It is a quote that has passed into popular motoring folklore. Legendary car designer and PetrolBlog regular, Giorgetto Giugiaro was said to be slightly unimpressed with the Triumph TR7. Upon seeing the car for the first time at the Geneva Motor Show in 1975, he looked at one side and said nothing. Then he went around to the other side and allegedly said;
Oh my God! They’ve done it to the other side as well
Whether he did or not is frankly irrelevant – the story is a good one. But fans of the TR7 may like to point at some of Giugiaro’s own creations which go someway to levelling the playing field. I speak of the Hyundai Pony, Hyundai Stellar, Daewoo Lanos and FSO Polonez, to name but a few. The TR7 is a veritable Keira Knightley in comparison to this line-up. Top tip for TR7 fans though, you might want to make a swift exit before Giugiaro mentions the likes of the Alfasud, Lotus Espirt, MKI Golf and BMW M1. Quite.
But the bosses of Coca-Cola didn’t agree with Mr Giugiaro. Quite the opposite in fact as they believed that the Triumph TR7 was the unlikely vehicle to transport them on their 1978 ‘All Summer Long‘ promotion.
Yes it is true, Triumph, Coca-Cola and even Levi-Strauss joined forces to create the ‘TR7 Coke Car’. Each TR7 featured red body point wolfrace alloys, white Coca-Cola swish line on the side and bonnet and blue denim upholstery, door panels and sun visors. In the late 70s, some people must have thought they were on coke when they stepped inside the Triumph. Amazingly, each car also came with a 12 volt fridge in the boot – perfect for transporting cans of Pepsi from the local Tesco.
Only three were made and each one was given away as a competition prize, along with £500 spending money. Presumably this cash could be spent on removing the denim from the car’s interior?
To stand a chance of winning, entrants had to list as many words as possible from the phrase ‘all summer’. Words needed to have a minimum of four letters and couldn’t be plurals or proper nouns. The winner managed to get an incredible 315 words. Amazing, especially considering this was well before the days of Carol Vorderman and Countdown.
Only one car survives now and it is due to appear at this year’s MPH – The Prestige & Performance Motor Show featuring Top Gear Live. The event takes place at Earls Court from November 4-7th and the NEC in Birmingham between November 11-14th.
Maybe I’m due another Car Confessional, but I quite like the car! I’ve always had a guilty soft spot for the TR7 and the idea of a Starsky and Hutch lookalike that isn’t based on the Ford Capri is quite appealing. Unfortunately I can’t get past the denim interior. There’s something quite unnerving about having two back pockets staring back at you from the door card.
I just wish Pepsi did their own car? Maybe based on the TR7 too. It would be strangely amusing to walk into a dealership and ask for a Coke car, only to hear them answer “We’ve only got Pepsi, is that OK?.” Well no it isn’t actually, I only want the real thing.
Thanks to triumphtr.co.uk for information. Visit them at http://triumptr.webs.com/cocacolacar.htm. Images courtesy of MPH – The Prestige and Performance Show. Visit www.mphshow.co.uk for more details.