With all that’s happening at Proton right now, in the midst of what is looking to be a successful partnership with Geely, it’s easy to forget the national carmaker’s early struggles in building cars under its own power. One of the company’s notable efforts was the Savvy, a noble attempt to enter the small hatchback market – a segment that was Perodua’s heartland at the time.

Even though it was ultimately not as successful as its contemporary, the Myvi, the little tyke of a car still found fans, which is why Photoshop wizard Theophilus Chin has decided to utilise his skills to render a new generation Savvy, using bits of various Geely models.

Most of the hallmarks of the original’s distinctive design are there, including the strong shoulder section that wraps around the car, the U-shaped clamshell bonnet and the mask-like front end graphic. Only the controversial stepped window line is missing – the kink has been moved to the flanks, near where the door rubbing strips sit. Onto this, Theo has added a number of more modern touches.

At the front, you’ll find Proton’s new grille with the Infinite Weave pattern and the Ethereal Bow design that dips under the tiger badge. It is flanked by a pair of projector headlights with internals borrowed from the X70 SUV, while the lower air intake features silver trim and LED daytime running light strips.

Moving to the rear of the car, there are trapezoidal tail lights from the Geely Binyue, joined together by a chrome strip with the Proton script. The rear number plate recess, which was previously mounted on the bumper, has been moved up to the tailgate, while the funky centre-exit exhaust has been replaced by twin pipes. Eight-spoke turbine-style alloy wheels complete the look.

Such a car could utilise Geely’s new 1.0 litre turbocharged three-cylinder petrol engine in the Binyue, although that mill is only connected to a six-speed manual gearbox – not a problem for us enthusiasts, but it wouldn’t be good news for the commuters that would be the ideal market if it does enter production. Don’t count on that happening anytime soon, however, not when the local compact car segment is so small, and with Proton already having the larger, more practical and relatively inexpensive Iriz.