Sankul Design’s Tata Estate concept pays ample respect to Tata Motors’ Impact 2.0 design philosophy
Estates or station wagons have never really worked on the Indian market but the Tata Estate was a bold exception. Sold from 1992 to 2000, the Tata Estate was based on the brand’s tried-and-tested X2 platform which underpinned the Telcoline, Sierra, Sumo and Safari. The RWD body-on-frame station wagon may not have been the best in terms of dynamics but was quite the ‘boss car’ of the ‘90s.
Employing a 1.9-litre diesel motor sourced from Peugeot, the Tata Estate made roughly 67bhp and 118Nm of torque. It came only with a 5-speed manual. Under the then partnership between Tata Motors and Mercedes-Benz, the Estate borrowed some aesthetic and mechanical components from Merc’s S124 station wagon (analogous to the current E-Class wagon).
Since the Indian market’s interests are dominated by compact crossovers or wannabe SUVs, one cannot expect a reasonably priced station wagon in the foreseeable future. Meanwhile, Pune-based Sankul Design has reimagined the Tata Estate in a modern avatar. The design studio states that its latest work is a tribute to Mr Ratan Tata.
Sankul Design’s Tata Estate concept combines the original lines of the iconic Indian station wagon with the latest of Impact 2.0 design philosophy. The firm has shared a detailed record of its design; complete with inspirations, mood boards, form exploration and a range of final concepts. Sankul Design has opted an ‘Elegant, Contemporary and Simple’ theme of CMF (Colour, Material and Finish). Satin Silver and Satin Blue strokes, along with Grey accents, set the exterior tone.
An honest render appreciates a brand’s design philosophy from the very base rather than sticking a logo or nametag on some random digital art. The mood boards clearly show how Sankul Design visualised a station wagon paying respect to the direction set by Mr Pratap Bose and his team at Tata Motors.
Being a pure reimagination of a car that may or may not make a comeback, the artists have enjoyed a freedom of design — not limited by output, pricing or target customer — across three primary themes. The first design (Theme 1 – Concept 1) follows an all-out rugged approach with strong and sharp lines (much like the Tata HBX concept at Auto Expo 2020). On the other hand, Theme 1 – Concept 2 tones down the character to a more road-going example. Theme 1 – Concept 3 is somewhat a mix of the above two.
The second theme observes minimalism and elegance, relatively. Sankul Design has made three concepts under it. Key differences between them are limited to the headlamps, taillamps and character lines. The suicide-door configuration further communicates its focus on luxury or opulence.
The final theme is an ode to the not-too-distant future of automotive design. Though nobody (except Marty McFly, Kyle Reese and The Simpsons) have seen the future, one cannot be absolutely sure where the automotive industry is heading. However, aerodynamic silhouettes, camera sticks in place of ORVMs and absence of exhaust pipes are certainties. Look closely on the wheels and you can observe a fresh ‘TATA’ logo as well.
Sankul Design’s Tata Estate concept may never become a reality unless the world really wants it to. Nevertheless, it will remain a statement that wagons that are not an RS6 could work in India. We recommend checking out the gallery below.