I always thought his 405 design really just a mini 164.
Your comments please.
Hehe... well, I posted a picture of a 405 above. I can see the similarity but I think you'll agree the 605 is closer? The 405 was/is a very nice car, well-made and great to drive.
I always thought it was interesting that the 166 needed a significant facelift only a few years into its life. A friend of mine likened my 166 to his Mazda MX-6 (!) - 2003 compared against 1994 - and concluded that the 166 was 'a 90's design showing its age'. The 2004 166 had a more modern look but really, it is a concern when a design ages so badly.
The sculpted sides of the 166 were nice, but the front end was too droopy and ovalised - like that Ford someone posted earlier in the thread
- in recent years we've seen some crisp-cut surfaces coming back into fashion. For me, the beauty of the 164 lies in its proportions. Details items like the headlights may date (and they did), some of the 164's shape was looking a bit square by the standards of the day (think Mazda 929) and there will always be people who don't like the strip of red tail-lights right across...
...but at the end of the day, I don't think you can argue that the proportions of the 164 are anything other than elegant - the way the rear doors are a similar size to the fronts (rather than an afterthought), the tapering of the sills and bumpers, the low bonnet line pulled tight over the wheelarches, the curve of the windscreen pillars, etc. etc. It wouldn't take much to 'facelift' the 164 and make it look just as nice today.
For an example of un-elegant four-door-saloon proportions, see
(Aston Martin Lagonda). To me, that looks like the thing you might get in a 'first sketch' during high school English, where you run out of space on the paper before you finish the rear doors. Actually, for such a large car with a V8 engine (I thought it was a V12 but turns out it's only an 8), I think the front doors needed to be longer as well, the window line is a joke (look at that space behind the front wheels - ugly!) The whole mid-section could stand to be stretched by the length of a rear door... I know the AM Lagonda (William Towns) is older than the 164, and therefore you might expect details to be different, but age is no excuse for shonky proportions! I think this makes us even more appreciative of Pininfarina's efforts.
The 166 had very similar proportions to the 164, so I think someone else thought along the same lines that I did (that proportions were the most important). We should also remember that the 166 was an in-house effort, rather than being by Pininfarina.