Ford Product Development Center
16 June 2002
This Lot has no reserve
GHIA TRIO CONCEPT
Metallic brown over matte beige cladding with saddle brown cloth interior with beige accents
The Ghia Trio concept's claim to fame is that it is the smallest (at least at the time of its debut at the 1983 Geneva Motor Show) 4-wheel vehicle ever built bearing the Ford label. Its wheelbase is only 1,650mm (65 inches) and overall length just 2,408mm (94.8 inches). Ghia Trio concept, however may make up in height some of what it gives away in footprint. It is 1,345mm (65 inches) high. Within that small package Ghia succeeded in creating an aerodynamic hatchback that is both attractive and functional.
Ghia went to great lengths to minimize the Ghia Trio concept's weight. The floor pan is formed from fiberglass. Lightweight seat frames are constructed from fiberglass and aluminum. Ghia Trio concept's body is constructed around an aluminum tube frame with aluminum and composite panels. The windshield is glass for durability but the side and rear windows are methacrylate, a scratch-resistant and lightweight plastic. The side windows are fixed in position, thus eliminating both the weight of a movable window mechanism and the space it requires. Small drop-down panels would allow the driver to pay inevitable tolls and parking lot fees.
Ghia's work on weight reduction paid off. The Ghia Trio concept weighs under 700 pounds, amazing even for its small size.
Ghia Trio concept's signature feature is its seating layout. As Ghia Managing Director Filippo Sapino commented at the time, "for 90 per cent of the time urban vehicles travel with only the driver in the car," so Ghia gave its primary thought to the driver's accommodation, placing the driver's seat centrally and flanking it with two passengers' seats each slightly behind the driver. The placement contributed to the Ghia Trio concept's narrowness and to Sapino's claim, "while the Trio has ample space for the driver, its extra seats enable two passengers to be carried on short journeys."
With Ghia Trio concept's light weight and limited mission, Ghia could power it with a minimalist rear-mounted engine: a moped-based 250cc 2-stroke twin with belt-based continuously-variable transmission driving the rear wheels. "Performance" was not part of the Ghia Trio concept's equation.
Ghia Trio concept's interior is upholstered in saddle brown cloth with beige accents. The seats belie their small size and lightweight construction with good looks and comfort. Tires are 4.80/400-8 on steel wheels. There is no engine, although at one stage a moped unit was fitted. The original paint is beginning to show its age and has several cracks, nicks and scratches. The interior shows its age and needs attention and the headliner is missing.
The Ghia Trio concept is an imaginative and thoughtful approach, showing sensitive recognition of the way automobiles are actually used - occupied by the driver only - and designing with that fact in mind.
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