A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about the VW Beetle prototypes in the VW museum at the Wolfsburg factory.

While there, I also ran across these two early 1970s superminis - the charming Autobianchi A112 and the original Audi 50. The A112 deserves its place in the museum because it’s one of the first modern, front drive, hatchback, superminis. 

It was launched in 1969 and was really an Italian take on how the BLMC Mini should have been developed. A successful take, too. It stayed in production for nearly 17 years until it was replaced BY the Y10 - which we knew as a Lancia.

Seeing the A112 and Audi 50 next to each other shows just how much styling changed in a short period. The Audi was launched just four years or so after the A112, but they’re a world apart.

The accepted theory is that the wedgy ‘folded paper’ styling trend pushed by Italian design houses became all the rage among manufacturers, typified by the Giugiaro work on the Audi 50/Polo and Mk1 Golf.