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1982 Ford Brezza by Ghia

The Ghia Brezza concept is a shining example of the talents of Ghia's artisans and the practicality with which they and Ghia's designers approach their work. Unlike its contemporary Ghia Barchetta, Ghia Brezza is a mid-engined concept created from front-engined components. It was the cover feature of the July 1982 Road & Track magazine article written by Doug Nye.


Nye quotes Ghia Managing Director Filippo Sapino extensively, and it's fitting to let Sapino; also Brezza's designer, speak for himself: - "We had made the AC Ghia to explore solutions to the mid-engine coupe arrangement with Ford power. But that was not a real Ford. We took two [Escort] EXPs, chopped one-off at three-quarter length, just ahead of the back axle, and the other just behind the front wheels, forward of the front bulkhead. We fitted the short engine front-end unit at the back of the three-quarter-length chassis pad [and] removed the engine from the three-quarter length chassis. In that way, we created a driveable car, though it was not properly engineered."


The Ghia Brezza concept's body is gently rounded with a low and smoothly sloping nose that takes advantage of the engine's relocation behind the seats to penetrate the air with as little disruption as possible. Headlights retract, and the marker lights are flush with the body corners. The nose flows smoothly into a steeply raked windshield. Side windows are nearly flush with the door frames to smooth airflow over the Ghia Brezza concept's sides. The rocker panels curve under, then flow down to rear-wheel skirts, which nearly fully enclose the wheels. The radiator is in the front, with an under-car vent for air after it passes through the radiator. A belly pan partially covers the chassis itself to smooth airflow.


One of the Ghia Brezza concept's distinctive features are the two rows of gills, a larger set in the rear fender just behind the wheels, which provide fresh, cool air to the engine, and a smaller set located above them in the C-pillar. The roofline extends to the tail via a pair of buttresses, each containing a quarter window for the driver's visibility. The rear window is nearly vertical between the buttresses, and the engine cover is flat. Ghia's craftsmen make some of the prettiest vents in the business. Ghia extrapolated an impressive drag coefficient of .30 from 3/s-scale model wind tunnel testing. In his book "Ghia," David Burgess-Wise recounts his experience testing Ghia Brezza in Turin before its announcement at the Turin Motor Show. Stopping to take some photos, Ghia Brezza immediately distracted a crown of Torinese boys from their football game. Their comment? "Oh, bella! Che bella machina!"


As offered, Ghia Brezza has no engine or transmission. Its overall condition is fair, especially considering its age. The exterior paint is generally good but has some not unexpected chips and scratches. There are some paint fisheyes on the nose, and the left headlight cover doesn't retract flush with the bodywork. The interior is presentable, but again beginning to show its age a little, the bright red cloth-covered Ghia designed adjustable seats are very comfortable. Ghia Brezza rides on cast alloy wheels with 195 60R 14 Goodyear Eagle GT tires. Very few concepts are significant enough to become cover stories in American enthusiast magazines, even fewer attain the standards of Road& Track. Ghia Brezza is highly significant for the recognition which it received. The creativity of its design and the caliber of its bodywork, interior, and finish set it even further apart.


Images: Ford; Concept Car Central; Mario Buonocunto Concept Cars Page; www.carculture.com; www.scottgrundfor.com