturally there’s some family resemblance. The Fiat’s headlights are lower in relation to the grille opening, however, and are more tunneled into the body than the Ferrari’s.
Rover P5 and Chrysler 300
These two aren’t even close to identical, but the British sport saloon was cited as an inspiration when Chrysler was plotting its return to rear-wheel-drive, V-8-powered sedans. The Rover’s high beltline and prominent grille carried over nicely into Chrysler’s brooding sedan.
Chevrolet Corvair and NSU Prinz
Chevrolet took a page from VW’s playbook to create an air-cooled, rear-engine economy car, but the Corvair was also revolutionary in its own right, boasting flat-six power and turbocharging before it was cool. Then there’s the design, which sparked imitations from several makers, including VW in the Type 34 Karmann Ghia and BMW’s 02 Series.
We think that perhaps the closest resemblance comes from the NSU Prinz 1000. The pronounced beltline of the Corvair is there, along with the quad headlights, but the Prinz also has a kind of front/rear symmetry that made it difficult to tell which direction the car is facing. Granted, the car’s orientation is much easier to discern when you’re looking at a convertible.
Infiniti G35 and Nissan Altima Coupe
This suggestion comes from Sajeev Mehta, our in-house car-design wonk who writes the Vellum Venom column. These two vehicles come from the same parent company, so it’s not shocking to see that some of the Infiniti lines trickle down to Nissan. However, the Infiniti is rear-wheel-drive while the Nissan is front-wheel-drive, so it’s not like we’re talking about the 350Z here.
One of our Community members also suggested that the Nissan coupe’s rear section resembled those of the Bentley Continental GT. We can see some similarities there as well, since both have sizable quarter panels.
Lotus Evora and Ferrari 296 GTB
Maranello’s newest mid-engine sports car is decidedly Ferrari and has a tunneled backlite that contrasts with the mid-engine British machine’s louvers, along with a stretched-out, leaner stance. Still, the basic shape of the Ferrari’s greenhouse had us thinking Lotus the moment we laid eyes on it.
1953 Ford sedan and 1953–54 Hudson Jet
This great suggestion came from Community member RBHatton, and it seems perfectly feasible that Hudson was thinking about Ford’s design when it sculpted the compact Jet and Jet-Liner. The 1952 Ford was also similar and was more likely the reference Hudson had at hand when scheming up its compact car; but the details on the Ford that changed for 1953, specifically the grille, are even closer to those on the production-spec 1953 Jet. The forward-leaning rear wheel-well trim is also too similar to ignore.
These additional 10 pairings didn’t come close to exhausting the suggestions provoked by our last article. If any more come to mind, make sure to share with the Community in the comments below.