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Sunday, 20 January 2013


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Don't disagree with your choice, Mike, but I prefer . . .


It's like a car in black and white rather than a car in color.

You can pretty much say the exact same things about irony -- it's safe because it's never vulnerable.

Jaguar SS-100


Best part is that it is also available in a 1/32 scale model. Makes it much easier to smuggle it home plus leaves some money on the table to pay for the mortgage, food, and other essentials such as lenses.

I Find it quite hard to see beauty in automobiles made today although the Maserati is quite nice. Also the 2008 Maserati Quattroporte Sport GT S is as nice for those with kids. If you have 100 thousand or more to spend then you can find an attractive car, but for the rest of us everything has started to look the same. Gone are the days when one man would sit down with a pencil and piece of paper and design a car such as the Jaguar E-Type. The question is can a comity of designers, computers and board approval, really create a work of art?

Yes. Not hate, maybe, but I have met many people in my life who seem to define themselves by what they don't like, or what they don't do. Seems to me that the more things you can like or appreciate or enthuse about, the richer your life is. And I think your friend was right. It is easier to dismiss things.

This also brings t mind advice given to me about criticism of photos. (Or other stuff) - if you personally don't like it, put that to the back of your mind and try and see why someone else would like it.

Hi Mike,
They are making a new model now, which has a bit heavy black part under the nose [That's the "Sport" variant --Mike], but I agree, this is one of the best designs as of late. However, this car is positively big, as compared to most two seaters like Ferrari, Lamborghini or Aston Martin. I have not driven it, but there is a Maserati shop right at the corner of my street, and I hear these cars pass by everyday - and you know what ? The best part, is the engine sound, the most beautiful roar you can hear around, there's nothing else like this. Listen:

I'll look for the new Maserati at the local Ferrari/Maserati dealer. The bus stop closest to my darkroom is right outside the dealer, so I can truthfully tell people that I spent part of Saturday afternoon looking at Ferraris.

I tuned across a car auction on cable last night, where they auctioned of the first production model of the 2014 Corvette for a cool $1 million (the money went to charity), immediately after the first Batmobile went for $4.2 million.

+1 for "Senna," a great doco.

Mike: I am trying here, but I have got to say: I am "car blind." I look at the Chevy you wrote about a couple of days ago, and I look at the Maserati you wrote about in today's post and I just can't see the differences you have identified. I'm not saying those differences aren't there, I'm just saying that they don't signify to me. And hey, we drive a Subaru and a Volkswagen Passat -- these cars are getting on in years and our plan is to drive them until the wheels fall off (planning on taking my head out of the sand at 200,000 miles and looking around). I can tell that the Volkswagen is a more nicely finished car: the doors shut with precision, the cabin is quiet, the engine is powerful enough so that you have to pay attention not to do 80 on the highway (and this is the non-turbo model). With the Subaru, you can hear the hamsters straining under the hood after about 50 mph and with every additional 10K miles, a new rattle, hum or whistle asserts itself and demands to be made part of the new "normal," if you know what I mean. So I really like both cars, but I can tell the difference between a nicely finished car and a rattle-trap. However: _Aesthetically_ I look at the pictures of the red car and the blue car you posted and I just see two sleek looking cars. One is da bomb and the other is an exercise in "group think," design? I can't see it.

Now this is not the end of the world. Car appreciation is not a central feature of my life. I didn't grow up with one, none of my friends had one, I didn't learn to drive until I was 26 or so . . . so I realize that I am an outlier here.

But I would love to have some more meat on the bones of what the differences are: is it the fenders? The way the hood scallops over the chassis? The distance between the wheels and the fenders? How easy it is to imagine wings being attached? I realize that this is a little like a color blind person being asking for a difference between pink and fuscia. Help!

The Maserati's my favourite too, but I have to admit it looks better in the flesh - those pics don't do it justice.

OTOH Corvette designers intended that the public should like what they designed and buy it. I'm just sayin'.

I do agree with the premise that it is hard to be positively critical though. That's why so many image sharing sites gather a lot of "very nice", "that's great", "awesome" type comments and rarely if ever any real critical comment of a constructive nature.

I, too, like the Maserati, but the front end is unfortunately diminished once a license plate is put there. Less than half of US states allow just a rear plate, and some states ignore the requirement for two, but some don't. Yep, easy to nitpick.

I used to prefer the Aston DB9 to the Gran Turismo, but it has lost some of its elegance in recent iterations.

In my real world, utilitarian concerns are important; the ability to tote the bike inside, etc. I think the Audi A7 is the best looking currently available vehicle that would also meet my practical needs. And the front plate would offset some of that huge front grill, so that wouldn't be such bad thing!

Nice car, but whatever happened to Nell?

[ She got married and moved into a big Victorian house, last I heard. --Mike]

There's no accounting for taste—and this being the land of the Escalade, the Aztec and the mullet, no accounting for tastelessness either—but certain things fit your aesthetic hopes like a glove. For pure sculptural intelligence, grace, and an expressiveness you can feel in your bones of what the thing is supposed to do, the finest looking car I've seen recently is the Bentley Continental GT Speed.


I must have the brain of a teenager - I think that the Corvette is WAY better looking... :)

You're almost right, Mike. The correct answer is the Maserati Quattroporte, but they've just ruined it with a new model that looks like a Kia.

The only fault I can see with the look of this car is the 3 ports on the side. The rest of the car is an exercise in restraint, and that is a good thing.

From what I have observed, the more expensive an item is, generally the simpler the design is. It holds generally true for watches, clothing, door hardware (my field of employment), cameras (look how simple and elegant a classic Leica camera is) and other electronic devices among other things. Successful modern design, to me, is about creating something completely functional and elegant at the same time. Simplicity is at the heart of this idea. I think this Maserati comes much closer to accomplishing the goal than the new Corvette C7. I think the C6 Corvette was more successful than the new 'Vette too.

I don't know. This is just my humble opinion.

Nothing good will come from having a conversation about $300k cars... the best looking car for us mere mortals is The Subaru BRZ;-)


I am fully in agreement with your comments regarding the design of the new Corvette and the Maserati.

The Maserati is definitely one of the best looking cars available today. Another one is the Aston Martin Rapide, which while not quite as well done as the Maserati is a real four door. The reason I bring it up is that at about the same time it came out, Porsche also set out to produce a four door sports sedan with very similar specifications.

The problem is and was that the chairman at the time apparently tried to sit in the back of the first design, and being quite tall said that changes had to be made. The result is that the Porsche Panamera looks rather lumpy and ungainly at the back, to put it charitably.

In practice, the Porsche by all accounts works a lot better than the Aston Martin, especially with respect to rear seating room, so it's a good compromise if it's quite dark outside or you close your eyes as you approach the car before getting in. The Panamera outsells the Aston Martin about 25:1 in our area, of course in part due to the price difference. The ideal situation, I would think is to be driving or sitting in your Panamera and look out at an Aston Martin Rapide.

Fortunately Porsche has a new design in the works for the Panamera (Sport Turismo) which seems to be a lot more attractive attractive while being quite functional.

True. They're better looking in person than in pictures, too, and nice to drive.


yup, that maser is a handsome car. but many of its stable mates are not, especially the sedans. to my eye, they look like chrysler products with a lovely exhaust burble (something only the italians seem to do well).

have to agree with your take on the new stingray. it has potential as a good-looking car from certain views but overall isn't. it's a beast, too, which could be a good thing except too many boyracers will end up pranging the thing.

I hate cars.

I drive a covered wagon pulled by my two kids, both boys.

They hate me.

I also vote for the BRZ as affordable beauty. I'm sure its resemblance to the Maserati is not a coincidence...

"You mean like all BMWs now look like Pontiacs?"

Oh my God! You're right!

Are you well balanced if you like and dislike with equal fervor and proportion? I can't help but react to the aesthetics that surround our lives- utilitarian rules, ugly is abundant, well designed and pleasing, considerably rare.

I suppose automatically equating one's aesthetics with their morals or humanity is when it goes to far.

PS- I'll take a Porsche Cayman.

I'm with Glenn Gordon on the Bentley being an exceptional design. I also very much like the Aston Martins. The interesting thing about these two brands is that they are very good designs that fit elegantly into current fashion, without being immediately dated. That is, unless you already know what the Bentley's or Aston Martin's look like, you may not recognize one on the street. The Bentley's even more so since Chrysler copied the design of the 300 (or is it the other way around?) on the Bentley. The Aston's in particular are very conservatively placed in the car styles of the day. See for example the AM's from the late 70's to late 80's and early 90's. It could hide in a car lot of American muscle cars of the same generation.

Another plus in my mind for the Bentley is that it is pretty quiet. The Ferrari's can be heard at about the same range as the police car sirens chasing it, but the Bentley very discreetly goes about its business (potentially at ludicrous speed!). In their current incarnation, however, they have a polished metal (stainless steel or aluminum?) stripe running along the bottom of the door. I don't recall seeing it in previous versions and I find it distracting from the simpleness of the rest of the design. The shape of the bulge above the rear wheels, the elliptical rear lights and the middle brake light tracing the bottom of the rear window are absolutely perfect and represent a standard of style to the rest of the automotive world.



Well, hell, after your lecture on negativism, it's hard to be negative, but I gotta say, I like the 'vette better than the Maserati. Living in LA, I see exotic cars all the time. When a Maserati goes by, I tend to think, "eh." It has nice lines, I guess, but not a lot of presence.

Chris Bangles, the former BMW designer, took a lot of heat a decade ago for his 7-series designs, but it eventually became the best-selling 7-Series ever. His cars didn't look sleek, but they looked tough, and they had that presence; they were like a guy in a tuxedo who has a broken nose. You paid attention.

My feeling about the Maserati is that it looks good in some photographs, but not so good on the ground. (And not so good in some photos. Look at these from Car and Driver: http://www.caranddriver.com/reviews/2013-maserati-granturismo-sport-coupe-convertible-first-drive-review-a-newfound-soundtrack-page-2 )


you might have been able to actually afford the Opel GT from the late 60's...


Good article & a reasonable choice, though I have a personal weakness for Lotus: http://friendak.com/1112/Lotus-Elise_SC_Clark_Type_25_2008_1600x1200_wallpaper.jpg Ah, if only ... ;)

But I was more interested in the comments on positive criticism. It's a very difficult thing to do and is why I remain a poor editor of even my own work much less that of others. Thank you for the thoughts on that point.

I agree with Richard, I like the GT but I take the Quattroporte. It looks good and sounds fantastic.

I also agree with Nell, it's too easy to snipe and protect yourself behing a wall of cynicism. I try not to say much if it's only negative, the exceptions being Films, Music, Cars and Photography - there I'm happy to be opinionated as none of them should be taken too seriously while still occupying vast amounts of time and money.

This sort of reminds me of the classic PJ ethical debate - in a crisis (car crash, bombing etc.) do you take the shots or pitch in and help? Or shoot and then then help?

It might look good in black.

I think a number of Aston Martins are the best in all departments including using their own engines. The have managed to keep their look and lineage IMHO

It's funny how this stuff works. I did not see a face in the photo with the glasses the other day, no matter how hard I tried (though I did understand how it could suggest one to somebody). But I can't help seeing faces on most cars, including this Maserati--a very cartoonish shark face, with cartoon asian angry eyes. At least it has baleen rather than teeth.

Pay no attention. I also think cars strongly resemble shoes.

When I was young, what I considered the prettiest cars had this general shape (XKE, 240Z, Ford GT, etc.), but these days I think the Mini Cooper is the prettiest car on the road, as it has been for many years. It may be that in cars I value quick and nimble over raw speed, and the mini looks well-designed for the former, while the maserati looks well-designed for the latter. Or maybe I prefer boxes to soaps. Who knows?

But Nell's opinion of negative criticism? Brilliant!

What a great line, that being critical-negative is being "safe". Thank you for that.
As for cars, I love the shape of pickup-truscks; but the other day I was thinking the Toyota Rav4 has all the lines and proportions right. Not just because I own one.

Hi Mike,

Never been into "muscle cars" myself. My dream car is a Mazda MX-5 (Miata in the States). I think they look wonderful and everyone I see driving one is smiling. Unfortunately, I have 2 large teenage sons still at home so at the moment I am driving a big Toyota SUV : a world away handling-wise from the MX-5.

Cheers Kevin

With all due respect, I think the Maserati looks a bit like a Nissan. A little on the plain side as opposed to understated, but more importantly I think the lines are a bit elongated specifically the front end. This is all my opinion, of course, but my vote for the perfect balance of beauty,styling and attitude is the Bentley Continental. This is a beautiful, sexy car to my eyes.


Evo magazine's Harry Metcalfe, shows us round his Maserati GranTurismo S 4.7 MC-Shift.


My aspirational daily driver is the current Audi A3 hatch for its "boxy" exterior and roomy interior. The A3 is designed with restraint inside and out. I don't like "fluidic" body lines, "spidery" headlamps, and hard plastic interiors.

What I have is this. It sports a bespoke steel bumper I designed myself. I've relegated it to provincial duty since gasoline prices have almost tripled in the 14 years I've owned it.

[Sarge, I agree, I like virtually all versions of the Golf, and would probably own one except that I hate those asinine wheels on the GTI. My dream car would be the Golf R rather than the A3, but in the end I couldn't swing the $35k; my RAV4 cost considerably less. --Mike]

I won't diss your choice - it's a good one. My pick is the Alfa Romeo 8C coupe. Another recent beauty, no longer available new, is the Ford GT (not a Mustang; the one based on the old GT40).

Even more beautiful in the metal, and the sound.....oh the sound.

I don't know, or care, much about cars today. But that Maserati sure looks terrific (apparently) in the Milwaukee Art Museum, doesn't it?

How's that for a positive observation?

[That's what I thought too Ken, then I thought maybe it is another building by Calatrava, one in Europe? He probably uses the same motifs across buildings--? It would be interesting to know. --Mike]

The Aston is a very attractive and tasteful car as you say. Just Wikipedia to see the obvious about the Corvette, that it's an update on the 1963 Stingray Coupe, which is why they named it so. Like it or not.

My father, who spent his working life in the education field, said that it is easy to see what a student is doing wrong, but much harder to see what they are doing right. And, that it is far more useful to see and reinforce what they are doing right.
You could extrapolate to suggest that in the field of photography, recognising what an artist has done well benefits both the photographer and the critic.

Nice car and two thumbs up on Senna. It was a black day, that day in Imola.

Maserati......yeps, my next door neighbour owned one......always a silent look off envy when I stepped into my Audi.

Ah BTW, can someone tell the USA Masa boys to check up on their compositing :-).

Greets, Ed.

Generally I regard cars as transportation: "tin boxes on four wheels".

The ultimate form of transportation is the humble bicycle. The mechanical advantage it provides the hu-per-thing (I'm not going to fall into the trap of being speciesistic, oh no) was discussed in a Scientific American article in 1972 or '73.

However, after gaining my license to drive a motor vehicle in my late 20's, two of the three vehicles I've owned are worth mentioning for their excellent design.

(a) the Peugeot 205 GTI, great fun to drive; and

(b) the Citroën C3 (first series sensodrive), a delight to drive, comfortable, and very stylish -- my current wheels.

The Subaru BRZ / Scion FRS have a similar sense of proportion and are remarkably restrained considering the market they are aimed at so... I can not hope to afford the Maserati but a Subaru... maybe.

I admit to having less than worldly taste. Personally I thought the Corvette looked pretty nice.

I rather like the looks of the VL Destino, based on but restyled in all the important ways from the Fisker Karma. It will use the 'vette's drivetrain, which should make it interesting. It's a sedan, though.

As gorgeous as Maseratis are, they don't seem to stand out in a crowd. Maybe because of the restraint Mike is talking about. I see 'em quite frequently at the dealer I bought my BMW Z4 from, who are also the local dealers for Maserati/Ferrari, and when you have a crowd that consists of Maseratis and Ferraris, it's the Ferraris that whup you upside the head with their looks while the Maseratis sort of recede into the distance.

But, when I win the lottery I'm going to buy a Maserati. :-)

I second Softie. Always liked the Lotus 7 and the 66 E type Jaguar. At least with the Caterham you can still get a new Lotus 7 clone.

And boy, the new Bimmers do look like a bad design day at Buick...

I completely disagree. The most beautiful car in the last 30 years has to be the Maserati Quattroporte. Its confident, elegant, and doesn't apologize for being a sedan. It's really the only car on the road that doesn't look like it's trying to be something it's not.

As a lifelong racing fan, it's sad a four door should take the honor, but these are the times we live in.

The Maserati is nice, but it doesn't compare to this:


This is a 1962 Ferrari GTO with competition history; this specific car was run by the factory at Le Mans in 1962, and is worth $20,000.000. Very likely the finest factory GTO in existence. it's now run as a street car, hence the license plate. Photographed at the shop my buddy Brian works at in Berkeley, CA, which services vintage Ferraris (you can see Brian working in the background working on a friend's Honda Blackbird).

I've been a Maserati fan since the original Ghibli (still one of the most beautiful cars ever made), but am a bit disappointed in the current GT. It's designed around the current Quattroporte platform, and it shows. The proportions aren't quite right -- too long in the midsection, the curves over the wheel wells are too short, the cabin too small, and the nose more aggressive than I like. Not to say it's plug ugly. It's almost beautiful (and I'd certainly take one if offered), but I'd love to massage the lines here and there to make it a little more elegant and a little less testosterone-laden. In other words, a little less Corvette-like?

I cannot possibly afford a Maserati, but a few years ago I dressed up nicely, went to a dealer and cadged a test drive in a Quattroporte. I was given permission to let it rip, and I did. Hell of a fine car, that one.

Dear Mike,

I'm on a page close to Nell's. There's no doubt that unrelenting criticism (assuming it's not driven by a raging clinical depression, which is usually pretty obvious) is a defense mechanism to protect the perpetrator. But, my problem with it isn't that it's safe, it's that it's MEAN. The unrelenting cynic is making me and anyone else within earshot pay for their psychological safety. My response? "Sorry, buddy, but no-- I can sympathize and empathize with your need for security, but it's not my job to bear the cost. See a therapist, and figure out another way to make yourself feel safe. Don't demand it be my burden."

pax / Ctein
-- Ctein's Online Gallery http://ctein.com
-- Digital Restorations http://photo-repair.com

Are we buying the aesthetics, or are we buying the brand?
Mainly for the Kia comment.
Corean design has come leap and bounds, and I do think we do not really understand the raison d´etre of that kind of aesthetics.

Hi mike,
The very last interesting design around was the 1st generation Ford Focus, wether we liked it or not.

every three generations Ford comes around with a major turn around for the industry [it is a capability they have, but very difficult to sustain].

My soft spot for a good looking car is the much maligned BMW Z4, first generation (E85). The new models are fine, but they lost that edge of the previous ones that were so fantastic.

I quite like the Maserati, although I find that it is a little too long somewhere, probably due to the four seats, and find the new Corvette to be on the far side of good taste, with way too much bling, but my favorite modern car is the Aston Martin DB9. The first time I saw one several years ago I just glanced past it without noticing it at first, but when my eyes finally rested on it, I froze in my tracks and just stared. That car is just perfectly proportioned, subtle but stunning. Too bad that recent modifications have ruined the subtlety of the lines a bit.

Unfortunately, it is one of those cars which just doesn't photograph anywhere near as well as it looks in real life, but here are a couple of photos which comes close:



But of course, the three most beautiful cars ever are the Jaguar E-Type Coupe (early model), Aston Martin DB5, and Mercedes SL300 Gullwing (silver with dark red seats).




I came to the same conclusion about being critical or being 'against' when I was at university. I wondered what some of the people I knew would do when everything was alright with the world - when there was nothing against which to be perpetually against.

The other pole is equally seductive and one I have had a long struggle with which to make headway. What I think about it is encapsulated in this quote from Isaiah Berlin's 1957 Herbert Samuel lecture on Chaim Weizman, in which Berlin said:

“Weizman had all his life believed that when great public issues are joined one must above all take sides; whatever one did, one must not remain neutral or uncommitted, one must always - as an absolute duty - identify oneself with some living force in the world, and take part in the world’s affairs with all the risk of blame and misrepresentation and misunderstanding of one’s motives and character which this almost invariably entails.

Consequently .. he (Weizman) called for no compromise, and denounced those who did. He regarded with contempt the withdrawal from life on the part of those to whom their personal integrity, or peace of mind, or purity of ideal, mattered more than the work upon which they are engaged and to which they were engaged and to which they were committed, the artistic, or scientific, or social, or political, or purely personal enterprises in which all men are willy-nilly involved.

He did not condone the abandonment of ultimate principles before the claims of expediency or of anything else; but political monasticism - a search for some private cave of Adullam to avoid being disappointed or tarnished, the taking up of consciously utopian or politically impossible positions, in order to remain true to some inner voice, or some unbreakable principle too pure for the wicked public world - that seemed to him a mixture of weakness and self-conceit, foolish and despicable.”

I don't think there was such 'grumpiness' in the Corvette criticism. It's not a very cohesive design. If I were holding high expectations about this car before its launch, I'd have felt mildly disappointed too.
The Maserati, on the other hand, is a beautiful car, but be aware that it looks far more aggressive when seen in the flesh, the grille riding so close to the floor that it seems to be about to devour the asphalt. It's a car that looks fast even if it's parked.
Whenever the Maserati name is cited, the car that impressed me the most when I was a boy comes to mind. It was not actually a Maserati, but it had a Maserati V6 engine: the outlandish Citroën SM. ('SM' stands for 'Sa Majesté'.) I understand the version sold in the USA was less than impressive due to the imposition of uncovered headlights, which may help to explain why the car wasn't so popular, but the european version still turns heads. After more than 40 years it still looks like a futuristic prototype!
You can see it here: http://www.autozine.org/Archive/Citroen/classic/SM.html

Nell Leclair was (is still, I hope) very wise - constant criticism is safe. Not only do you not have to take a position, but you focus attention on the thing you're criticising and its qualities, and away from yourself.

Oh, and while Maserati has been my favourite marque for many years, I would have to say that the most perfect embodiment of car design was the E-Type Jaguar - the original, with recessed lights and a soft top.


Mike, with respect, I think your ex-girlfriend is wrong way way wrong. Although, I would have to qualify that by saying she is wrong or right depending upon the culture/country in which one lives.

Here in England being critical is way way way harder. The English, have a trait, that personally I despise, of being ever so nice. For example, a good few of our national football team managers have been chosen, not primarily on their ability, but rather, on how nice they are (the obvious result being, well obvious to me anyway, that they were pretty useless at the job). We have the X-Factor show, where it seems that the x-factor most needed is being "nice", never mind the fact that the "nice" contestant may never be able to go on to have a long and successful music career (due to lack of talent).

Being nice is easy peasy. You say something nice, and folks smile or nod in agreement, or being English, they just say nothing to be erm .......... nice.

If on the other hand, you slag something off then you are deemed persona non-grata and very often you get challenged as to why you are dissing this that or the other. Express your liking for something and you very rarely get challenged as to why it is you like that thing.

Take your choice of car. It so happens that I 100% agree with you about what you say about the Maserati GranTurismo, which is easy for me to do because it so happens that it's my favourite car (I regard it as sex on wheels and when I first saw it I literally froze with my mouth wide open). Had you slagged it off, no doubt this post of mine would have been a lot longer, challenging all your criticisms about my baby. :o)

So to my mind, it's the citics, the ones who raise their heads above the parapet, who have it hard and the ever so nice folks who are always full of praise who have it easy.

Warmest regards,

I agree with the love for the Subaru BRZ/Toyota 86 (or whate'er it be labeled in your cervical column of the forest.)

It's not a fast car. It's not a powerful car. It's now full of hand-stitched kidskin and a sound system tuned to the cabin by the people who normally design opera houses.

It's designed - in the minds of those who designed it - to be the best it can be for what it is. There's something noble in that.

So many beautiful cars ! The only problem, for me is that with the money they cost I would t buy at least an apartment !

Mike, I agree with your girlfriend, but only up to a point.

Praise is no substitute for honesty. To praise a person uncritically is just as "safe" and dishonest as constant criticism.

But I agree with you too. Aesthetics is a form of display, it has no useful function and it's a fait accompli. No amount of criticism or praise will change it but it begs for you approval.

So, on to cars.....

For me, the Maser has a dramatic if somewhat mouthy face, but a dainty and rather ordinary rear. The way the rear deck drops down after the rear arches spoils the line and the rear light clusters could be straight off a Ford. The front end is all Italian Stallion but the rear end is more Prima Ballerina.

There, I feel a lot better now. So what do I offer in response? Since we are talking now about aesthetics and nothing else, I offer you the Alfa 8C, the spiritual successor to the E-type. No gratuitous vents, spoilers or skirts, just an automotive centrefold...


You remind me of Anton Ego, the food critic in "Ratatouille"
I think you'll like it

That certainly is a nice car if tasteful restraint is your thing. But not everyone wants tasteful restraint - or to be mistaken for a Buick. Personally, I'd prefer the Alfa Romeo 4c, particularly in the matte red finish:

The car manages to honor the past without mimicking it, and is at once familiar and progressive. If the planned Mazda/Alfa Romeo roadster has half of this car's good looks, I'll be happy.

Actually, I think that motorcycles are more in line with cameras in terms of design gestalt, as they are both objects that are highly functional and with little room for superfluous adornment. Even if you don't ride, you should take a look at the latest from the likes of Ducati, Moto Guzzi, Aprilia, etc...

I think critics of Nell's opinion are missing the part that says "criticizing EVERYTHING." It's ok to be critical of things, just not everything. Being positive has many rewards including less depression. My wife has been trying to get me to read a book called "Buddha's Brain" which relays the science behind meditation and positive thinking. According to the studies the book cites, you can create more nerve fibers in areas of the brain associated with happiness just by thinking happy thoughts! More of those nerve fibers leads to more happy thoughts and nerve fibers diminishing in the negative areas of your brain due to less use. As someone who suffers from depression, it is very difficult to change numerous years of pessimism but I was amazed to see there is actually scientific proof behind positive thinking. Now I just need to find time to read the book and practice the meditations and methods.

My favorite quote on positive thinking came from the Dalai Lama. When asked if he was angry at the Chinese for taking his land and rights, the Dalai Lama replied, "Why should I give them my mind as well?"

Hi Mike,
I so liked the story about your friends' comments about criticism, that I copied it to my desktop. To look at and be mindful of, – words of wisdom.

I've been trying to be more positive. When my wife and I moved to Minnesota from Oregon a long time ago, we often joked about "Minnesota Nice" being some kind of weird, cultish, always-be-positive, no-sarcasm-allowed social pressure, often abused by supervisors. Now in our later forties (back West) we have a fifteen year old daughter who is acutely sensitive to criticism and overly negative comments (not just about her, but about things in general) so I've been trying to train myself. It's not easy! What seems like a light joke to me can come across as seriously negative to others. And of course some of my favorite funny people are negative, and they make me happy, so I'm a little torn.

Something positive about a car? We love our Prius, even though it's kind of ugly. My favorite car of all time was a faded yellow 1973 Toyota Corolla with a rebuilt engine that ran like butter. This was in 1983, in high school. Favorite fast car I've been in? Has to be our brand new 1971 family car, an AMC Javelin. As a kid I had no idea it was considered the ugliest muscle car. I only thought it looked fast and futuristic and felt great on the highway.

I have admired all the cars listed in this discussion, but I do not think beauty has necessarily to be sinuous and aggressive. I think beauty can also be puffy and mousy as the glorious Fiat 500L. L like "lusso", luxury.


[I have to agree, Marco, that's a very coherent design. --Mike]

There's a saying among motorcycle enthusiasts... The Japanese race bikes to sell them, the Italians sell bikes to race them. Maybe there's a parallel somewhere in there about the US and Italian auto market.

Mike that is a nice looking car. I have always had a love affair with cars that continues to this day 65 years later. My complaint is all the cars now look the same i.e. the design engineers all went to the same college or school. I think I lived through the golden age of cars, folks now seem to like the 21st century look. The only car I still whine about selling was a 66 corvette fastback.

My choice:

Synchronicity. I ran across a great quote of Mother Theresa's last week, and it is the new Guiding Light of my life. When asked about some war/conflict going on at the time, she replied, "I'm not against war; I'm for peace." This quote was in a book that was discussing positive thinking. The idea is that if you focus your energies on what you are For and don't waste energy on what you are Against, you will be happier, you will be more productive, and you will make a much bigger impact on the world around you. Being Against lets you whine all you want. But being For sublty invites you to do something and even gives you the positive inclination to do it. You, Mike, are For beautiful cars and photography's many qualities. Thanks for both.

"... graceful proportions, and restraint."

I wonder how you can say that about a car whose looks are so openly aggressive. Look at the gaping "mouth" and inward-slanted "eyes". That's not restraint, it's atavistic rage, meant to appeal to your lowest instincts.

I have high hopes for the Mazda and Alfa Romeo collaboration on their new roadster. Alfa styling on a proven roadster (which doesn't look bad already!)

The Alfa Romeo Brera looked stunning while it was on sale, especially with the 19 inch alloys on the S version (UK specific), which I am saving the pennies to buy in the near future...

Interesting. I too thought the top picture was a BRZ.
Maybe it's the color.

I just didn't pay much attention to this when you posted and now, coming back here from the Ctein column, I just noticed your link to the Senna movie. I don't think the link is entirely related to the post, but what a movie. I shed tears watching it last year. The first son of my brother is named Ayrton, we were in high school when Senna jumped from Lotus to McLaren.

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