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Tuesday, 28 October 2008

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I have always liked both Porsche and Jaguars. As it happens, my wife, who has even less knowledge of cars than I, and that's difficult, also loves Jaguars. She doesn't see them and say "That's a nice Jaguar". She instead sees a car that somehow appeals to her and it always turns out to be a Jag. It is purely aesthetic and consistent.

Right again, Mike-0! That's really awful. But wouldn't you love to hear some designer's difficult explanation of why it was graceful, elegant and superior to anything else?

Most cars are getting uglier every year. From the Pontiac Aztec to any new BMW, they tend to grow more and more fussy and overstyled, adding too many details. The Honda CRV is especially hideous, with two gaping mouths up front- gawd! Other cars are streamlined into rolling doorstops (Civic, Prius).

IMO, car design peaked a decade or so ago, when clean and simple were common design goals. One of the reasons I enjoyed owning late-'80s Golfs and early-90's SAAB 9000s was their crisp, folded styling, shaped around the human form inside. Today I drive a New Beetle, beautiful to me in its rigorous discipline of curves and arcs, with barely a straight line but absent superficial frippery.

Interesting note: a car writer whose name i've forgotten offered an explanation why Japan's autos had busier, less-integrated designs than their sleek, simpler Euro competition. Japanese traffic is so dense that it's rare to see a car from far enough away to see the whole thing. So they perceive autos in fragments, a fender here, a front end there, responding to an especially ornate headlight, etc. I'm glad it hasn't come to that here- not that you'd know it to look at our cars.

Cars I find beautiful:
Original Jaguar XKE coupe
Jaguar XK 120
BMW 507
Ferrari GTO (the first one)
Ferrrari Dino 246
Any bathtub Porsche (aka 356)
1956-57 Corvette
'55-'57 T-Bird
Opel GT

But for the living room:
1939 Talbot Lago T150-SS

I've been lusting after the Lamborghini Miura ever since I saw one in the opening scenes of 'The Italian Job' (the original version of the movie with Michael Caine) in 1969. Side note: the actor driving that car had a heart attack in the tunnel and really did write off the car on the front of a bulldozer. They showed the actual mangled car in the movie.

Here's a picture and the story of the Miura:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamborghini_Miura

A share your sense of importance for aesthetics. It wasn't always that way. I was the quintessential engineer and scientist in my youth. My genes for aesthetic sense didn't kick in until I was somewhat older, the early exceptions being my deep attraction to the Lamborghini Miura, and beautiful women.

The Aztek, for starters. In fact, in a fitting form of symmetry, it was voted ugliest car in the world by a British magazine. Most of the garbage produced by Detroit also falls under the ugly category, with the exceptions like the Ford Thunderbird Coupe confirming the rule.

1974 Ford Bronco -- the "classic" Bronco, not the O.J. get-away car. One of the finest vehicles ever made... As a second runner up, I'd have to go with the 1979 International Scout II. Either vehicle would look great in the living room, though they're much better suited for backroads and two-tracks.

I'm exactly like you, dude, I look at aesthetics in everything. Always have.

Also I've been a fan of that Jag for decades.

Oh, one thing for example I love are big metal constructions or old vehicles or wagons. Particularly if very rough and industrial. I'd love to make sculptures like that.

Mike,

Well, for once I agree with you 100%. I must warn you though that once I win the Lotto this Friday, I will plop down the $450,000.00 for one of these, then write back and militantly fling profanties at you while arguing that it is the most beautiful automobile ever made (SA).

Seriously, I have always loved the lines of Maserati. If money were no object, that would be the ticket for me.

You mean beautiful like this

http://www.dropbears.com/m/models/rolls-royce/silver_cloud.htm

or like this

http://www.dropbears.com/m/models/rolls-royce/silver_shadow_ii.htm

or like this?

http://bentleyhighpoint.com/2002cars/2002ser.htm

Frankly, Phantom looks better than the last two. The Silver Seraph looks like a _Mercedes_, for pete's sake.

Now, if we're talking British, _this_ is a good-looking car:

http://www.astonmartin.com/thecars/db9

Not the convertible, the coupe.

Or this one

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:JagXJS.jpg

Or this

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:MG_MGA.jpg

Rolls Royces are stately as an English manor, but particularly pretty they haven't been. BTW, check for other photos here

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rolls-Royce_Motor_Cars#Rolls-Royce_cars_timeline

You can count on one hand all the cars made today that don't look like flattened eggs- and the rest aren't exactly prize winners either. I saw a '65 Ford Falcon the other day, a Ford Falcon! For you youngbloods out there, that was an American alternative to a VW Bug back in the day- a nothing car! And it had more looks hands down than anything made today! And don't get me started on DSLR design!

Yes James, hard to beat an Aston Martin DB5 for looks (though a Dino Ferrari ST aint bad). As for today... I'll take the Porsche Cayman.

No contest. 1954 Sunbeam Talbot Alpine. The car in To Catch a Thief.

I am loathe to bring up the "man" thing, but I must. There is not car, motorcycle, machine(including television) that I would put in my living room. A side note is that this past weekend I visited the Cincinnati Museum of Art which is featuring a 2005 Porsche Carerra GT in its front entry as art. There is no accounting for aesthetics.

Oh, I could go on and on, but certainly Jaguars are right up there in the top spots; I lean to the 3.8 saloons and the XK120 and 150. And the Bugattis, of course, especially the 35. Then there are the Morgan 3-wheelers and (OMG) the 4/4 with the stamped steel (not the wire) wheels.

Recently, though, thanks to 'Hot Rod, The Photography of Peter Vincent', it's been the the '32 Ford coupe, the rough ones in particular. If you love cars you owe it to yourself to find a copy of this book.

And, please, don't get me started on motorcycles!

I really like the Jaguar X Type (the one you posted) and also the Jaguar S Type. But my favourite is the Maserati Quattroporte.

What do you think of the BMW X6 ?

For me, I love butt-ugly cars. I've even owned several. For instance I love the BMW Isetta or the Fiat 300. Ugly. Also, the Pinzgauer military troop carrier... ugly. Fantastic in the dirt though. But that Rolls is beyond even me. That said, There is one car that I have always thought was just pure sex-on-wheels and that is the 1950's Mercedes-Benz 300SL.
Though I certainly wouldn't leave it in my living room.

The 1937 Embiricos Bentley would be on my list (http://carcatalog3.free.fr/bent12.jpg) as would the 1936 Stout Scarab (http://www.conceptcarz.com/view/photo/102768,9131,0,0/photo.aspx). But I couldn't afford either of those, so the car for my living room would be a 1955 Volkswagen Beetle (http://www.flickr.com/photos/backlitcoyote/537920937/).

Agreed, that's remarkably ugly. Unlike this

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7211625@N06/2745954622/in/set-72157594572725836/

There's a bigger version better presented on his website, but it's in a flash presentation so I can't link directly to it. Wouldn't take long to find though.

http://www.kenbrownart.com/images/automotive/index.html

*sigh*

I'd be more than happy to give room-space to a Type 35 Bugatti WITH the body. Sure, the engine, chassis and running gear are beautiful pieces of sculpture, but the whole car is aesthetically wonderful. Don't comit vivisection, I say!

Yep, I am totally in the same ballpark with you with Jaguars! I have always thought they were the classiest lookin' cars ever made... they just ooze with class and sophistication. Well, back when they were classic, like you linked to, and not, like seemingly all cars currently - homogenized into looking pretty much like every other car on the bloody road.

That love also goes for any classic fifties or sixties car... they just don't make them like they used to. I'll notice a sweet beauty blocks away and follow it as it passes and disappears... in comparison, there is rarely a car today that I even look twice at.

I drive race cars, but I'm not really a "car guy"; cars are just tools to get the job done. You don't want to get to attached to your race car, it could become a smoldering lump without notice.

Having said that, my favorite car from an aesthetic standpoint has to be the Ford GT-40 Mk. II; a car built to go racing. The GT-40 was one of the first cars to undergo extensive wind tunnel testing, and it shows. The fluid lines are as fresh today as they were back in the sixties. Take out the 7 liter V8 and substitute something from Briggs & Stratton, and it's still the most beautiful car in the world (although that American V8 sound is certainly part of the appeal).

And the ugliest car? My vote goes to the Datsun B210, although any early Subaru would be a contender, as would the current Smart.

And the car I lust after more than any other? Ford RS 200. There is no other.

Mike says "my tastes run decidedly British".
Please add to the list the following British motorcycles. The Norton Commando and for the hell of it a nice Triumph 650 twin. Damn Lucas electrics were horrible but otherwise nice bikes.

"Have you ever seen a more butt-ugly car in your life?"

Pontiac Aztek.

One automotive reviewer wrote that the best thing about driving it was not having to look at it from the outside.

Jaguar D Type, matchbox version.

Good heavens, what a horribly ugly automobile! And I thought the RR Silver Spirit/Silver Spur models of the '80s were ugly, with their rectangular headlights and side-view mirrors. Here (http://betterthanblank.org/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2008/01/05a_rolls-royce-silver-cloud.jpg) is a photo of a much better-looking Rolls-Royce, a classic 1964 Silver Cloud.

As for what car I would put in my living room (since we are pretending, I'll assume my wife wouldn't object), I'm a Jaguar guy, too. I'd go with the E-Type, however. I believe this beauty (http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/e7/Jaguar_E-Type_4.2_Coupe_green_vl.jpg) is a 1968. In all honesty, though, if I ever have an E-Type, it won't be in my living room, but in the garage — and taken out for frequent excursions!

Of course, the cost of gasoline to operate these classic automobiles might be prohibitively expensive twenty years from now, especially if alternatively powered vehicles finally catch on. I guess it will just be part of the cost of ownership. Don't misunderstand me; I want to be able to tell my grandkids, "When I was your age, cars were powered by 'internal combustion engines'". "'Eternal compunction engine'? What's that, Grandpa?" :-)

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/3e/Camargue.JPG

This is IMHO the most beautiful modern Rolls Royce, designed by .... an Italian.

As for looking "like a Chinese copy of a Chrysler", please rub it in a little more gently next time, we're a shame culture!

Love me some Daihatsu Trevis--here's a link to a post of 11 car makes you can't get in the US.
http://justinsomnia.org/2008/06/car-brands-that-you-cant-buy-in-the-us/

I've always been fond of the Austin-Healy 3000. I don't know if it would qualify as "beautiful" but it looks "fun" and that's what a convertible should be. I wouldn't want the British guts to the thing, too unreliable but I believe you can drop a Ford motor in the thing pretty easily.

Favourite cars considering aesthetics ...

those swanky new 2 door Bentleys
1967 Pontiac GTO
most Porsches

I'd probably choose a motorcycle instead of a car as an art object. Like cars, they come both ugly and pretty, but I've always been drawn to the kind that's beautifully functional - lean and purposeful with no nod toward market trends, coolness, and other fluff.

Prototypes, racers with hand-machined parts, and other non mass-produced machines are beautiful because they are built with reason. The machining may be imperfect, the castings rough, but their beauty lies in their efficiency of purpose.

If they were photographs, you could call that purpose "content".

Ugliest. Headlights. Ever.
That being said, I'm definitely also not included in the target market.

The front end will not be
a look alike as so many
motor vehicles are these days.

You'll know what it is when you see it.

But then Roll-Royce cars aren't British
anymore either.

Mercedes 500K Roadster (1934 ~ 1936) does it for me.

I have to admit to thinking that the new Volkswagen Beetle is a cool-looking conveyance too. Guess I'm partial to curvaceous stuff.

But you're right, that is one ... er ... "chunky" looking Rolls.
Probably a joy to drive though.

Well, lemme see here - my last and only Jaguar was an XK 120 coupe with the bonnet and coach roof chocolate brown, body tan and a 289 ford V8 for power, beautiful and it ran occasionally...

Right now I've got a '03 MINI Cooper, BRG with white roof of course. It's my favorite car ever, a wonderful combination of looks, fun driving and practicality.

Yeah, it's ugly, but how often are you going to see one in Waukesha, WI? Relax, and consider yourself lucky.

It's all a part of selling cars. They deviate from beauty for a few years because for a while different looks like beauty. Then people wake up and realize that the car they bought wasn't beautiful like they were told and they need to go back to the lot for a new one. By then the swing is in the other direction and beauty is back in again. Continual change is part of the pump of renewal that keeps them selling.

As for the RR - to me it looks plain ugly, like the blank face from a character out of a animated robot movie. And many of the newer cars being forced by wind tunnel tests for efficiency are certainly achieving a certain bleak sameness. I'll take the classic slender Jags or 70s Porsche any day. They had some distinction that even in their day put them apart from the masses.

Mel,
I grant you, anyone with a car in his living room is probably male...and single. [s]

Mike J.

Large, ugly, clunky, boxy, and in-your-face is the new beautiful I suppose. This has been in evidence in the last decade or so in many things, but particularly in cars (super-sized SUVs, Hummers, Scion, this RR abomination, recent Cadillacs, etc, etc.) and high-end watches. Even though I cannot afford a new watch from the likes of Patek, Breguet, or even Rolex, I have always been fascinated by high-quality mechanical timepieces. I was a faithful reader of Chronos, International Wristwatch, and Watch Time for many years, up to around 2005, at which time I became totally turned off by the enormous, clunky, hideous watches cherished by rappers, sports stars, wannabe CEOs, and various other in-your-face celebs who wouldn't know a hairspring from a mainspring if it bit them in the butt. In arguably more civilized times, the standard of elegance in a watch was gold, thin, and discreet, but now unless you've got a 60mm double-tourbillion-split second chronograph-minute repeater on your wrist, you're just not flashing enough bling.

To my eyes, Rolls Royces have all been pretty ugly since about, say, the 70s. Now the Pacer ... that was a car.
http://images.businessweek.com/ss/07/08/0824_uglycars/source/11.htm

Unfortunately little American metal here, ...and rightly so I'm afraid, but I do love the wide arse of an early 70's Mopar machine.
...and my favorite body style ever, probably for her feminine curves, is the Porsche 911 Turbo, mid-80's vintage.
I'll second that Alpine reference as well.
That Rolls in the original post looks....startled.
It does look like an overly-clad Chrysler.

"The thing looks like a Chinese copy of a Chrysler."
Yow! But, of course, you are absolutely right. I share your taste in automobiles. Jaguars have alway lit my fire, specifically the Mark II saloons from the mid 1960's. Alas, my budget limits my collection to a clapped-out 1972 MGB.
Five years ago we were in the market for a 2 year old Ford Windstar. I found a good one for about $15000. On the way to the dealer with the check I spotted a 1974 Rolls Royce with a for sale sign in the window. $15000. I thought about this for a while, then realized that hauling a couch to my daughter's apartment in NYC in the back of the Rolls Royce was a tad impractical. Sigh...

"...please rub it in a little more gently next time, we're a shame culture!"

Jerome,
I added an asterisk, just for you.

Mike J.

Richard Cooke,
The Austin-Healy 3000 is one of my all-time favorites.

Mike J.

At first glance I thought this was the "Family Queen Truckster".

Jaguar E Type, 6 cylinder, Alfa Romeo 1750 GTV,
Ferrari Daytona, 1964 1/2 Mustang convertible in bright orange, 1967 Camaro, and my MINI.

Jim

This car looks like it is one of those people who never quite got used to their contact lenses, thus keeping their eyes VERY wide open!

call me a total designer, but I loves me a 1966 vw beetle. funny that of all the 'dream' cars out there, I choose the 'people wagon'. Seriously though, the beetle is it. best. car. ever.

The reason this Rolls is leaning so much in the photo is that the driver is trying to speed past the photographer fast enough to not have his picture taken while inside it.

any current aston martin by far the most beautifully designed cars on the road IMO

John Hufnagel picked it first but here is a picture of the most beautiful car ever made,

1939 Talbot Lago T150SS

www.carculture.com/albums.php?albumId=3852


Amazing the amount of passion about cars in this group.....

Did you know that the humankind produces
25,000,000 cars EVERY SINGLE YEAR..?
Thats one every 9 seconds or so, 24/7/365...
That, gentlemen, is how you spell evil...
I apologize in advance for this rant, I have been a mechanic for 37 years, my own shop for 27 years, and just like the legendary bluesman BB King sings.......The Thrill is gone......I used to have this passion but no longer...
Best wishes,

No doubt, the most beautiful ever (I think also the most expensive) is the Bugatti 57 Atlantic. Only three ever made

http://www.car-classics.net/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=47&Itemid=35

Note to self: Photography aficionados overlap the set of automobile aficionados. Or maybe it's the other way around...

To answer your question: I have seen uglier. Half the cars I see every day are uglier. And you see a lot of different cars here in SoCal.

So you're saying that if Rolls offered you the car for a weekend (obviously confusing you with some other Mike Johnston who publishes an automotive website), the same weekend that Sony sent you the A900 for a test fling...you're saying that you would turn down the car or wear a disguise until you were in the next county? Those leather seats, the power, the gas card from Rolls, and the open road before you? New dream camera in tow?

It ain't that ugly.

Jaguar D Type, not the XKSS version, but one in Le Mans trim, and if I could the 1955 Long Nose version, mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

http://majorlycool.com/item/taking-a-lap-around-le-mans-in-1956

or maybe a Maserati Tipo 61 (Birdcage)

You must be joking! Have a look at the front page of Winding Road (are there any in the US?)! (You really scared me.) My goodness, there's ugly for ye. Have a look at the Top 10 "Sport" Sedans. That must be the list of the most ugly cars ever made. Wow.

And for the most beautiful contemporary car have a look at the Alfa Romeo C8. That's beauty:

http://europeansoukauto.ifrance.com/alfac8.html

David Boyce,
That's a most astonishing film clip! He's zipping around Le Mans and there are motorcycles, bikes, even *opposing traffic* on the road...amazing.

Mike J.

Yup, both old and new Fiat 500, Minis and Fiat 600. I can't really decide, they're all beautiful. If I had to make a choice and buy a car today it would probably be the new Fiat 500.

Anything worse? Sure! Worse appearance can readily be found in the current Jeep Cherokee and Dodge SUV range.

Funny someone would mention the Pacer:
"A recent poll by Hagerty Insurance asked enthusiasts to name the worst car design of all time: This glassine bolus of dorkiness is the pathetic winner. Remember Richard Teague, designer of the amputated Gremlin? Him again."

http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658042,00.html

The overlap between car fans and photography fans is no surprise. I have always contended that most folks choose a camera the same way they choose a car. They may prattle on about the practicality of their choice, but in the end, the decision is a lot more subjective than they want to admit. Looks and image count for a lot to most people, both in cars and in cameras, and what's wrong with that?

That`s an easy one. The most beautifull car of all time is a "Cinquecento".

http://www.fiat.co.uk/showroom/?id=10023

It is funny all this aesthetic stuff. How can we lose ourselves in "that photograph is whatever because composition, lighting and ethic development". Yet we do judge this stuff almost randomly, and telling our "guts" are saying this or that.

Bollocks [sorry].

Aesthetics are a very subtle and studied science. And goods, and their looks are mainly driven by marketing reasons. Aesthetics is, still, a function [within a product brief] a car has to fulfill.

All of the cars mentioned over those posts are bland. Bland as hell. Because for a car to success, it has to appeal to very many customers [or potential customers]. Left field players are left aside, unless they have a badge to support the hip.

That happens not only with cars. That happens with all the goods which are not considered basic goods [such as hifi systems, cars, computers, and so on]. All in all, goods we do not project ourselves into [or not consider them as an extension of ourselves]. Hence, target design and aesthetics.

Denon, Bimmer, Ford, Toyota, AEG, Bulthaup, Kenwood, Elac, Apple, B+W, B&O, and so many others have harmless design aesthetics. They are, mainly, bland [upps, slick-sleek as they say]. Acceptable for the most of the population. They are just "nice stuff for nice people".

Which is the main reason there still are the "tourist" photos: bad pictures which do appeal to the family [those where the church is too small, occupies the whole frame, and in front of it, there are those four pixels, unrecognizeable to anyone but the family, where auntie and uncle Smith are pictured]. Very bad photo for "connoseurs" and "posseurs", but outstanding remembrance for the ones who took it.

The other stuff I wanted to comment upon is the fact of judging a product by a photo. If there is something you CAN NOT tell by a picture is how a car looks in reality. As a matter of fact, compare both any Maybach to any RR. Surprisingly, the former is HIDEOUS but photogenic. The latter, "majestic" but definitely NOT photogenic.

Thing is: we all like bland, harmless, "nice" aesthetics. Common agreement.

PS:
The list.

Lincoln Continental 69
Citroen Desée
Fiat Multipla 1999
Hyundai Tiburon-Coupé FX
Nissan Denki-Cube
Fiat Tipo
Fiat Ritmo-Strada
Ford Focus I
Honda Ridgeline
Mazda RX8
Wills Santa-Claire [Willys] Jeep
Land Rover 90-110
Pininfarina Modulo [the only Pininfarina work worth of taking a look at].
Alfa Romeo Carabo

How about Ansel Adams woody wagon with the camera platform on top, make mine candy red LOL.

If your "living room car" is British, better put a drip pan under it or you'll be pulling up the carpet in no time.

Robert B.
Bugeye Sprite owner

I wouldn't put a car in my living room as an object d'art much in the same way that I'd never put a camera there as an object d'art.

Both, to me, are tools, things that have a specific and realistic task in our lives, and while we glamorize them (Olivetti Lettera 22 anyone?), I think that some people overlook the practical side of these things.

Am I being too utilitarian? I'm guilty of using an old Kodak Target as a bookstop (I promise I'll load it up with film and shoot with it as soon as I clean the lens!) and spending more than my fair share of time lusting over Hasselblads and Leicas. But still, if I had the money to buy cameras (or cars) just to look at them, I'd spend that money on some tri-x and a trip to Italy or somewhere fun, and take pictures.

I suppose it's all a matter of what you like to look at, and what you like to use. Looking at a car or a camera will never, to me, replace driving one or taking pictures.

Maserati 300S
Alfa 8C-2900
Bugatti 57SC
Ferrari 250 Lusso
I used to covet the Miura, until I drove one! I developed an early dislike for British cars after several friends owned XKE's and dealing with theirs and others Mucas electrics. In fairness however, my first Ferrari wasn't much better! Speaking of film clips, have you seen "Rendezvous" by Claude LeLoach? It shows a 275 GTB Ferrari racing through the streets of Paris early on a Sunday morning. Classic.

Volvo 122s.

Have you ever seen a more butt-ugly car in your life?

Not even a close contest on this one. The Pontiac Aztec easily takes the prize for the ugliest car or suv ever built. As the young lady in the commercial squealed to her boyfriend while playing in the back of the Aztec, "Get your hands off my pieces!". Fortunately even the kids knew when they were being sold a pig in a poke. No lipstick required.

Cisitalia 1100 coupé
Jaguar MkII Sedans
Jaguar D type, Le Mans model, 1955
Jaguar XKE, topless (the car)
Ferrari 250 GT
Ferrari 250 LM
Dino 246 Coupé
Porshe 356's
Bentley Continental GT 2003

Eudoro Lemos Jr, Rio de Janeiro

Yep - that's ugly ! It looks like Winston Churchill. So it's ugly like an old man; hard to knock it because it's supposed to be ugly. Earlier RR's and Bentley's have looked much better.

As a kid I always liked 70's Stingrays. And (pre-Ford) Jaguars did it for me. And the James Bond Aston-Martin.

Agree with others: the Aztec is pretty darned ugly. Early Honda Elements (and that similarly boxy Scion) and even my Honda Ridgeline are pretty ugly (though that Rolls has them beat).

For the living room ? Maybe one of these:
http://www.ifsja.org/ads/images/78pic-4.jpg

(Though I'd proably want my living room to be in a log cabin ... my house is 1979 vinyl sided, steel doored, asphalt shingle roofed and my Ford Focus would unfortunately be a good fit, style-wise !)

EmmJay mentions Lucas, and having spent some time with British machinery...

"Lord Lucas, Prince of Darkness".

Bron

I take great execption to this blog article. I have this auto on order and am completely confident that it will look stunning in my 4 card garage, in my 8,000 home with not even a twin bed in one of the 7 bedrooms. My children have to wear hand me down clothes and we have to eat pasta all month just to make the mortgage payment and this car payment. How can you post such a blog entry? I can't wait to get this auto so I can finally show the jones family next door who is the real man.

Signed,
Tom Doe.
Lehman Brothers

Cars? Blah! Metal boxes with four wheels.

Now *motorcycles* are another story. Give be a Brough Superior, Vincent Black Shadow or Ducati 998 (not the awful 999) any day.

(But I'll send you a copy of my "Auto Parts" photo book anyway, Mike!)

Mike, those were the days ....... I rather like the "relaxed" driving style, hands on the spokes, not the wheel.

Probably no surprise that Hawthorn died in a car crash in the end.

Should've read the entire initial message.
M favourite?
Anything that functions well, causes few headaches of a mechanical nature and looks
practical.
A 1965 Volvo PV544.

The Germans now own Rolls Royce cars, what you see is the result of german engineering aesthetic applied to a classic British icon. Not that some of the later British designed Rolls were very stylish either it must be said - at least this looks like its been done with utter conviction. A Rolls for people who's other car is a Mercedes.

I am tempted to make the comparison between a Spitfire and a Messerschmitt ME109 regarding the approach to industrial design.

Not in any order:

1. Porsche 917 (and nearly anything from the Can-Am racing era, except for maybe the tiny-wheeled Shadow).

2. A 32 Ford - and the rattier the better

3. '67 Camaro RS

4. BMW M5 (E34 series)

5. Ferrari 156 F1 (AKA "Sharknose")

6. And I know some hate it, but the Original Scion XB. There's something beautiful about its practicality. I love 'useful' utility (not the land yachts of today).

It's probably a "strange" kind of beauty, but surely the Lotus 33 and 49 have to be a couple of the most beautiful cars ever made?

Lotus 33:
http://lh6.ggpht.com/_V-BR-SUBoWY/SK9MhhhsTtI/AAAAAAAAQ0U/xkxrXhlYnHQ/Various202.jpg

Lotus 49:
http://www.ultimatecarpage.com/images/large/273/Lotus-49B-Cosworth_4.jpg

I'm with you Mike, I absolutely adore Jaguars. At the moment I drive a very average condition XJ6 which, being only 24 and poor, I paid very little for but it's still quieter, more comfortable and more relaxing than any modern car I've been in, and the XJ40 shape, whilst not classic Jaguar, is still quite beautiful. It's just a shame I'm paying the equivalent of over $7 a gallon in a car that does 20mpg!

P.S. I think the '59 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz is absolutely fantastic, though I'm not sure other people would call it beautiful?!

re: "No contest. 1954 Sunbeam Talbot Alpine. The car in To Catch a Thief."

You can have the car if I can have Ms Kelly. Personally, I'd have rather had her in my living room, or any room for that matter... than any car named so far...

Don't worry, I have favourite trees as well.

That really is a horrible Rolls Royce. I'm not much of a car fan. My favourite vehicle is a Scammel Super Contractor (sad isn't it?).

http://www.hankstruckpictures.com/pix/trucks/wes_kerney/scammell_super_constructor.jpg

Hi Mike,

You have to remember that RR is now owned by BMW, hence all British taste and design is going to become harder and harder to find!

As for cars in the living room, perhaps a chain drive Fraser Nash? I do have a friend with a 500 Manx Norton in his sitting room which adds a certain je ne sais quoi to the ambience (what do you mean I'm too old to pretend I'm charging down Bray Hill in the 1952 TT?)

Keep up the good work!

Ray

I'm not that good a driver, but still... the main thing that stands out to me in that picture is damn, that thing's leaning in the curve. Is that an aesthetic response? I think it is.

In terms of visuals, the thing that stands out to me is that RR seems to have tried to make their new car look as much like a cartoon as possible -- the undersized headlight eyes, the oversized turn signal eyebrows, the grill nose, and the horizontal lines under the bumper forming a mouth. Herbie goes upmarket!

The other thing those headlights remind me of is the tiny lens on a bad compact camera, with the turn signals forming the cheap crummy built-in flash.

Wow, you hit a chord with this post...
My sexiest car has to be the Weismann GT. From the front anyway...

I think you are making a mistake. This car is not meant to look beautiful. I'm not quite sure of how it is trying to look, but it's not beautiful.

Very expensive luxury cars have seldom looked beautiful, again because that is not what they are trying to achieve.

Lincoln Continental Mark IV gets my vote for favourite car.

This brings up my concept for taxation. I want to tax anyone who has bad taste. It's a steeply progressive tax rate that would essentially confiscate a person's wealth who has no taste. First, this would bring all the cash the government needs and wants. Second, no one so tasteless as to want such a car would have any money to buy such an ugly car. Thus, no ugly products would ever be produced as they would not sell. The world would be a better place.
I'm sorry but I don't trust any arm or party of the government to determine what is good taste. I will be appointed by the government to determine the level of taste. You, Mike, can assist me.

Mid-60's Jaguar XK-E. When I was in 9th grade my parents took us to Miami Beach at its zenith. We stayed at an inexpensive family motel somewhere on the strip. However, we went to visit a wealthy relative who lived in a penthouse apartment at the Fountainbleu Hotel. The Fountainbleu was the apex of opulence in those days. In the lobby I came across a yellow XK-E which was being raffled off for some charity. My first view of that car is still burned in my memory, as peak adolescent experiences often are. So sleek and sexy.

Bron says

"Lord Lucas, Prince of Darkness".

That is the phrase that came to mind every time I switched on the headlight of my Bonneville. The electrics and the daily deposit on my garage floor finally convinced me to buy Japanese. Such a pity.

Alfa Romeo Spider, 1979 or earlier. The later 80's models with their little rubber spoiler look silly, and the modern ones look like doorstops.

What happened to tail fins? Wake me up when they're back. THEN we'll talk about things.

Meanwhile: Design Elegance (not a car though) at http://www.37signals.com/svn/images/6a00e54f9f8f8c883400e54fd624578834-800wi-ace2ef66c48869f81e55ba48f2c086e5.jpg

And interesting in another century sort of way: "Subaru 360 : 1958"
at http://www.cartype.com/pages/3342/subaru_360__1958

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4, a lost love of youth.

y'all get silver medals. Gold to Loewy's 1953 Studebaker Commander:
http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z4326/Studebaker-Commander-Starliner.aspx

I'm not sure it holds up that well in pictures, but the Porsche 550 Spyder is the most beautiful car I've seen in real life.

http://wiesegutt.com/img/Porsche_550_Spyder.jpg

http://media.motortopia.com/files/cars/album_the_perfect_ten/4755f5e36b006/tn_full_Spyder550A_10x7jpg_Thumbnail1.jpg

As a side note, for Justin Watt...

Why would _anybody_ want a Dacia in the States? Or even wonder why it's not sold there? It's an ugly Romanian Renault spinoff. Look at it. Look at that ugly butt of Sedan and... Prestige.

http://www.renault-dacia-logan.com/

Dacia Logan, the car that time forgot.

Dacia Sandero is a bit better looking, but it's a copy of Seat Leon, which is in turn, a bland Spanish Volkswagen spinoff.

The most beautiful example of wretched excess.
http://www.fototime.com/243A21ABE298D46/orig.jpg
I'd need to get a bigger livingroom.
BD

Never thought much of British cars. Rolls and contemporary Bentleys have been consistently ugly for the last 30 years or so. Not suprising. Ever heard of British fashion or design? I am more for Italian machines, Alfas specially. But I would have no problem owning a Ferrari, a Maserati or a Lambo, other than finding the money to pay the bills. They--Alfa, as Ducati, etc.--know how to extract every ounce of power fromn its small engines. Not only that, they sound great and are fun to drive. Lotus are in the same category. Beautiful and "logic2. And my dream car for a drive would be the 917 Porsche. The original 911 is beautiful, unlike today's plasticky bulbous versions. More status symbols than sports cars.

Also like quirky, originial designs, like Citroens. As for Yanks, too big and bold for me. Only one I love is the Ford GT40 and its siblings. And from Japan, well, I can only think of the Datsun 240z, still a masterpiece.
I also admire the original Jeep or Land Rover, but they are in a different class.

I dislike the Beetle,old and new. They say the VW last forever, maybe, but what's the merit of building a heavy monster with a bug engine who delivers only ashmatic performance? And my pet hate is new cars--and motorcycles--that try to pass as old designs: Beetle, Triumphs, etc.

Some personal favorites:

Alfa Duetto, its been downhill since '67, IMHO.

Amilcar Pegase, perhaps the pinnacle of '30's art deco excess. I love it!
http://www.conceptcarz.com/vehicle/z11845/Amilcar-Pegase.aspx

Not a car, per se, but I like it:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/27047646@N00/2217474123/

Most of the American cars are uglier than that ;P

A day or two ago, you discussed the oil dependencies of the USA (and probably all the western like cultures).

And now you're dissing a car for looking ugly (I agree). But the ugliest aspect of this car is most likely its fuel consume.

For me it's more concerning that cars don't get lighter despite the usage of modern materials (not only RRs) and therefore still consume too much fuel.

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