Home » What Two Unrelated Cars Look Strangely Alike?

What Two Unrelated Cars Look Strangely Alike?

Aa Dopplegangers
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Doppelgangers are everywhere. You’re totally unaware of it, but somewhere in a far off place like Serbia or Taipei there’s a person that looks nearly identical to you. You could be walking down a street in Buenos Aires and all of a sudden they appear; it’s like looking in a mirror. Who knew?

Cars are the same way. Often it’s intentional, but other times it’s mere coincidence. I think it’s the case above, since the cars shown are from such different times and places, yet I guess it’s still possible. The two vehicles shown above are a French Matra 530 and the very American Buick Reatta, both of them sort-of sports cars (the Buick definitely more sort-of).

Vidframe Min Top
Vidframe Min Bottom

Matra’s 530 was a mid-engined targa-topped coupe that still managed to find space for a tiny rear seat. The rear glass lifts to access the Ford Taunus-sourced V4 engine, and a trunk exists at the very rear of the car. If you’ve never heard of it, the 530 was the successor to the Djet that Jason has driven and the predecessor to the more well known Matra Bagheera with three across seating.

Matra
Bring A Trailer

Buick’s Reatta was a two-seat coupe based on the front drive Rivera; The space where you’d expect to find the rear seat was just utilized for extra cargo to complement the trunk (yes, the Matra was far more space efficient).

Reatta1
Streetside Classics

The Reatta shared much with that overly downsized Rivera, including the chassis, V6 engine and the infamous CRT touch screen in the middle of the dash.

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Built decades apart and in different sides of an ocean, it’s quite surprising how similar the overall profile of these two cars is. It’s also rather uncanny considering that the drivetrain layouts of the pair are totally different. I seriously doubt that any copying was going on at GM; at most maybe tangentially some designer subliminally penned a shape similar to some cool French coupe he’d been exposed to years before. Yet the similarity is there.

27475603 1990 Buick Reatta Std 1

This is an odd occurrence, but surprisingly there is another Buick near-doppelganger in a far-off European nation. However, this one was almost certainly an intentional rip-off. You might not know of the Fiat 130 coupe, but in the image below you’ll be shocked at how much it looks like a certain big Buick.

Buicks
Ranmore / Barn Finds

Always a fan of Italian design, GM creative leader Bill Mitchell told Motor Trend in 1977 that he thought Paulo Martin’s Fiat 130 Coupe was one of the finest designs he’d ever seen from Pininfarina. It’s no surprise then that one of the last cars Mitchell worked on bears an uncanny resemblance to that not-sold-in-the-US coupe. The 1977 full sized B-bodies were some of the most popular and durable cars GM ever made, and the coupe versions of the Chevy (with hot-wire-bent rear glass) and Buick were notably nice designs. It is with the Buick Lesabre- particularly the black-out-trim Sport Coupe shown- that the aping of the Italian car is most evident. Come on, Bill, could you have at least tried to change the taillight design a little for Chrissake? I mean, there’s “inspiration” and there’s downright copying.

What cars (or trucks, or vans) can you think of that, despite not being badge-engineered variations or same-maker platform mates, look like they’re related? The Autopian is asking!

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Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 months ago

Pacer == Pinto

Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
Bongo Friendee Harvey Park
5 months ago

That Buick/Fiat looks remarkably similar to the Peugeot 604, which was also designed by Pininfarina around the same time.

Awesome article.

Michael Culberson
Michael Culberson
5 months ago

Two unrelated vehicles that are remarkably similar; the Triumph TR7 & the 1991-1994 Mercury Capri.

STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
STEPHEN WALTER GOSSIN
5 months ago

Great piece, Bishop!

I always thought those Reattas were very pretty yet they sat too high on their springs. The gap between the top of the wheels and the wheel arches is too great. A set of lowering springs would go a long way to improve the look.

Lightning
Lightning
5 months ago

Late to the discussion, but watching the latest podcast, I noticed the Rover 800 looks like the Subaru Loyale/Leone.

JDE
JDE
5 months ago

I wondered if the Mazda 3 and Alfa Giulietta were intentionally similar or not?

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