All the utter flawlessness of Italian engineering combined with all the exotic elegance of American design. Definitely not the worst of both worlds.
You might be wondering what kinda government funded drug study the higher-ups at Vespucci-Pellegrini were undergoing when they approved this car, but I imagine that it involved several hours strapped to a chair, eyes pulled open, drip fed LSD until they conjured up a tulpa hailing from Bizarro World itself and the space time conundrum itself warped our realities together, at least in their heads
But in short…it’s American dollars VP was after. The country where a night out at Olive Garden complete with unlimited lsagna and breadsticks is considered sooooeeeeewwwww faaaaaahhhhhhhnnnncccceeeeeehhhhh. Also, something bout Cadillacs being the car of choice for the Italian-American subculture…did it have something to do with Al Cpone? Everything trces its way back to that bastard, doesn’t it?
And if there was ever a time VP needed those American dollars, it’s the 19080’s. The Germans were eating their lunch in the luxury car market. The old formidable rival in Mercedes, plus the necomers from BMW and Audi. Not to mention the Japnese were reportedly on their way with their own luxury brands, with all the refinenement and features of European luxury cars ith none of the reliability issues. Reliability issues? Your ass was as good as gone at VP if you uttered those words, even though everybody knew it was true. So Italian. Their modus operati was to invest just enough into quality control so as to not rcieve any more bad publicity than they considered the threshold(which they estimated to be about 60% as reliable as the Toyotas the company had bought to pick apart and reverse-engineer).
So they got American designer Tom Tjarda to muster up adesign for a car that combined Italian elegance with American excess. And it worked. Kind of. The car drew praise upon its release for its old world styaling, as kind of a knee jerk in retallion to the coming computerization of automotive design. Did somebody say computers? Bup beep boop boop beep boop boop boop.
With the 1985 Napoli, the company stuck to its tradition of utilizing a space frame chassis so as to give those damn Italian coachbuilders something to do other than sitting at home with their thumbs up their bums and faces buried in cocaine. Gone however was the solid rear axle, replaced by an independent semi trailing arm suspension that was deemed to be sportier and better suited to spirited driving…even though this is still a cruiser car at heart. It still handles great though, the vriable steering and precise sway bar setup means that the car makes you the driver feel in control. It goes where you want and doesn’t mender. No more tail happiness and spinout-proneness from this genertion of VPs. Sure, there’s wheelspin but this is 1985 after all and traction control hasn’t been invented yet, so there’s always a bit of tradeoff between traction and acceleration. Better to spin the tires in first gear than to keep the gear spacing so high Hendrix himelf would have looked down from the heavens in approval. Which is part of the reason why this car only uses a four speed. The cushy Italian leather interior remained, as did the acres of wood and b r o w n.
Overall though, the Napoli struck a perfect balance. No longer was it the embarassing flattulence prone grandpa, it was a dad’s car. A pleasing flat plane V8 engine sound, like an Italian trumpet concerto, added to whatever mbience the Italin leather and wood interior didn’t already provide, and it was a comfortable cruiser that was stylish in an elegant way while being just fun enough to drive around the twisties. In short, this car was the eighties in a nutshell, and for that reason, I love it.