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.
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.
I don’t have much time. · I will not hide. · Thi ...
You have no groups that fit your search