The Pininfarina Nautilus is a concept car labelled as a Peugeot and loosely based on a Peugeot 605. It is badged with the Peugeot emblem to remind onlookers of the links between Pininfarina and the French car company since 1951. Perhaps as significant is the indication that the Italian design house deems the mass production four-door saloon market to be a design issue they wish to address on a commercial level.
The last Pininfarina four-door was produced in 1980. It was deemed not to be in keeping with the company direction and was never taken any further. However, various aspects of its design appeared in production cars around the world in the following years. The Nautilus was not intended to be a production car; more as a statement of Pininfarina's ability and forward thinking.
'We had complete freedom with the Nautilus, though there is a hint of Peugeot in some details.' says Lorenzo Ramaciotti, head of Pininfarina's Studi e Ricerche design department. ' In this respect it is not a concept car - more a show car, a vision from Pininfarina for a luxury sports sedan. (concept carz)'
Launched in 1997 and in the 7-series league, it might be said that the Nautilus has already inspired certain features in cars by Alfa Romeo and perhaps Ford. The Alfa 156, particularly in profile, has similarities such as the door handles hidden in the window frame. One of the many unique features with production possibilities is the use of cameras in place of wing mirrors. This is particularly beneficial in reducing wind noise as well as allowing the form of the car to be smoother.
The Nautilus took eight months to develop and construct with a cost of £550,000. The finished car is very close to the original sketches by Ken Okuyuma, formerly of GM (Opel). Inspiration for detail comes from the sea, as the name suggests, but also from other natural forms. An example of this is the steering wheel that features a form derived from the Golden Section. The wheels have a distinctly fin-like appearance which is continued inside; the doors stretch down lower than normal to avoid distracting sill lines. The rear light formation loosely resembles current Peugeot design trends whilst the main body is a carefully contrived mixture of strong form and smoothness.
'We tried for very clean character lines and soft surfaces, rather than a rigid geometric shape. But on the other hand, it's not a very soft car.'Source - Pininfarina