Dean Owen

5 years ago · 2 min. reading time · visibility ~10 ·

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Automotive Design – Two Nations Standing Tall



So it's time to lose some friends here as we ponder which nations excel at automotive design.


Let's start in the land of baguettes and berets. Why is it that the French, with their Global reputation for excellence in design, from fashion runways to furniture, cannot for the sake of them produce a good looking car? OK there have been a handful, most notably the gorgeous Bugatti Type 57 which was in fact designed by Jean Bugatti, an Italian in French clothing. But we are not just talking top end. Granted there have been some that have perhaps attained iconic status – Renault 5 Turbo, Citroen 2CV, possibly the Peugeot 205 GTI, and the seriously bad Citroen DS and that awful hydraulic suspension. But none of these car designs would turn your legs to jello. Fast forward to the 21st Century and the French are still churning out ugly cars with plastic dashboards.



Bugatti Type 57


Let’s turn to Germany now and the land of Vorsprung durch Technik. Forget the fact that German cars are technically brilliant, masterpieces of engineering, and extremely well built. When was the last time Germany produced an icon? Again, you have to look to the mid to late 20th Century for cars like the original Beetle, the Golf GTI Mk1 Cabriolet, and the odd Porsche. Now before all you hair stylists start shouting, well what about the Merc 450 SL from the American Gigolo? Sorry folks, but that was Richard Gere, and he could make a SEAT Leon look good. I will give Germany credit for producing one car that surely qualifies as possibly the most beautiful car ever built, the Gullwing 300 SL Coupe from the 1950’s (Title picture).


To the Far East now, and the country that gave us the Datsun 240Z and the Toyota 2000GT (the Bond Car from You Only Live Twice). I dare say that the 2000GT was possibly even prettier than an E-Type Jag, but in total, only 351 were ever built so that does not count. And look at the rubbish they produce now! OK, the Honda NSX is an icon, the Nissan GTR the pinnacle of automotive technology, and the LFA, well that car is just insanely good. But pretty? Nah.



Toyota 2000GT


Do I dare mention the United States of America? Best to keep it brief. The US has always been about "in your face" muscle cars. Now taste is subjective, and I suspect that if you think Arnold Schwarzenegger or Chuck Norris are pretty, well then I could understand your infatuation with a ’67 Pontiac GTO or a ’68 Plymouth Road Runner Hemi. But if you ask the ladies whether they prefer a lift home in a Mustang Shelby GT350 or a Jaguar F-Type, unless they hail from Wisconsin, they will no doubt choose the Brit.


At the risk of losing all my followers, I am not even going to mention the land of beBee here. But cars perhaps, have never been a Spanish thing – drivers yes, but cars no.


Two countries have consistently been churning out pretty car after pretty car, year after year, decade after decade. They are of course, Italy and Great Britain. We could go through endless lists of simply drop dead gorgeous cars from Alfa Romeo to Aston Martin. OK granted, the famous DB5 “Bond” car was designed by Italian coachbuilders, but the Brits stand tall with their stiff upper lip Morgans, the spritely Austin Healey Sprite, the zippy Lotus Elise, the Sloany Land Rover’s, Bentley’s, Rolls Royce, Triumphs and MGs. Not to be outdone, the houses of Lancia, Alfa Romeo, Maserati, Lamborghini, Ferrari, and even Fiat, well there are literally hundreds of beautifully designed cars. And even in the people’s car category, the Fiat 500 and the original Mini stand tall.



Jaguar E Type


Is there a winner, well perhaps, and perhaps not. Both countries have been at the top of their game in terms of automotive design for almost 100 years. I love Italian cars, but I will have to give the edge to the British.

OK, so perhaps I am biased. Britain has gotten very little right since the end of the War. Music, but of course, and cars, most definitely. I can’t help feel a touch of National pride when I watch this clip of television history from the guys at Top Gear. It is the sort of clip that will make you seek out any drop of British heritage in your ancestry. So on that note, I present to you now, the Best of British.




Dean Owen is Co-Founder of Quimojo, a revolutionary new concept in Global Campus Recruitment.


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Comments

Dean Owen

5 years ago #11

#12
Thanks Mamen, yes the Romans bark a lot louder than they bite ! (they honk their horns at anything and everything). The roundabouts are a bit crazy, but same is true for roundabouts in every country.

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

5 years ago #10

#6
I'll tell you something curious about Rome. Once I was there for a week with my partner and we rented a motorbike. I thought it was a crazy idea at the beginning, but I promise the car drivers in Rome are much much respectful with motorbike than they are in Madrid, for example. It was a great experience, because when you are inside the traffic jam in Rome with a motorbike you have to be more careful with the pedestrian than with the cars... The pedestrians run over you!!! 😂

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

5 years ago #9

#6
I'll tell you something curious about Rome. Once I was there for a week with my partner and we rented a motorbike. I thought it was a crazy idea at the beginning, but I promise the car drivers in Rome are much much respectful with motorbike than they are in Madrid, for example. It was a great experience, because when you are inside the traffic jam in Rome with a motorbike you have to be more careful with the pedestrian than with the cars... The pedestrian run over you!!! 😂

Mamen 🐝 Delgado

5 years ago #8

Woww, love the pictures Dean Owen!! I enjoy so much driving... Nothing to say about Spaniards drivers! 😂

Dean Owen

5 years ago #7

#7
No kidding. I used to drive quite a lot from Marbella to Puerto Banus. At night that road was treacherous. But still in general the Spanish are not that bad when compared to the Shanghainese drivers.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #6

#5
Looking forward to hearing your stories from Rome!

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #5

#4
It zipped by so fast I barely got a picture... But overall, the Italians are masters of style and design... bureaucracy, well, that's another story.

Dean Owen

5 years ago #4

#2
Ohh yikes Kevin! What is that and who let it loose on the streets?

Dean Owen

5 years ago #3

#1
Relative newbies to the car scene, did not qualify. Good cars, and getting better each decade. But this post was not about good cars. The Germans and Japanese would lead the pack in that respect. But design, well that is another matter.

Kevin Pashuk

5 years ago #2

I would have to give the edge to Italy. (with the exception of the 'car' I saw driving around Florence https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10154284655838023&set=a.10150112073933023.324755.558023022&type=3&theater )

Pascal Derrien

5 years ago #1

I am driving a Korean car :-)

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