"Back in my day, the wedge was all the craze"
(Said no one ever)
But there's no denying that the 70s car world was crazed, ecstatic and bewildered over the wedge. It was the shape of the future. Goodbye curves, hello linear - the wedge became the symbol of modern.
And naturally, Erin wanted in on the craze.
1972 Erin Tegale
After the founder of the company Dominic Erin handed control over to his son Marco Erin in early 1970, Erin went through a bold period of change. Aged just 29, he had become CEO.
He'd always been close to his father, and had regularly joined him as he toured Europe and the world in the 1950s with Erin Motorsport. In 1968, the Erin Lira was launched, and he'd been the chief man behind the project. He may well have been young, but he knew what he was doing.
Erin went through a bit of an identity crisis in the late 60s, with the race team Erin Motorsport essentially competing for attention against the car making side of the company. So, Marco proposed a reshuffle. The car building side was reorganised and rebranded as just 'Erin'. Erin Motorsport was reformed into ErinSport, given more autonomy and given direct access to Erin itself, including car designs, engineers/expertise and the X Department.
With internal politics dealt with, it was time to focus on Erin, and Marco knew exactly what he wanted - to turn Erin into a slightly exotic, always reliable and visionary car company. By the end of 1970, two new cars had been released: the Comprida and the Civera, the latter of which would become a very succesful race car thanks to Marco's reforms.
Now, however, he needed a halo car. Something to shake the automotive world up a little bit with, and something to put Erin thoroughly on the map. Enter the Tegale.
The Tegale was a high-end, luxury sports car built between 1972 and 1979, when Erin's financial disaster forced it out of production. It aimed to combine superb performance with class leading comfort and refinement. But that's not all - it was going to look extraordinary.
Marco tasked his chief designer Harold Forgeley with styling the car so that it would put Erin at the forefront of modern car design. What else then but to utitlise wedge design on the Tegale: it would be as bold as Erin had become.
Not only that, but this car would be fast. 0-60 in just 6.4 seconds on the top-end GT-S trim, thanks to the 3.6l V8 under the bonnet, meant it could keep pace with a Ferrari 208.
A typical full steel monocoque was used for the Tegale, keeping it sturdy, and the overall weight came in at 1153 kg. The vinyl roof was not optional - you had to have it - though a convertible version was also produced.
The styling was as Harold Forgeley described it "new". Not just with the wedge front end, but with the thin, rectangular headlights and made straight lines found around the car. This continued with the interior, which was a wood and metal design inspired by art deco architecture.
This was also the first ever car from Erin to have pop-up headlights, which were to yet to become popular in Britain. Many saw it more as a quirk, as oppose to their actual intentions which were to maintain the wedge shape whilst still complying with headlight regulations.
The 3.6l SOHC V8 produced 206hp, meaing 0-60 in 6.4 seconds and a top speed of 142 mph. In short, it was bog standard for its day.
Double wishbones all round made sure this car was comfortable and sporty. While certainly not as sharp some of its competitors, the Tegale was reassuringly laid back in its handling, and was most at home on snaking mountain pass in the Alps.
The automotive press were immediatley split on the Tegale. Some heralded it as brilliant piece of design. Others found it simply horrifying to look at from the front. Marco had expected this, and it was exactly what he needed; people were talking about Erin, and the debate over the Tegale's styling boosted sales across the range.
Against its sports and even supercar rivals, the Tegale was only really competitve in a straight line. Some have even come to question whether it was actually more of a GT car.
Yet, within a few years, the Tegale was no longer a perplexing ugly duckling. Thanks to cars like the Aston Martin Lagonda, Lotus Esprit and Triumph TR7, the Tegale emerged as an innovative piece of automotive design. It's performance level also put it into competition with the Italians outside of the race track for the first time, and Erin's image of "that slightly exotic British car maker" had been established.
If this car were a song, it'd Bennie and the Jets by Elton John