How to make a 5-door Ypsilon in record time and at no more than modest cost. That was the challenge implicit in the brief presented to the Lancia design team. Their response was the Musa, a model that was never part of Lancia’s production plans and, as Humberto Rodriguez, Fiat/Lancia Design Coordinator points out, emerged from their own design team rather than being commissioned by their engineers.

Initially supervised by Flavio Manzoni, the project was taken over by Marco Tencone, who succeeded Manzoni at the helm of Lancia Design, having previously been Chief Exterior Designer on the Musa. “It’s never easy to create a derivative vehicle involving so many carry over components. However, when we examined the Idea in side view, we quickly saw a lot that lent itself to “Lanciarisation”.

In the event, the first thing you notice about this elegant, well-proportioned end product, is how well it fits into the Lancia design tradition. “Some derivative models look terribly forced and others give the impression of effortless success”, observes Tencone.

Humberto Rodriquez is equally pleased with the Musa. “It’s worked out so well that lots of people have told us it’s hard to tell which is the original and which the derivative between the Idea and the Musa. We take that as a great compliment”.

The interior of the Musa also benefits from its Idea origins. “We found centrally placed instruments,” reports Tencone, “just like our own on the Ypsilon. So all we had to do was a bit of work on the instrument graphics and on a few minor items like the steering wheel and the gear lever knob”.

“The Musa is proof that if you start out with a good design, you can do a lot with very little. You can expect to see many more models developed along similar lines in the future”, concludes Humberto Rodriguez.

The article continues in Auto & Design no. 148

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