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September 15th, 2003, 12:02 AM
I don't even know how to drive, so this clearly belongs to the realm of fantasy. And I believe most New Yorkers don't own cars, but assume this forum appreciates fine design. If you have one, post your little motorized dream here. Mine:



The Vision CLS: a hybrid (coupe-sedan) currently introduced to the public in Frankfurt.

September 15th, 2003, 01:29 PM


My only inconsistency as a Manhattan resident - I love cars.

TLOZ Link5
September 15th, 2003, 06:07 PM

O Lord, won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?
My friends all drive Porsches; I must make amends!
Worked hard all my lifetime, no help from my friends.
O Lord! Won't you buy me a Mercedes-Benz?

September 16th, 2003, 04:15 PM
Anyone who lives without wheels in a real city has at one time wished to just hop in a car, conveniently parked at the curb, and pick up his date. In the Eighty-eight.

Or maybe in the Smart Car.


The cute and now-fashionable Smart car is made by a division of Mercedes for the growing city-car market in big European cities. People pay more for one of these than for a Hyundai or Renault with four proper seats and four cylinders. They do this not just to save on fuel but because almost all parking in real cities is curbside, and they all know the frustration of having a car that is just a tad too big to squeeze into that alluring spot right beside their destination.


Most cars were always minuscule in Italy with its medieval streets, but for a decade or two the average auto has been shrinking in both Paris and London. This market is what kept the original Mini (10’-0”, 4 seats) alive till last year, and this market has now been taken over by the two-foot-shorter Smart. After a slow start occasioned by skepticism, it now sells briskly. At Daimler/Chrysler there is sporadic talk of US import. In the “European” cities of America it might make good sense.

The genius of the Smart is that though it is exactly one half the length of a Chevy Malibu, it drives pretty much like any other car. I have driven one myself; it was comfortable, even luxurious with its peppy engine, automatic transmission, air conditioning, supportive bucket seats, quiet interior and great stereo. The Mercedes tuner, Brabus, even offers a tweaked performance version that is a true pocket rocket. But this car is so short that you can park it nose-in to the curb.

Extremely small cars have been around for a very long time, but in the past they always came with a heavy penalty in drivability and comfort. The last time two-passenger versions sold in large quantities was during and after the gasoline panic occasioned by the Suez Canal Crisis of 1956. At that time, BMW was on the scene with the brisk-selling Isetta, which also functioned as a starter car for the nascent European trend towards universal car ownership. Unlike the Smart, this car was a primitive death-trap:

http://ablarchitecture.com/images/tom/city-cars/05.jpg http://ablarchitecture.com/images/tom/city-cars/06.jpg

Other microcars had four (very cramped) seats, like this BMW 600:

http://ablarchitecture.com/images/tom/city-cars/21.jpg http://ablarchitecture.com/images/tom/city-cars/73.jpg

The two-passenger urban runabout format has been around for an awfully long time. In the US, the American Austin, American Bantam and Crosley companies attempted to storm the city-car market in the Depression years. The War and widespread parking lots put an end to potential demand for this product.



If you think about it you can see that these cars with modern running gear such as you find in the Smart car would make a very attractive little package as a modern retro-car. It was not the packaging that made these cars fail in the marketplace but the technology. That has now been aced. Wouldn’t you just love to have one of these little beauties waiting for you at the curb, with a decent modern complement of creature comforts built in, and a zippy powertrain?

http://ablarchitecture.com/images/tom/city-cars/43.gif http://ablarchitecture.com/images/tom/city-cars/44.gif

Austin, Bontam and Crosley cars also came in other body styles for urban use, including delivery and pickup:


http://ablarchitecture.com/images/tom/city-cars/78.jpg http://ablarchitecture.com/images/tom/city-cars/79.jpg

Japan’s government formally recognized the city-car category by establishing specifications and extending privileges to these cars. Length was limited to 319.5 centimeters, and privileges included overnight parking on Tokyo’s congested streets, and designated parking spaces. Some of these cars found their way to the US, including the first Subaru sold on these shores, and an early raft of Hondas that might seem familiar:






Here is a fantasy: you walk up to a waiting Smart car in a designated micro-parking space at the sidewalk, and you insert your electronically-coded microcar-renters subscription card into a slot in the door. The door opens, you take your seat and insert your card into a dashboard slot, your valid drivers license into another, and your thumb into the computerized thumbprint identifier. You can now push the starter button and drive off. Taking possession of the car has caused your account to be charged $10. This will provide you with a car for one hour or until you log out at a higher price, which activates the “available” indicator for the next user. Cars can be left or found all over town.

The taxi industry will hate it.


An alternative conveyance for two passengers (and maybe an alternative dream car):


September 16th, 2003, 04:43 PM
I don't even know how to drive, so this clearly belongs to the realm of fantasy. And I believe most New Yorkers don't own cars, but think this forum appreciates fine design.
Only 36% of New Yorkers own cars. Well the last time I heard.

September 16th, 2003, 05:20 PM
http://www.autohjelpen.dk/dodge-charger.jpgThe revived Dodge Charger is one of my personal favorites.

http://www.edmunds.com/pictures/247185.jpg The new BMW 5. :o I really like the sleek design of this car.

September 16th, 2003, 09:19 PM
If you think about it you can see that these cars with modern running gear such as you find in the Smart car would make a very attractive little package as a modern retro-car. It was not the packaging that made these cars fail in the marketplace but the technology. That has now been aced. Wouldn’t you just love to have one of these little beauties waiting for you at the curb, with a decent modern complement of creature comforts built in, and a zippy powertrain?
I dislike retro design very much, which is why I hope the Smart will replace the Mini in the niche American market. The concept car was called the Swatchmobile, because Swatch was behind it and formed a partnership with Mercedes. Swatch later withdrew from the project. The Smart started its career in Europe as an advertisement device, which is how it survived the initial skepticism (its originality was exploited). It is now a common sight.

Your idea is interesting and expands this topic's scope to include the political. Small cars are still a nuisance to the pedestrian however, and I wouldn't consider one as an alternative to the freedom of walking and using mass transit. I would buy a car to escape from the city once in a while if I were loaded.

Zippy, your choice is spectacular. Too garish and sporty for me though - I prefer luxurious living rooms on wheels. I would choose the burgundy in the pictures I showed, with a black interior. I always thought a Benz should be black, but this color contrast is so flamboyantly sexy and suits the model perfectly.

September 16th, 2003, 09:58 PM
Well, we are talking fantasy cars. Even if I could afford one, buying it would be followed immediately by divorce and homelessness.

If I lived in the suburbs, I would buy one. The house would look like crap, the kids would be dressed in rags - but if I have to drive to get milk, it's gonna be in a Ferrari dammit!

I have been lucky to drive a few - it's better than sex. :mrgreen:

September 16th, 2003, 10:49 PM
Nothing's better than sex, which makes life rather democratic after all.

September 18th, 2003, 01:36 PM
http://www.isize.com/carsensor/CSphoto/ca/fex/image_grade/BM_300_2_1_front.JPG http://www.isize.com/carsensor/CSphoto/ca/fex/image_grade/BM_300_2_1_rear.JPG http://www.isize.com/carsensor/CSphoto/ca/fex/image_grade/BM_300_2_1_inpane.JPG http://www.posternow.com/j/j2362.jpg

The BMW Z8 has the absolute latest in intercepts, surveillance and counter measures. Fitted with Titanium plating and armor, a multitasking head-up display, and six beverage cup holders, the Z8 truly is a secret agents' dream vehicle.*
The Z8 also boasts a maneuverable ground-to-air missile launching pad, and a needle thin "sonic" laser beam which allows 007 to listen in on conversations taking place in buildings in the vicinity of the car. As usual, rockets are fitted behind the headlamps. What's more, the car can be driven by a remote handset, and it is even able to drive itself to the handset by using sensors built into the car.* :wink:

Freedom Tower
September 18th, 2003, 08:53 PM
Nothing's better than sex, which makes life rather democratic after all.

You must've known I'd reply to this one. I want to know what sex has to do with being democratic. I really am lost as to what you mean.

And while we're on the topic: I'd love to have a Dodge Viper. I doubt I'll ever be able to afford one though :cry:. A link since I can find no site to host my pictures: http://www.dodge.com/viper/index.html?context=homepage&type=top

September 18th, 2003, 09:10 PM
Believe it or not, I don't have you in mind when writing each of my posts and I credited you with a minimum of wit.

September 18th, 2003, 10:34 PM
I want to know what sex has to do with being democratic.
Words have multiple meanings.

Democratic: relating to social equality.

More people have sex than own Ferraris.

If nothing is better than sex...can you take it from there?

March 20th, 2004, 01:58 AM
March 19, 2004


Get Smart: Buyers Try to Jump the Queue


CURB APPEAL The 61-horsepower, three-cylinder Smart car, center, popular in Europe, will soon be sold in the United States. But some Americans don't want to wait for the officially imported versions.

MOST automotive fantasies involve a lot of horsepower, preferably wrapped in sheet metal hammered to shape in a small town in Italy. But the car that Joan Hurley of Baltimore daydreams of owning one day is a diminutive two-seater with a three-cylinder engine and just 61 horsepower. It also gets 60 miles a gallon.

"It's sort of a romantic notion," she acknowledged of her infatuation with the Smart City-Coupe, which she first saw while on vacation in Spain.

As a romantic icon, the Smart car is more Woody Allen than Humphrey Bogart. Its beguiling appearance exudes a Jetsonesque quality that would be at home in a supporting role in "Sleeper." The two-seater, also marketed as the ForTwo, is short enough to park on congested city streets with its bumper to the curb. End-to-end, two could share a single metered parking space.

But for a few hard-core American enthusiasts, the Smart has become the automotive equivalent of a Cuban cigar, gaining cachet partially because it is hard to get. The eco-friendly commuter car is one of the trendiest fashion statements on European roadways today, and is on sale in 30 countries, including Mexico. But though its maker, DaimlerChrysler, plans to begin selling a version in the United States in 2005 through its Mercedes dealerships, so far, like good Cohiba Coronas, Smarts are unavailable on these shores — legally, anyway.

That may soon change. In January, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration agreed that two would-be Smart importers could bring in the cars because they had shown they were capable of making Smarts meet United States safety standards. "It's a magnificent car," says Jonathan Weisheit, president of J. K. Technologies in Baltimore, one of the companies planning to sell Smarts in the United States. And while he only envisions selling 1,000 or so of the cars annually, George Gemayel, president of G & K Automotive Conversion in Santa Ana, Calif., said he might be able to sell as many as 15,000 Smarts a year at $18,000 to $20,000 each.

The importers will buy their cars from dealers in Europe or Canada (Smarts are scheduled to go on sale there in September) and then sell them on what is, essentially, the gray market. (They will also have to service them because DaimlerChrysler said it would not take responsibility for cars it hadn't imported.) Technically, conversion companies become manufacturers, assuming the responsibility for making any modifications necessary to meet American safety and emission standards. While European standards are similar, the differences that exist make it an expensive and time-consuming process for those hoping to bring in just a few cars.

That's what John Bristol of Dallas said he discovered when he looked into importing several Smarts with the intention of driving one and selling the others. "I looked into importing a few," said Mr. Bristol, who trades oil leases. "But it was too difficult. I'm in the oil and gas business, and I can see a need for economical cars like these." The Smart would not be his first gray-market car. In 1991, he bought a military Hummer direct from the factory, before a retail dealer network had been established.

The Smart line was originally conceived by Switzerland's Swatch watch company 10 years ago as an exercise in minimalist transportation. The idea was to create an economical yet stylish alternative form of transportation for crowded city streets. After a slow start in 1998, they are now selling briskly, with about 120,000 on the road.

Today, the cars are built by a division of Germany's DaimlerChrysler in France near the German border. The company announced last year that it was setting up a United States subsidiary, and it has been signing up Mercedes dealers in the United States to begin selling Smart models next year. Canada will be getting a two-seat Smart car this fall, but Americans won't be getting City-Coupes. Instead, they'll get small four-seat S.U.V.'s, "about the size of a Honda CRV," said David Schembri, vice president for Smart USA.

The American cars "will be designed with the U.S. in mind," he added, meaning a lineup, at least initially, of more conventional, four-seat cars, rather than the funky two-seaters many Smart enthusiasts love.

But the bigger cars don't interest many of the Smart fans. "We don't have any kids, and my wife drives seven miles to work. I drive 10 miles. We aren't really interested in the larger car," said Patrick Masterson, an architect from Virginia Beach, Va., who rented a Smart convertible while on vacation in St. Barts and is now on J. K.'s waiting list. The way the small car is designed to be both extremely compact and yet relatively crashworthy also appeals to Mr. Masterson. "I have a respect for an unusual way of solving a problem," he says.

Practicality and economy don't quite explain the passion some people feel for Smarts, which seems to approximate the early enthusiasm for the New Beetle and the Mini Cooper. Sally Jessy Raphael, the former TV talk show host, fell in love with one when she saw it in a French showroom in 1999 and put it on her credit card — then it took her more than five months to get it through United States Customs.

Ms. Hurley, who is also on J. K.'s list, acknowledges having an almost irrational fascination with the car. She has even made a picture of one her computer's screen saver. "Not everyone agrees with me. Some think it's downright ugly — an ugly golf cart." She said she once saw a Smart parked in front of the Cafe Hon, a popular Baltimore spot, and while she was admiring it, a passerby stopped and asked, "What did you do with the other half of the car?"

And fans say they're not worried about driving a car seemingly designed for a Munchkin on American highways, despite the current rage for tank-size S.U.V.'s and six-passenger pickup trucks. "Mostly, I'm concerned about parking," said Hernon Lucas, whose principal commute is the 12 miles from Yonkers to Midtown Manhattan. His current car is a full-size Dodge pickup, with a Hemi engine, the big V-8 that epitomizes the horsepower race.

"Some people look at it and have concerns about safety. I say if you get hit by an S.U.V., the S.U.V. will have a dented fender, and you will be bumped out of the way," said Mr. Weischeit, the Baltimore importer. (In Europe, Smart cars carry a three-star, out of a possible five-star crash rating, but a European insurance study notes that the cost of repairing the all-plastic body is roughly half that for fixing other small cars.)

Meanwhile, a few Smart car owners are already driving their cars on the streets in the United States, after bringing them in on the automotive equivalent of a tourist visa that assumes the cars will eventually go back to Europe. One, who goes by the online name of NJChuck, has even posted photos of himself with the car, posing with it in Times Square, in front of the lighthouse in Montauk, N.Y., and with the Jefferson Memorial in the background.

"I like to drive it into Manhattan," NJChuck said in a telephone interview. He insisted that his name not be used because of concerns about his vehicle's registration.. "I parked it alongside a stretch S.U.V. limo and took its picture."

But the charm of novelty is already wearing thin. "Frankly," he added. "I'm kind of tired of posing for pictures, I'm tired of putting my thumb up when the guy alongside does. I'm tired of waving back."

STREET SCRUTINY The rare Smart car that does show up in the United States is almost sure to draw at least a quizzical stare or a somewhat more thorough interior inspection.

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

The smart Invasion (http://edmunds.nytimes.com/advice/specialreports/articles/101361/article.html)

March 20th, 2004, 11:16 AM
I cant see myself driving the smart car, Its ugly. (IMO) But it would be conveinient in urban areas such as NYC. But 61 HP???? I think my 2003 Hyundai Tiburon with 140 HP dosnt have enough, I can see myself at a redlight trying to take off...LMAO....Ill pass this one up for a new V8 Benz

Freedom Tower
March 20th, 2004, 01:56 PM
Ablarc do you own a smart-car?

June 4th, 2004, 08:02 PM
June 4, 2004

Cute, Clean, Quiet and Legal (in Most States)


LOCAL ATTRACTIONS John Trevino, left, and Tim Brown get a lot of stares with their GEM's. "I have dogs bark at me because they've never seen a car like this," Mr. Trevino says.

ON most mornings when he thinks there might be a swell, Tim Brown, who lives in Laguna Beach, Calif., takes a cup of coffee and his labradoodle and heads out to check the waves. His three-finned surfboard is strapped down and ready, overhanging the tiny roof of a curious metallic-gray-and-white machine that looks one part Volkswagen Beetle, one part iMac and one part golf cart.

He climbs in, settles the dog in the passenger seat, turns a key, hits the "forward" button and rolls away in near silence through tree-lined streets toward the beach, ready for neighbors' friendly waves and tourists' dumbfounded stares. It's another day in a GEM car.

GEM stands for Global Electric Motorcar, and since 2000, when it bought the company, DaimlerChrysler has turned out thousands of them at a shiny factory in Fargo, N.D. A tiny insect-like electric with a stripped-down, surprisingly tall body on which even doors are optional, the GEM looks like an outsized Happy Meal toy. "I have dogs bark at me because they've never seen a car like this," said John Trevino, another Laguna Beach GEM owner.

But it is a real automobile — all 5 horsepower and 48 volts of it — legal in 30 states, including New York, Florida, Michigan and California. And it has been quietly creeping onto American streets, assisted by a low-key but deliberate marketing campaign and, lately, by enthusiastic owners.

"Besides being fun and adventurous getting to cruise around town without any doors, you can put four people in for double dating." said Mr. Brown, a chiropractor, who shares his GEM with his wife, Becky. "I could be on the payroll for GEM." Since he's been showing his around, he said, "I'm sure that no less than 20 people have told me that they're going to buy one."

Mr. Trevino and his wife, Kerry, defy the barking dogs to ride out often in their GEM, with their 20-month-old son in a car seat. They liked the car so much that they bought three more, which they rent out to vacationers at nearby hotels.

"Our son loves it," Ms. Trevino said. And Mr. Trevino added, "Most of our renters have kids because the kids are like, `Oh, let's go rent that thing.' "

The GEM has obvious environmental and economic advantages — no emissions, and so what if gasoline prices rise — and Mr. Trevino points out that it's visible on the road, "as tall as a minivan." But it won't replace the family car. Its maximum speed is 25 miles an hour, and the federal government classes it as a neighborhood electric vehicle, limited to roadways where the speed limit is no higher than 35. It is not required to have heavy-duty bumpers or air bags, though it does have to carry three-point seat belts, headlights, brake lights and turn signals. And though it can be recharged in the family garage, plugged into an ordinary 120-volt household outlet, for as little as 50 cents, Daimler said, depending on local electric rates, it needs a recharge after 20 to 30 miles. Where the cars are street legal, they are subject to registration and insurance rules that apply to ordinary vehicles.

So far, at least, Daimler has no plans to make the GEM faster or to increase its range, and no strategy to use it as a wedge into selling full-size electric cars. Many of the 28,000 GEM's the company estimates are now being driven in the United States are used on internal roadways at places like college campuses and state parks, or by police officers giving out parking tickets, and many of those were donated to government agencies or nonprofit groups in an aggressive 18-month giveaway program begun in 1998 to put them into circulation. (Some, like the four at Grand Central Terminal in Manhattan, spend most of their time inside buildings.) Daimler's initial interest in GEM's was to meet a mandate, now defunct, that a small percentage of automobiles distributed in California and New York would have to produce no emissions.

The company still makes occasional donations. It is lending 38 GEM's for use by delegates at the Group of 8 economic conference on Sea Island, Ga., next week — one, an American-flag-festooned four-seater, is for President Bush. But, to Daimler's delight, the GEM is also attracting customers at dealerships (dozens of GEM dealers, in several states, are listed at www.gemcar.com). Buyers pay $7,000 for a base model to $13,000 for one that's fully loaded.

According to Richard Kasper, president of the GEM division, the car is turning a profit. And though he wouldn't release actual sales figures, he said in an interview in Fargo last month that sales for 2004 were running 30 percent above projections.

The Global Electric Motorcar was the brainchild of Dan Sturges, now director of Mobility Lab, an automotive research center in Southern California that he founded in 2001. He first envisioned the GEM when he was an automotive-design student at the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena in 1986. "I was just interested in the future," he said in a telephone interview last month. "When I couldn't find any manufacturers to produce any prototypes, I set about to start up a company."

That company attracted backing and made the trans2, a GEM forerunner, in Livonia, Mich. But after 350 were sold, at $7,000 each, the molded plastic body panels began to weep an oily fluid that ruined the finish, required a recall and essentially bankrupted the company. A private investor from Fargo bought its assets for under $300,000 to start Global Electric Motorcars, began production and sold GEM for "somewhere north of $30 million" two years later, Mr. Sturges said. He is philosophical about missing the windfall, expressing gratitude that the car was kept alive.

On a stormy afternoon last month, Mr. Kasper proudly showed off the sparkling 100,000-square-foot plant in Fargo, which employs 80 people and is capable of turning out 200 GEM's a day. Skeletal, evolving cars hung from a mobile assembly line.

At the early stages, components like disc brakes and the G.E. engine, which spins backward to charge the battery during braking or coasting, were bolted to a tubular steel frame. Soon came the windshield and six lead-acid batteries, rechargeable through 3,500 to 5,000 miles. Toward the end of the line, cars picked up options like doors, a pickup truck bed, a plastic trunk or a clip-in carrier for golf bags.

Inside a door-equipped $10,000 GEM, Mr. Kasper pointed out the slide-down windows, windshield wiper and stereo, and a heater-defroster that the GEM communications manager, Christopher Mohs, said was powerful enough to get him comfortably to work in a North Dakota winter. Mr. Kasper showed off the simple controls — a fast-or-slow switch, blinkers, horn and a digital display of speed and charge level.

Off for a ride with four people aboard, the little GEM surged forward, creating a pleasant whirring hum. Like any electric, it produces prodigious torque, which gets it up to speed in a hurry, yet it rides smoothly. There is no shifting of gears or engine smoke, just pure, quiet energy. At speed, it was at once reminiscent of a golf cart and a small sports car.

With this little car, suited to the short trips that are most common for Americans, Daimler is staying in a business others have left. Ford and General Motors both sold electrics, including larger cars, in the 1990's, but have ended their programs and called back their full-size models for crushing. (Many big automakers focus instead on gas-electric hybrids and fuel-cell vehicles.)

LARRY OSWALD, GEM's chief executive, said that at first Daimler's attitude was "simply the realization that these cars would qualify and with minimum investment, at least meet the letter" of the no-emissions mandate. Then, he said, "I think there was a transition of thinking."

Now GEM's seem to be finding niches in the market.

Don Jenkins an entrepreneur in Key West, Fla., rents them to tourists and locals who quietly ply the streets of Key West, and more recently, Myrtle Beach, S.C. He said that electricity to charge the 30 cars on his main lot runs only around $140 a month. He gets $29 to $39 for two-hour rentals and $139 to $189 overnight, and has no trouble finding customers. "It feels good to drive one," he said. "They're not real cheap to rent, but 99 percent of renters seem very happy that they did."

Two years ago, Larry Dustman of Chandler, Ariz., bought a GEM to get around his home at Stellar Air Park, a fly-in community of 500 homes where, he said, there are now at least 11 other GEM's. A loophole in Arizona law at the time allowed buyers a $10,000 state refund on a new clean-air vehicle, making GEM's essentially free. The state soon closed the loophole, but Mr. Dustman was so smitten that he started NEV Accessories, a GEM accessories business, alongside his longtime sales of add-ons for the Thing, a utilitarian VW sold in the United States in the 1970's.

Today, he offers GEM add-ons like front and rear towing hitches, roof racks and high-performance wheel setups, including burly off-road knobbies or larger-radius wheels with low-profile tires, that can speed a GEM up to 30 or 35 m.p.h. Custom gearing can make them go even faster, though Mr. Dustman warns that this is not for use on public roads. He also builds custom steel beds, boxes and a hot box for GEM-based food vendors and is trying to develop rooftop solar energy collectors that will let the car recharge itself.

Back in Laguna Beach, the section of the Pacific Coast Highway that runs through town is often full of Hummers, BMW's, Cadillac Escalades and other vehicles far larger and faster than the GEM. While this tends to keep the Trevinos on the back streets, Mr. Brown motors along on the main drag unconcerned.

"People come up close behind you because you're only going 25 miles per hour," he said. "I know they have to get places quickly, but at the same time, I want to make them aware that there's a different way of doing things. Plus, I mean, you get to stop and smell the roses."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

flat head
June 7th, 2004, 12:18 PM
...I wouldn't mind a new mini!...

...but I think that the smart car is just a little on the small side... I mean what if you were to accidentaly have children?, where would you put them, in the boot?...

boot = trunk

July 5th, 2004, 09:27 PM
How can you "accidentally" have kids nowadays?

The CLS is now available:



So suave.

October 31st, 2004, 07:30 AM
October 29, 2004

The Hot Color for Cool Cars? Yellow


DALE EARNHARDT JR.'S Corvette. Nicolas Cage's Lamborghini. Liz Claiborne's Porsche. Eric Clapton's Ferrari. The Pagani Zonda S7.3 on the cover of this month's Robb Report (one of the magazine's "10 new luxuries" for 2005, it's priced at about $300,000). They're all quintessential trophy cars — sporty, assertive and flamboyant.

And they're all yellow.

Forget about that little red sports car. Yellow shouts louder and, increasingly, it's the color of choice for the driver who wants to make an unmistakable statement on the road. Yellow is muscling in not only for high-performance cars, but on the shiny surfaces of compacts and sporty pickups — the hot models that young car buyers like to deck out with cladding and chrome.

Even the names catch the eye. Ford brought out Screaming Yellow for its 2004 Mustang. Hyundai showcased a concept car, the two-door HCD-8, earlier this year in Ballistic Yellow. Nissan has introduced Ultra Yellow for its 350Z coupe for 2005. The Porsche Boxster's egg-yolk-toned option is called Speed Yellow.

Ron Tonkin, the owner of 14 automobile dealerships in Portland, Ore., said he had seen yellow sales grow over the last year, particularly in sports cars.

Two kinds of people buy it, he said: "One, the young, and two, the young at heart." Somewhere in there is Mr. Tonkin himself. Earlier this year, he bought a yellow Ferrari, and his wife bought a yellow Maserati. "It seems to fit the sporty image," he said.

In 2003, yellow showed up as a top-10 car color for the first time in North America since 1992, popping into the lineup in the sport/compact category, according to DuPont Automotive. The company, which makes automotive paint, has tracked the most popular colors for 52 years.

No one claims yellow is likely to overtake silver, the leading car color in the United States, or to edge out subdued stalwarts like the whites and tans that clog the highways. But more and more, it is grabbing the role that red used to play in the automotive world.

Yellow is "a hot color, a fast color," said Quinton Q. Dodson, sales manager of West Coast Customs, a car customizer in Los Angeles. He sees it most, he said, in import tuner cars — the kind favored by fans of "The Fast and the Furious."

"It's for someone who's daring and wants to be noticed," said Toby Ristau, manager of J. C. Whitney, an aftermarket parts store in LaSalle, Ill. The vehicle for these people, he said, "used to be a red car."

"These are not shy and retiring vehicles," said Christopher Webb, exterior color and trend designer for General Motors, assessing the role of yellow as a Corvette color. "They're for the owner who likes everyone to know they're driving a Corvette."

Red, once the shocker that advertised this kind of personality, has become common, even sedate. It is still popular in sports cars, but it is no longer a signature for those who want to rise above the mainstream. In the DuPont survey, medium red ranked sixth for full-size and luxury cars.

Laurie Reiter, 49, an ultrasound technician from Youngstown, N.Y., is from the school of car buyers who thrive on attention. She considered red when she was buying a 2003 Mini Cooper, but decided it was too common. As she browsed the showroom, "Liquid Yellow" jumped out as the perfect fit.

"People just buy cars for transportation," she said. "But there are still a few of us who really love our cars."

When she and her husband, Jack Empson, also 49, drive their Mini to nearby Niagara Falls, they sometimes feel like the main attraction. "People turn around and stare at us," Mr. Empson said, "after they came hundreds of miles to see the falls."

AUTOMAKERS and dealers also appreciate the power of yellow.

"That's a real impulse color," said Mike Childs, the operations manager of the Dayton Auto Center in Dayton, N.J. When the dealership (which sells about one yellow vehicle a month) recently put out a yellow Dodge Ram Rumble Bee for display, he said, "one guy literally was not planning on buying anything, and drove in and said, `I have to have that truck.' "

It wasn't always this way. When Steve Levine set out to buy a used Ferrari three years ago, he was ahead of the curve. His one requirement was that the Ferrari be bright yellow, and at first all he found was frustration.

"I searched the whole country for yellow — it was not easy to find," he said. "They were all red." And red, of course "gets boring."

Mr. Levine, a real estate agent from Northboro, Mass., finally found a 1994 model — now nicknamed "Mid-Life Crisis" — in Scranton, Pa. "Yellow just screams," he said. "I love yellow."

It might be a good sign for everyone that other drivers are now buying into his philosophy — at least according to the analysis of Terrence Cressy, a marketing manager at DuPont. He called yellow "a representation of fun, spirit, and a certain sense of optimism that's started to creep back."

Manufacturers have taken to yellow, too, using it in promotional materials and when introducing new models.

"Carmakers are needing to redefine their brands," said Lorene Boettcher, a global design and color marketing manager at PPG Industries, a paint manufacturer. "There's no better way to do it than with a bright yellow."

And Mr. Cressy says yellow complements the new, hard-edged car designs: "It makes that shape pop."

The more distinctive the car, the better yellow works to define it. Hummer, an aggressive car if there ever was one, used a statement-making yellow two years ago when it introduced the H2. The reasoning: "Boldness is a Hummer trait, so why not just go for it," said David Caldwell, a spokesman for the brand.

Aside from its powerful psychological messages, yellow's flashiness can also have practical effects. Randy Chase, 46, a product designer from San Diego, picked saffron yellow for his 2005 Lotus Elise, which he bought in August, partly because the car sat so low to the ground. "I didn't want to get run over," he said. "I thought yellow would stand out more."

He hasn't had any problems standing out so far. In the first month that he owned the car, he was pulled over twice by police officers — but not for speeding. They only wanted to ask him about the car. "It screams out for attention a little more than I expected," Mr. Chase said. "It's hard to drive down the street without people yelling at you."

The color's power seems to extend to the insect world — or so some owners say. Steve Shrader, 28, of Charlotte, N.C., a fan of yellow Mustangs and the founder of a club called the Yellow Mustang Registry, recalls being in a yellow caravan stuck in traffic when a cloud of gnats descended. "They were coming in the windows," he said. "They were all over the dash and all over us, but there were no bugs on the blue and black and silver cars."

Gnats are probably not the reason, however, that some auto models are not showing up in yellow at all — notably the conventional sedans.

The color is great for a Dodge Viper, said Mr. Dodson, the West Coast Customs manager; his shop recently did one in yellow and black. But there are models he doesn't expect to see it on.

Yellow, he said, "would make a Mercedes-Benz look like a taxicab."

Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

All sports cars are red. 8)

October 31st, 2004, 10:12 AM
My somewhat-short list of dream cars, in no particular order:

1. 1969 Shelby Mustang GT500 convertible
2. 1969 Mustang -- all types, particularly Mach 1
3. 1966 Mustang 2+2
4. 1967 Mustang GT-A
5. 1971 Dodge Challenger R/T
6. 1965 Ford Galaxie Station Wagon (yep!)
7. 1965 Lincoln Continental
8. 1970 Ford Torino Cobra
9. 1988 Honda Accord Coupe LXi
10. Chrysler Atlantic (sp?) show car
11. Dodge Entrepid ESX show car
12. 1968 Camaro RS
13. 1968 Firebird 400
14. 1971 Boss 351 Mustang
15. 1974 AMC Concorde DL (with California emissions) -- just kidding!!

January 5th, 2007, 06:19 PM

January 5th, 2007, 07:30 PM
WOW a thread about cars. I do not drive....but I love automobiles... when I doodle, I draw cars.

Best styled post WW2 American cars IMHO. They still look modern... not nostalgic:

1965 Corvair

(this is the purest design of an American 4 door sedan ever )

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://www.vex.net/~guru/corvair/ad65/ad65show.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.vex.net/~guru/corvair/ad65/ad65.htm&h=620&w=727&sz=136&hl=it&start=22&tbnid=4LVZpJfm_vHTBM:&tbnh=120&tbnw=141&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dcorvair%2B1965%26start%3D21%26ndsp%3D 21%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Dit%26lr%3D%26client%3Dsafar i%26rls%3Dit-it%26sa%3DN


!953 Studebaker

Rotten car but the styling is timeless... a work of art. There is not a line out of place:



1964 Avanti

Another Studebaker. Perfect design. Still ready to roll. An American Ferrari:

http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://autotelegraaf.nl/infoenadvies/klassiekercatalogus/images/groot/stud0090.jpg&imgrefurl=http://autotelegraaf.nl/infoenadvies/klassiekercatalogus/%3Fid%3D260&h=229&w=350&sz=15&hl=it&start=144&tbnid=qglIt4kbW7EzFM:&tbnh=79&tbnw=120&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dstudebaker%2Bavanti%26start%3D126%26n dsp%3D21%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Dit%26lr%3D%26client%3 Dsafari%26rls%3Dit-it%26sa%3DN




January 5th, 2007, 07:47 PM
My first car (drove it into the ground :( ) ...

1958 MGA -- British Racing Green, just like this one (but mine had black interior) ...


January 5th, 2007, 07:52 PM
It was downhill from there ...

My next car: the wondrously bad Opel Kadett


January 5th, 2007, 08:01 PM
Always wanted one of these (not very practical in NYC):


January 5th, 2007, 08:18 PM
The car I was supposed to learn to drive in (but my older brother totaled it before I was old enough to drive :mad: ) ...


January 5th, 2007, 08:20 PM
so lucky me learned to drive in one of these ...


January 5th, 2007, 08:24 PM
1. New Dodge Challenger (am already negotiating with the Mrs. on this.)
2. 67 Ford Galaxie XL w/429 CI V-8
3. 68 Cadillac Eldorado
4. Ford GT
5. 81/82 Thunderbird (or, for more excitement, a 79 Fairmont Futura 2.3L!)

Guess which one of these is the phony listing.

January 5th, 2007, 08:28 PM
Now-a-days I'm often found riding around in one of these :cool: ...


January 5th, 2007, 08:34 PM
What's the zero to 60 time on that baby? And, how's the cornering?

January 6th, 2007, 12:25 PM
WOW a thread about cars. I do not drive....but I love automobiles... when I doodle, I draw cars.

I think you stole those sentences right out of my head! No joke.

Without a doubt, this is my dream car:

http://img295.imageshack.us/img295/5338/dsc04155codu7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

1998-03 BMW M5. Widely considered to be one of the the best "saloons" to ever exist. And the best part is I can fit a girl AND my drums in the car at the same time, unlike, say, a Ferrari Challenge Stradale.

January 6th, 2007, 02:40 PM
Bob: some observations on your list:

3. 1966 Mustang 2+2
Why the 1966 over the original 64/65? The originals had that nice honeycomb grill. Everytime Detroit updated a hold-over design, it was usually unnecessary.

7. 1965 Lincoln Continental
Another "refreshed" design while waiting for the all-new 66s. Ugh...that flat side glass and squared off roof-line. A grille that looks like the 65 Mercury. The crome covered rear lights.

You want the impeccable, classic 1961 through 63s.

12. 1968 Camaro RS.

Again check out the original 67 with its nice simple grille and no running lights on the sides to mess up its clean design (My brother in the US recently bought a 69 Z28 to add to his collection).

Ditto for the Eldo.


Lofter: that truck (and its Chevy cousin) was also one of the great Detroit designs.

January 6th, 2007, 09:21 PM
One of my previous roommates is also obsessed with Beamers, especially the M3 and M5. He's sorta lucky though, because his dad actually owns one, and he gets to drive it sometimes when he goes home. All I get to drive is a Chrysler Sebring coupe.

I've always loved cars, but I don't know if I have a dream one. As of now, though, I definitely favor cars coming out of the Axis powers. The Allies are just not very exciting.

January 7th, 2007, 01:03 AM
As of now, though, I definitely favor cars coming out of the Axis powers. The Allies are just not very exciting.

HAHA! Very much agreed! Design is a very important consideration for me, and Audis currently top the cake, although their reliablility is spotty. But then there's BMW.. what can be said against them (other than costly maintenance/repair bills)..? Purposefully sporty yet sexy as hell. Can't wait to have one of my own.

January 7th, 2007, 05:57 AM
My first car, '72 vintage, only mine was S-brown:


It's good to be alive!

January 7th, 2007, 01:02 PM
Some like ‘em clean.
56 Lincoln. Color could be better. (Or maybe not)
52 Siata Barchetta.
26 Bugatti Type 38.
58 Chrysler 300.
57 Citroen DS.
35 Jaguar Airline.
66 Pontiac GTO.
49 Delahaye.
06 Bentley Continental.
57 Facel Vega.

January 7th, 2007, 03:31 PM

January 8th, 2007, 09:00 PM
66 over the 65 Mustang...I like the brick grille over the honeycomb, plus I like the decorative side bar treatments. I think the 66 featured the optional styled steel wheels, too, which were carried over into 67.

65 Lincoln...best Lincoln EVER? This massive baby with its 400+ CI V8 was a true "turnpike cruiser." Massive. Presidential. All it needs is flags on the front fenders and watch Marines snap to a salute!

67 v. 68 GM products...either year is just great. Some phenomenal stylists at work back in the 60s. Where did all that talent go?

January 10th, 2007, 01:04 PM
My dream car. Ferrari 360:


Yeah, son! :)

January 10th, 2007, 02:09 PM

This is your DREAM car ? :eek:

Real car: Vovlvo V70 (kids, etc....)
'Dream' car: any of the old , small Merc convertibles


January 10th, 2007, 04:32 PM
http://img124.imageshack.us/img124/7739/1961lincolncontinentalbat8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
1961 Lincoln Continental

http://img72.imageshack.us/img72/4002/1962fordthunderbirdredcux5.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
1961-63 Ford Thunderbird

http://img232.imageshack.us/img232/778/1969fordmustangfastbackop2.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
1969 Mustang - I like the looks of this year the best

http://img408.imageshack.us/img408/7282/1963buickrivierafq8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)
influenced the styling of the late 60s into the early 70s

http://img126.imageshack.us/img126/8862/09nt9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

January 10th, 2007, 04:35 PM
I don't know if this is an answerable question, but what happened to auto design in the mid 70s? There's hardly a single good looking car to come about from the entire latter half of that decade. I know 5-MPH bumpers had an impact (pun somewhat intended) on styling, but man was that stuff atrocious.

January 10th, 2007, 05:09 PM
In the latter half of the 1970s we thought the cars coming out were the most beautiful ever. We were in love with their mileage, the new technologies seemed really cool, and the cars themselves were often called "sleek and sexy." We always poked fun of the "clunkers" of the 60s-early 70s.

Which goes to show that everything is relative. A generation from now, the cars of today may be called Ugly Betties.

January 10th, 2007, 05:58 PM
Makes sense, and I suppose that's the case with every generation. Maybe it's just my taste far removed from when these were new, but I don't see how this

http://img295.imageshack.us/img295/3743/volareey5.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

could be considered more sleek or sexy than this

http://img182.imageshack.us/img182/7773/1971plymouthroadrunnerfk9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

I used the Roadrunner as an example because it in my opinion best embodies the "fuselage" look that was popular around the beginning of the '70s. And the Volare, well, I suppose it's more upright stance could be seen as being more "formal" and "dignified," but I just see a lack of clean lines.

A generation from now, the cars of today may be called Ugly Betties.

I'll be one of those people calling this generation of autos ugly. Too many car designers have gone overboard with their work in an effort to create "brand identity." While nobody can accuse today's cars of looking alike (unlike, say, the early '90s), it's really resulted in some grotesque, bling-y styles that are mildly fugly today and I'm sure will age horribly. Look to today's lineup of BMWs as a perfect example (thanks Bangle!). My choice of the previous generation M5 as my dream car has much to do with the look of the current 5 series.

January 10th, 2007, 09:16 PM
I suspect Rapunzel is pulling our leg. I certainly don't think anybody would argue that the following were "sleak and sexy" cars:

1. 1974 Vega
2. 1975 Nova
3. 1976 Buick Regal
4. 1977 AMC Concorde DL
5. 1978 LTD II
6. 1979 Ford Fairmont Futura
7. 1980 Cimarron
8. 1981 Thunderbird

Well, you get the idea. (I might be off on these years, btw.)

January 10th, 2007, 11:06 PM
The Fairmont Futura was the other car I was thinking of using as my example of typically bad late-70s styling, but I chose to stick with two Plymouths.

And the 1980-82 Thunderbird.. my God is that thing clunky looking


January 10th, 2007, 11:41 PM
I haven't owned an American car since 1973.

January 11th, 2007, 04:44 AM
Here's my lineup of cars owned since I got my driver's license in 1972:

66 Ford Galaxie -- sold
69 Mustang Grande -- sold
69 Mustang Mach 1 -- sold
69 Mustang convertible -- sold
88 Honda Accord Coupe (deceased after -- get this -- 538,000 miles)

00 Honda Accord Coupe (still the daily driver)
05 Mustang GT (weekends/no rain only)

A lot of people like myself stayed away in droves from owning an "American" car since 1973, and who could blame them? As for the new Mustang -- well, I just had to have it. The retro looks are terrific, the car is a blast to drive, and the workmanship isn't too bad. Sure, its technology doesn't hold a candle to your run-of-the-mill Honda, but I'm glad I bought it, and pleased that Ford finally built a car I wanted. If Ford updates the Mustang to compete with the new Camaro and Challenger, then I might be in the market to buy another!

January 11th, 2007, 06:07 AM
I suspect Rapunzel is pulling our leg. I certainly don't think anybody would argue that the following were "sleak and sexy" cars:

1. 1974 Vega
2. 1975 Nova
3. 1976 Buick Regal
4. 1977 AMC Concorde DL
5. 1978 LTD II
6. 1979 Ford Fairmont Futura
7. 1980 Cimarron
8. 1981 Thunderbird

Well, you get the idea. (I might be off on these years, btw.)

I'm taking the 1974 Chevy Vega out of this list because it was a particularly flawed car, and most people wised up to it quickly.

Of course the cars on the list are not sleek and sexy. They are ugly. (And even uglier to drive.)

I said that at the time, we thought they were sleek and sexy -- next to the gas-guzzling klunkers and station wagons of the '60s-early '70s. At the auto shows, the men wiped the cars lovingly with rags and called the cars the "ultimate-performing beauty queens." Few people knew any better.

Bob, considering that you're a baby boomer too, I'm suprised that you don't remember how much at awe you must have been with many of the cars that came out in the latter half of the 1970s. Unless you had some sort of foresight... ?

January 11th, 2007, 07:05 AM
Rapunzel you are a woman. I think its a guy thing. After 1972,3,4 guys knew the party was over.

Detroits dark, dark days:

Ford Tempo

Chevy Chevette

"The Standard of the World"

"The Car of Presidents":

January 11th, 2007, 08:14 AM
As a teenager, my autoworld was dominated by GTOs, Camaro Z28s, and Road Runners.

One day on Long Island, I was in the back seat of my uncle's unassuming foreign sedan. At an antrance ramp tp the Northern State, he hit the apex (something I did not yet know about) perfectly, came out of the turn, and blasted onto the parkway. Not a rattle was heard inside the car. I asked, "Uncle Carl, what car is this?"

"A Bavaria."

In 1973, when I was looking for my first new car, I remembered that ride. I bought a 2002tii, the car that put BMW on the US map, and led to the term sports sedan. It evolved into today's 3-series.

A few years later, it was briefly stolen. The radio was surgically removed, and aside from the broken vent window, there was no damage.

I got a one month rental from the insurance company, and actually drove past where the thief parked my car on Flatbush Ave. the rental was a Mercury Bobcat, a Ford Pinto with cosmetic upgrades. Worst piece of crap I have ever driven.

Three days after it was stolen, the police found my car. I brought the Bobcat back to the rental company, and was advised that I couldn't get a refund for the remaining time. I said that I didn't care.

Currently own a BMW 330i.

January 11th, 2007, 10:04 AM
If you look carefully at some of these guys you can see the trend.

It looks like they were trying to bring back som eof the muscle of teh early 50's kind of car, but in a different way. They kept the front wide and solid, and boxed out the edges. They also used parts that has less sleek and swoop to them.

It is hard to say exactly why they did all this, but looking at the wide front of teh new Mustang, you can see the feeling they were probably trying to get.

Unfortunately, cars like the Cimmaron established the standard for the "New" american car for a while.

Anyone remember the K car?

Skippy the station wagon was one biatchin blue plastic 4 cylinder plastic powerhouse, I gotta tell ya! And the women went WILD!!!! ;)

January 11th, 2007, 12:42 PM
The Gullwing:


January 11th, 2007, 05:10 PM
Today's Gullwing is clipped:
http://www.mbusa.com/media/images/microsite/slr/slr_800x600.jpg (http://www.mbusa.com/media/images/microsite/slr/slr_800x600.jpg)
This isn't my dream car because the brakes don't handle well --
I posted it to show the gull's evolution.

January 11th, 2007, 05:47 PM
Today's Gullwing is clipped

But you can open its doors in a parking garage without banging them into the vehicles next to you. Important stuff on a car that's 75" wide!

January 11th, 2007, 08:03 PM
My dream car is a 4-speed 1968 Plymouth GTX. I don't think I'll ever own one unless I win the lottery.

Here's a photo of my daily driver. I've owned it for 20 years.

January 12th, 2007, 08:48 PM
[quote=Luca;140223] http://farm1.static.flickr.com/164/349398220_cae464bc20_o.jpgThis is your DREAM car ? :eek:

This is the reason it is a DREAM car for me:

My fantasy car is this:

But I think I could be very happy to settle for this one:

January 13th, 2007, 09:49 AM
I never realized there were so many car people here.

The first (really only) supercar I've ever driven, back in 1973.

1972 Lamborghini Miura SV. Just about the same color.

The car debuted at the 1965 Turin auto show without a body. Inspired by thr racing Ford GT-40, it was one of the first road cars with a mid engine layout (behind the driver, but forward of the rear suspension).

At the time, Giorgetto Giugiaro had left the Bertone design company for Ghia. Bertone gave the job of crafting a body for the Miura to Marcello Gandini, who was trained as an interior designer. In 6 months, he came up with the body that was shown at the 1966 Geneva show.

I think it's one of the most beautiful cars ever built.



Opens like a GT-40

A lot smaller than it appears. The roof is only 41 inches high.

And a thrill to drive, (almost) better than sex. A double thick plexiglass screen separates driver from engine. It was a bit noisy, but the whine of a V12 just over your shoulder was not a negative experience. And the Weber carburetors in the rearview mirror.

Small production companies like Lamborghini could not afford wind tunnel equipment, so the car experienced some front-end lift, but that was near its top speed of over 170 mph. I barely got into 4th gear.

Production stopped in 1973 to make way for the Countach. Lamborghini facilities could only build one model. Although radical, I thought the Countach was too "Power Rangers."

January 13th, 2007, 01:37 PM



This car ,which was produced between 1973-1975, is Coupe version of Anadol. there are only 176 of them. Anadol , which was produced in between 1966-1986,is the only car mark of Turkey.

January 13th, 2007, 02:07 PM
^ Oh my goodness -- do I spy an M5 wagon?! Me waaaaaaant one. Imagine the cop's reaction when they see a station wagon blow by at 155. They'd say to themselves, "that's unpossible!"

Now if only BMW would ditch Bangle and his kooky styling.

January 13th, 2007, 03:47 PM
Now if only BMW would ditch Bangle and his kooky styling.
The styling is kooky, but it's worth noting that BMW supplanted Mercedes-Benz as the world's highest-volume manufacturer of premium automobiles during the Bangle era. At least folks know you're driving a Beamer when one of these lumpy chariots rolls by. Have you noticed the Bangle-ization of new models from Lexus and Acura?

As you see more and more of these, they look less and less strange as they become mainstream. Thus always with pathfinders. Folks didn't like Van Gogh at first either.

I can see BMW's board congratulating themselves that they had the sense to recognize the worth of that *harumph* adventurous young Bangle.

What do you think of the Z4?

January 13th, 2007, 05:05 PM
Zippy: "I never realized there were so many car people here."

These are just 3 from dear (boomer-with-too-much-money) brother's drag racer collection. These BTW, are restored to their original early 60s condition as they appeared at the drag strip. The 1963 Dodge "Maverick" was quite a legendary racer. It has since been sold to a museum in Nevada.

The whole thing is soooo red-neck butch:


January 13th, 2007, 05:20 PM
This is the 64:

http://cgi.ebay.com/BILL-GOLDEN-MAVERICK-1964-DODGE-330-SUPERSTOCK_W0QQitemZ280069489719QQihZ018QQcategory Z47190QQcmdZViewItem

January 13th, 2007, 05:57 PM
Detroits dark, dark days:

Ford Tempo

Chevy Chevette

"The Standard of the World"

"The Car of Presidents":

Fab, if you recall, I was addressing Kz1000ps's comment about cars in the latter half of the 1970s being ugly. That knocks the Tempo and Cimarron out of the box.

The Chevette was an ugly, poorly built accordian, and nobody ever thought it was anything but. That said, it was not considered to be a marketing failure, a "darkness" for Detroit. Its rock bottom price and relatively good mileage made it the only car many people could afford, and it stayed in production for 11 years.

The Versailles was a marketing disaster (squarely in the late 1970s) because it was almost immediately apparent that it was a knockoff of the lower-priced Ford Granada. From a purely physical appearance perspective, though, many people considered the car to be attractive. Not attractive enough to buy...

Rapunzel you are a woman. I think its a guy thing.

Having dwelled in a predominantly male environment my whole life, I have heard countless times that all gay men know more about baking cookies than cars. I never believed it, and don't you go believing that there aren't a few females out there who have a "guy thing" about cars.:)

January 13th, 2007, 06:34 PM
The Chevette was an ugly, poorly built accordian, and nobody ever thought it was anything but ...

So true ... a spawn of THIS (http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/showpost.php?p=139285&postcount=25)

January 13th, 2007, 06:35 PM
Rapunzel: "Having dwelled in a predominantly male environment my whole life.."

yeah... I've found that if you know how to talk cars AND bake cookies, it doubles your chances.

January 13th, 2007, 08:55 PM
The styling is kooky, but it's worth noting that BMW supplanted Mercedes-Benz as the world's highest-volume manufacturer of premium automobiles during the Bangle era.

True, but that has also coincided with a noticeable downturn in quality over at M-B. And, perhaps a function of BMW's Bangle-ization, their styling has become rather staid (to me the current E-class blends in with the crowd as much as a Camry).

At least folks know you're driving a Beamer when one of these lumpy chariots rolls by. Have you noticed the Bangle-ization of new models from Lexus and Acura?

I most certainly have. The question should be more like - can you not notice it?

As you see more and more of these, they look less and less strange as they become mainstream. Thus always with pathfinders. Folks didn't like Van Gogh at first either.

True to an extent, and while Bangle did more than help to push things towards this decidedly baroque period of styling, designers were going in this direction long before the 2002 7-series came out. For instance, I think of the 2000 Nissan Maxima as one of the first to purposely go for a more grotesque look, especially in the butt:

http://img240.imageshack.us/img240/8/812imagess9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Beides Bangle, I'd say two, perhaps three, other major factors have brought about this current kookiness: 1 is the sheer need to get away from the jellybean conservative look that was everywhere by the mid 90s (see the 2000 Maxima compared to the '99 model); 2 is the influence from the tuner culture (again, the taillights on the 2000 Maxima come straight from SoCal); and 3 would be the influence of current architectural trends. Bangle has freely admitted that Gehry has shaped (no pun intended) his work, which is a total non-surprise when you give it even one second of thought.

What do you think of the Z4?

http://img444.imageshack.us/img444/7818/bmwz41xy9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

The big thing that stands out is how visually all of its weight is put towards the front. The bulging "shark" nose, the shoulder line that gradually sinks as it meets the real wheel hump combined with the concave curves in the doors; it makes the back third of the car look sort of like an appendage without much of a clear (or at least BMW-serious) purpose.

This stands in direct contrast to the wedge stance that has been the standard in sports car design for however long, and that stance has been the standard because that's how moving vessels logically (and naturally) organize themselves. To me, it's just a bit too awkward for my tastes, and I really don't like those concave curves on the sides: they make the doors look weak and relaxed, not ready to pounce on the asphalt and make it pay.

January 14th, 2007, 01:40 AM
^ Oh my goodness -- do I spy an M5 wagon?! Me waaaaaaant one.








January 14th, 2007, 08:33 AM

A big problem is the poor relationship between the front and rear wheel openings-fender flares. Despit its front-heavy appearance, the car looks like it's about to do a wheelie.

The concave surfaces and creases (what Bangle calls flame surfacing) are an eye-catching gimmick. When you see the car for the first time, and this is more pronounced in person than from a photo, the random shadows look interesting. But after getting accustomed to the car, the lack of unity in the overall design becomes apparent.

The Bangle Butt.

January 14th, 2007, 09:47 AM
Bangle also greatly altered the twin kidneys.

January 14th, 2007, 10:22 AM
I'm not gonna pin that whole thing on him.

More or less evolving into vestigial organs.

BMW 501 (the Baroque Angel)

I wonder if any future designer will have the guts to eliminate them.

January 14th, 2007, 10:35 AM
^ I meant Bangle's latest standard version of the kidneys is a big change from the immediately previous standard iteration (somewhat vertical rounded rectangles, no slats). That one had been around in mildly evolving form since the 1800, 1600, 2002 generation.

That Czech website is great. Makes you realize how many interesting cars we don't get in the USA.

January 14th, 2007, 11:47 AM
ASG, is that your M5 wagon? (Is that you driving it?) If so, please indulge us with a few details on what it's like to be behind that wheel.:cool:

January 14th, 2007, 11:59 AM
Despit its front-heavy appearance, the car looks like it's about to do a wheelie.

When I look at the Z4 I'm reminded of a trike, and I think this comment plays to the same exact notion.

The concave surfaces and creases (what Bangle calls flame surfacing) are an eye-catching gimmick. When you see the car for the first time, and this is more pronounced in person than from a photo, the random shadows look interesting. But after getting accustomed to the car, the lack of unity in the overall design becomes apparent.

Bangle himself has said that his vehicles are to be experienced in person, and, again, this speaks to his drawing inspiration from buildings and architects, namely Gehry. While Audis are sensually drawn from the Bauhaus tradition, BMWs are now firmly in the realm of Gehry and seemingly nobody else. And unfortunately (yet not surprisingly) Gehry's aesthetic doesn't translate well onto moving metal boxes.

About the Bangle Butt, I personally like it on the 6 series and perhaps also on the new Mercedes-Benz S-class. Those examples are well executed and look like a coherent part of the form. Plus, I appreciate the bustle-backed vehicles they make me think of. But take the current watered down 7 series:

http://img442.imageshack.us/img442/7544/e66013cr8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

It looks like the shoved a box down onto the bumper, painted it, and called it a day. Same with the new generation Camry. But on the whole, I find the Bangle Butt to be one of the least controversial issues.

Probably most controversial of all for me (although those "expressive" headlights are a close second) would be the side sculpting. Take the current 5 series:

http://img167.imageshack.us/img167/3941/5series2kj8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Although there's a lot of subtle curves going on, it's simply too much, and the overall effect is deadening to the point that I see nothing but a slab side between the shoulder line and the rocker panel, be it in pictures or driving by on the street. And on a BMW, whose body has always bulged with purposeful muscularity, I'm left with a wierd feeling inside. (and those headlights.. oh my)

Also, I came across this while searching for images.. the new Mecedes-Benz CL. I see so many things wrong with this design, but the biggest taboo for me are those tapering C pillars. If there's one element I can't stand it's C pillars that grow thinner as they reach the rear quarter panel... no no no no NO!

http://img178.imageshack.us/img178/5121/41449a4dd8bc051yr9.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

January 14th, 2007, 12:07 PM
Oh, and Zippy, since I'm on a Bangle-bashing rant, I gotta ask: is your 330i an E46 (pre-2006) or an E90 (post-)


January 14th, 2007, 12:40 PM
... the biggest taboo for me are those tapering C pillars. If there's one element I can't stand it's C pillars that grow thinner as they reach the rear quarter panel... no no no no NO!
Like this?

January 14th, 2007, 12:45 PM
Yes, although it should be noted that on a two-tone vehicle like that, the problem isn't as important since the different colors divide the roof and body into two separate components.

But on the C class I posted, that tapering C pillar looks weak and puny, and when it's a major structural element to keeping the roof up, I think it should look the part.

January 14th, 2007, 12:51 PM
Swoops and tapers: it's the return of the boomerang style.

January 14th, 2007, 01:11 PM
I hope Bangle never gets his hands on this book:


January 14th, 2007, 01:39 PM
I dont think many Americans know that Bangles first high-profile job was this hideous looking Fiat (1994)


Bangle also worked on this spyder... it was a success:



Tapering C-pillars:

The first American hartops (GM 1949) had tapered c-pillars and remained that way until 1959:


Chrysler continued useing the tapering C-pillar style through the 60s (it was their signature hardtop look) and on into the early 70s:



Kz1000 about the wedge shape writes: "This stands in direct contrast to the wedge stance that has been the standard in sports car design for however long, and that stance has been the standard because that's how moving vessels logically (and naturally) organize themselves. "

The wedge shape for sportscars is a development from the 1970s. This is the car (a rather horrid vehicle) that really introduced it in a big way:


Before then, sports cars were about the looooong hood / short rear deck.

The sillouette of the BMW, with its cut-off rear deck and "power-surge" front-end, is a nostalgic throwback, recalling THIS (minus the grace):



In other words: stern down, prow up:


January 14th, 2007, 07:19 PM
ASG, is that your M5 wagon? (Is that you driving it?) If so, please indulge us with a few details on what it's like to be behind that wheel.:cool:

Yes, it's mine and I'm driving it in those photos. With my $365k bonus this year from Goldman Sachs, I bought this car and hired some photographers to take pictures of me in it!

January 14th, 2007, 08:03 PM
365K? Geesh...I'm in the wrong business!

January 14th, 2007, 09:02 PM
Yes, it's mine and I'm driving it in those photos.
European license plates?

January 14th, 2007, 09:20 PM
European license plates?

Well, you see...I purchased it with European delivery, so that I could spend the holidays skiing at my villa in Arlberg.

January 14th, 2007, 10:06 PM
Oh, and Zippy, since I'm on a Bangle-bashing rant, I gotta ask: is your 330i an E46 (pre-2006) or an E90 (post-)?
E46, so have at him.

January 14th, 2007, 10:12 PM
Concave sheetmetal.


January 15th, 2007, 08:40 AM
This was somebody's dream car, a 351ci Mustang Convertible. Plenty of parking space in Alley Pond Park, Queens.

January 15th, 2007, 07:48 PM
I dont think many Americans know that Bangles first high-profile job was this hideous looking Fiat....

Chrysler continued useing the tapering C-pillar style through the 60s (it was their signature hardtop look) and on into the early 70s.....

The wedge shape for sportscars is a development from the 1970s......Before then, sports cars were about the looooong hood / short rear deck.

Thanks for the history lessons on Bangle's work, my hated tapering C pillars (another "stellar" example would be the original Starship Enterprise), and the wedge look. I never thought about car design as related to speedboats. Of course now with aerodynamics as a chief concern that shape would hardly pass muster.

Concave sheetmetal.

Done right.

January 15th, 2007, 08:17 PM
hard to imagine today but boats where a design inspiration for sports cars. The "boat-tail" was a body style used during the 20s and 30s:



January 15th, 2007, 11:01 PM
The boattail look is one of several reasons why I don't mind the Bangle Butt, even if the current incarnation is a truncated one.

And as long as we're talking about cars with boattails, we can't forget about this land barge:

http://img406.imageshack.us/img406/2757/15riv2036sl7.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

1971-73 Buick Riviera

January 15th, 2007, 11:39 PM
Corvette Stingray

Its rival for sports car status in 60s America.

Jaguar E-type

January 16th, 2007, 06:01 AM
Jan&Dean 1964:

"I was cruisin' in my Stingray late one night,
When an XKE pulled up on the right
He rolled down the window of his shiny new Jag,
And challenged me then and there to a drag

I said "You're on buddy -- my mill's running fine,
Let's come off the line now at Sunset and Vine
But I'll go you one better, if you've got the nerve,
Let's race all the way -- to Dead Man's Curve"

January 16th, 2007, 07:06 AM
http://www.wirednewyork.com/forum/images/icons/icon14.gif :)

January 16th, 2007, 10:08 AM

January 16th, 2007, 10:30 AM
The outsider. Hardcore cool in 64:



January 17th, 2007, 07:31 PM
one of my dream car is a mercedes G500 SUV. I love big trucks and suv's but I have a small car. the benz is over 80 thousand so im probally better off getting the Hummer H3, which is much cheaper.

January 17th, 2007, 07:43 PM
Check out the lines on that 63 Riviera...wow. The car looks like it's going 100 mph, just sitting still. Bill Mitchell was such a genius!!

January 19th, 2007, 06:24 PM
I'm a big fan of german cars (except for Mercedes), I love there mostly understated and timeless styling, I'm a big fan of the boxed look, there engineering, sound, and pick-up. If I'm ever in the market to buy another car it would probably be an Audi, BMW, or Porsche.




Faster than practically anything that BMW or Mercedes makes and faster than a Porsche Cayman, it’s no coincidence as Porsche is now a majority share-holder in Volkswagen.


1 Series:


I really like the looks of this pocket rocket. It reminds me a lot of the 318ti, which while it never, took off in America it was probably one of my favorite Bimmer’s of all time. It was cheap and fun with a lot of cool features, such as the California Edition which came with a folding canvas roof. While I don’t expect this version to have that feature, I wholly expect it to be a blast to drive nevertheless.



This is the ultimate driving machine. For me, nothing tops this car. I would probably feel too guilty driving this. The only thing I would possibly change is to give it larger rims and drop it ever closer to the ground. Not that its stock 19" rims are anything too scoff at, like I said I would definetly feel too guilty driving this.




The Targa solves the compromise between a hardtop (speed) and preference and a convertible (fun). And its the closest to the classic Porsche styling that many of its models have since strayed from.


Volkswagen R32 (Four Door):

http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/2005_frankfurt/0509_frankfurt_049+2006_volkswagen_golf_r32+front_ left_view.jpg

The original pocket-rocket and all around fun car to drive. The fact that its now offered as a sedan doesn't change its allure, it only adds to its utility.

January 19th, 2007, 06:37 PM
Also since we're on the subject of car design, I’m wondering what everyone’s opinions are on the new Lincoln’s. I would never buy an American car, but I appreciate that some are going in the right design direction such as Saturn, the Aura, the Sky, and the Outlook, and Pontiac, the Solstice, and the G6. My question is with Lincoln, I understand that Ford is in dire straits economically, so my question is why they are coming out with quite possibly the ugliest new cars I have ever seen. Maybe it’s my fondness of modernism and understated design, but for me the new Lincoln’s aren’t so much overdone, which they are, as they are just plain ole’ ugly.

http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/2006_chicago/0603_chicago_039+2007_lincoln_navigator+front_view .jpg

http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/2006_chicago/0603_chicago_019+2007_lincoln_navigator+front_righ t_view.jpg

And this one...


The word Gremlin pops into my head whenever I see it.


January 19th, 2007, 06:43 PM
My question is with Lincoln, I understand that Ford is in dire straits economically, so my question is why they are coming out with quite possibly the ugliest new cars I have ever seen?
Because they don't know they're ugly?

January 19th, 2007, 08:24 PM
They're trying to restore some of the glory the brand once had, and they think that can be done by copying the looks of their grilles from the '60s and pasting them onto thoroughly modern forms, and surprise! it's not exactly meshing. It's incredibly similar to what Buick (another company on the verge of utter insignificance) is doing using Portholes on the front quarter panels - recall a better time to make up for having mediocre-at-best products now.

Especially in the Navigator's case, the original had a very clean, dignified look to it, and I still think it's attractive today. But this one.. it's obvious it's trying so hard to one-up the Escalade in the "bling" department that it ends up looking rather comical, like it has braces on its teeth.

January 19th, 2007, 08:27 PM
Does the American auto industry have a future?

January 19th, 2007, 09:36 PM
.......................no comment

January 20th, 2007, 02:38 AM
A sports car that is environment-friendly and not dependent on gas.

Meet the first electric sports car ever, the Venturi Fetish:


Price: About one-half million dollars.:(

January 20th, 2007, 05:39 AM
Stern: that grille is from exactly 1963. Compare side by side:


Ford trashed Lincoln long ago. For young people the brand really means nothing now. People old enough to remember its glory days, buy European.

January 20th, 2007, 12:07 PM
A sports car that is environment-friendly and not dependent on gas.

Meet the first electric sports car ever, the Venturi Fetish:

Price: About one-half million dollars.:(
Well, it is a dream car.

Good performance too: 0-60 in 4.5 sec. Constant torque. Top end only 100 mph, though (only one gear).

January 20th, 2007, 12:07 PM
Assuming American automakers absolutely need to restructure and simplify things, what brands should go? Oldsmobile and Plymouth already bit the dust back at the beginning of the decade.



Aston Martin
Land Rover


January 20th, 2007, 12:35 PM
These are just 3 from dear (boomer-with-too-much-money) brother's drag racer collection. These BTW, are restored to their original early 60s condition as they appeared at the drag strip. The 1963 Dodge "Maverick" was quite a legendary racer. It has since been sold to a museum in Nevada.

The whole thing is soooo red-neck butch:---I never cared much for drag racing, but I remember summer weekends at street races on 1st Ave in Brooklyn (along the piers near the Bush Terminal buildings).

At one point, there were food vendors, and rudimentary staging lights, The night shift at the DSNY garage used to sit outside and watch the races.

Every once in a while, police would block off all the side streets, then come in one end, forcing everyone to scramble toward the southern "exit," where they were waiting to hand out tickets.

A bonanza.

January 20th, 2007, 12:47 PM
KZ: IMHO...eliminating well established brand names is not the way to go.

GM could have done without Saturn. Look how theyve trashed Saab.

Oldsmobile, even Buick, could have become specialty brands with one or two offerings.

Toyota becomes almost the worlds biggest car company selling just 7 car models (Im talking about cars... not trucksand SUVs)... just they way GM did in the 50s: Chevy, Pontiac, Olds, Buick, Cadillac.

They should simplify things by eliminating models...not brands.

January 20th, 2007, 01:02 PM

Add Maybach and Smart.

KZ: IMHO...eliminating well established brand names is not the way to go.

Oldsmobile, even Buick, could have become specialty brands with one or two offerings.
American car execs are stupid at the very top and yes-men just below. In aggragate, they don't know how to run a car company; plummeting sales and undesirable cars prove that. Sales are actually much higher than they should be; that results from customer loyalty.

Toyota becomes almost the worlds biggest car company selling just 7 car models (Im talking about cars... not trucksand SUVs)... just they way GM did in the 50s: Chevy, Pontiac, Olds, Buick, Cadillac.
Have to add Lexus and Scion.

They should simplify things by eliminating models...not brands.
And make each brand name stand for something distinct --but certainly not via badge engineering; look what that did to mighty Leyland (BMC).

January 20th, 2007, 01:31 PM
Assuming American automakers absolutely need to restructure and simplify things, what brands should go? Oldsmobile and Plymouth already bit the dust back at the beginning of the decade.



Aston Martin
Land Rover


From what I've read GMC while still struggling is doing the best of the big 3. Chevrolet is the staple product. GMC produces a quality truck product. Cadillac will always have an allure. Pontiacs serve young professionals and Saturn attracts an even younger crowd and the new family set. Buick serves the retired who don’t want the self-image of a Cadillac. The only company I would eliminate is Hummer; there is no need for them in this day and age. I have never liked any product that Ford has come out with, although their entire product in rebadged throughout their line I would drop Mercury. Lincoln is hardly a luxury product anymore and I wonder where Mercury falls. I would focus attention on creating an attractive entry market through Ford, i.e. drop the 500, I believe the Escape and Focus are there respective biggest sellers and then create a range of affordable to outlandish luxury products all under the Lincoln badge. I would keep the current hierarchy at Chrysler; even though the new Dodge’s are butt ugly they do have an appeal to the NASCAR, Jethro-named market and they would be wise to stick by it. Chrysler did well with the introduction of the 300, Crossfire, and Pacifica, they should stick to cars though and continue to introduce innovative products and drop the tired and hideous, Jethro-chromed Aspen. Jeep should be the only company under the Chrysler umbrella that creates SUV’s, they should come out with some bare-bones models such as the legendary, original Cherokee, as well as venture into the cross-over market but to be careful in creating a product that retains the classic Jeep look.

January 20th, 2007, 02:32 PM
You selfish bastards.:)

Your dream cars are everybody else's nightmares: harmful to the environment, dependent on foreign oil. If you're not interested in my Fetish, at least dream about hybrids!

January 20th, 2007, 03:39 PM
My dream company would be called American Motors.

Its 1967. Im a billionare and start buying. This is the result.

The line-up in 2007:

Rambler (Toyota Camrey type car... plus.... with a cool early 70s Saab allure.)

Avanti (competes with BMW and Lexus)

Harley-Davidson ( motorcycles ...and cars that compete with Porsche)

Mack (pick-up trucks)

Airstream (suvs, crossovers)

( BTW: this year we are buying a piece of Lockheed Martin and will use the name for our new sports car)


January 22nd, 2007, 04:35 PM
Dreaming about hybrids is like dreaming about margarine or Caro. Butter is better. And so is 100% pure maple syrup. Ain't nothing like the real thing.

January 22nd, 2007, 04:59 PM
Dreaming about hybrids is like dreaming about margarine or Caro. Butter is better. And so is 100% pure maple syrup. Ain't nothing like the real thing.

I dont agree with that at all. Hybrid technology only returns energy to the car, it’s more or less new technology attached to a conventional engine. Toyota showed us what’s possible with hybrid technology with their FT-HS concept at the Detroit Auto Show. This beast provides 400 horsepower with about an additional 5 miles in gas mileage than its competitors. Not having to fill up as often and getting the same output, I could see that being an attribute of my dream car. Not so much the cost, because if you can afford a 400 horsepower car you can afford the gas, but the convenience of not having to fill up as often is also a luxury feature.

Also not to nitpick but according to recent research butter happens to be nutritionally healthier than Margarine, nowadays.


January 22nd, 2007, 06:45 PM
Shopping Denied

Lat summer in the Meatpacking District.
http://img125.imageshack.us/img125/9239/meatpacking013hl.th.jpg (http://img125.imageshack.us/my.php?image=meatpacking013hl.jpg)

January 23rd, 2007, 01:19 PM
I saw one of these parked on the street recently and stared at it and walked around it examining the lines for like 5 minutes...

http://photos.ebizautos.com/6259/1409185_2.jpg (http://www.europeancoachcompany.com/detail-2005-bentley-continental-gt-san_diego-1409185.html)

January 26th, 2007, 07:12 PM
Spotted today on the streets of NoHo ...

If you're going to have a truck in NYC it's smart to have a small-ish one -- and bein' stylish never hurts ...


Nice wood in the bed ...


Chrome reflecting the buildings across Great Jones Street ...


February 1st, 2007, 08:28 AM
What is the best garage in Manhattan below 14 ST? The lowest monthly price to park a car below 14 ST?

264hp, 28MPG, $23,955:

February 4th, 2007, 12:32 AM
New Mercedes-Benz C Class, in the designer's words:

"In 2005 Mercedes-Benz introduced a new design idiom with a focus on clarity of expression: the designers were guided by the principles of purism, which were interpreted in keeping with the times."

"This means concentrating on what is important, i.e. surfaces and lines, and dispensing with all superfluous embellishments or visual detours.

"Less is more: the dialogue between tautly drawn lines and large, tranquil surfaces is enough to convey the message of effortless superiority and serenity. The new C-Class is a further representative of this design idiom."

That is NOT a pure, taut shoulder line
http://img265.imageshack.us/img265/5299/mercedesbenzcclass2lgct8.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

http://img244.imageshack.us/img244/4044/mercedesbenzcclass3lgyl2.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Jeep Trailhawk concept:

http://img329.imageshack.us/img329/7852/jeeptrailhawkconcept2lgvw4.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

Chevy Volt concept:

The Volt Concept is the first application of GM's E-Flex System, in which electricity can be produced from different types of fuel. It is equipped with an electrical motor coupled with a compact 1-liter gasoline engine that can re-charge the battery, increasing range and fuel economy.

http://img358.imageshack.us/img358/6176/chevroletvoltconcept4lgfj2.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

more info can be found here: http://www.carbodydesign.com/news.php

February 4th, 2007, 08:21 AM
November 30, 2006

First Glance

Finally, a Fuel Cell Car That Doesn’t Look Like a Science Fair Escapee

Jamie Rector for The New York Times
The Honda FCX fuel cell design study. After years of fiddling and fine-tuning, Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell technology is tantalizingly close to production.


Introduced on Wednesday: Honda FCX Concept

Is it real? As real as the future.

What’s the point? You don’t have to be a scientist, rocket or otherwise, to grasp the significance of hydrogen. The universe positively reeks of it. Figure out a way to pump it into cars and you will be the energy baron of tomorrow.

The company line: “The FCX Concept achieves a new dimension in environmentally friendly driving pleasure not found with gasoline-engine vehicles,” said John Mendel, senior vice president of American Honda.

The view from here: After years of fiddling and fine-tuning, Honda’s hydrogen fuel cell technology is tantalizingly close to production. Three times more efficient than a gas engine? Twice as thrifty as a hybrid? Sign me up.

What makes it tick? In his round of advances, Honda introduces the vertical-flow fuel cell stack, a design that is smaller, lighter and more efficient than earlier efforts. Performance also improves in the critical area of cold start-up, and range is improved by using a more powerful lithium-ion battery.

How much, how soon? If you have to ask how much, you couldn’t afford it. The first FCX production vehicles, due in Japan and the United States in 2008, will be selectively leased, not sold.

How’s it look? Beyond cool. Defies contemporary beliefs that any hybrid or alternative-fuel vehicle must be as homely as a 1977 Lada Niva.

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

[mg]http://www.automobilemag.com/auto_shows/tokyo/0510_tokyo_039+2006_honda_fcx_concept+rear_side_vi ew.jpg[/img]

Earlier version:

February 9th, 2007, 03:20 PM
http://longisland.craigslist.org/car/273938613.html (http://longisland.craigslist.org/car/273938613.html)

Unfortunatly, I have to let go of this beauty, my loss is your gain!

February 9th, 2007, 03:58 PM
So Sticka, Shocka?

February 9th, 2007, 05:50 PM
Very nice car, Shocka. When were those pictures taken? I see full green lawns and deciduous trees with leaves.

P.S. Three more posts and you become a Senior Member!

February 11th, 2007, 01:48 PM
Thanks, I wish I could afford to keep this car in LIC, just not going to happen. I know I am going to regret selling it!

Those pictures were taken in January, one of those random 60 degree weeks.

February 13th, 2007, 06:43 PM
interesting thread. Mustang Celline 2007 just bought it :D don't have the picture right now, but i'll post it later.

February 15th, 2007, 10:01 AM
interesting thread. Mustang Celline 2007 just bought it :D don't have the picture right now, but i'll post it later.


February 15th, 2007, 10:35 AM
Celine - isn't that the one with the annoying squeak?

March 1st, 2007, 07:49 PM
... That is, nightmares!

Forbes: Slideshow of Most-Recalled Cars of 2006:



March 27th, 2007, 10:32 PM
No joke: U.S. comedian wrecks rare Ferrari

March 27, 2007

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Maybe Eddie Griffin should leave the driving to his chauffeur. The comedian destroyed a rare million-dollar Enzo Ferrari on Monday [3/26/07] when he crashed it into a barricade while promoting a movie. He was unhurt in the low-speed incident, at Irwindale Speedway, about 20 miles (32 km) east of Los Angeles.

"The brother's good at karate and all the rest of that, but the brother can't drive," Griffin told reporters.

He was practicing for a celebrity charity racing event tied to his upcoming film, "Redline."

The car, one of just 400 manufactured, belonged to the film's producer, Daniel Sadek. Sadek estimated that the car was worth $1.2 million, and seemed philosophical about the loss, saying he was just happy that Griffin was unharmed.

The real-estate investor has put up his own money for the $26 million picture, and allowed one of his two $200,000 Porsche Carreras to be destroyed for a scene in it.

News Source:

The limited edition Enzo Ferrari was shown at the 2003 New York International Auto Show, April 16, 2003:
(Does anybody remember seeing it?)

The videorecording of the Eddie Griffin crash is posted in this clip:
MILLION DOLLAR TEST DRIVE (http://www.yahoo.com/s/542315)


April 4th, 2007, 09:40 AM
When Dreams Collide

1938 BUICK Y-JOB Considered the first concept car.

FUTURE SHOCK The 1955 Lincoln Futura, which became the Batmobile.

The 1961 Ford Gyron.

TWO ENGINES The 2005 Jeep Hurricane.

1956 DODGE DART Only the name made it into production.

1956 PACKARD PREDICTOR Made with Ghia of Italy. The car caught fire before its debut.

1958 FORD NUCLEON A nuclear dream.

1959 CADILLAC CYCLONE The jet-fighter look, without wings.

1962 FORD MUSTANG I Some of its ideas are in the Porsche Boxster.

1990 CERV III Never produced, but made it into a video game.

April 4th, 2007, 09:42 AM

2000 GENERAL MOTORS PRECEPT A diesel-electric hybrid.

2003 DODGE TOMAHAWK With four wheels and the V-10 engine from a Dodge Viper, was it a car or a motorcycle?

April 4th, 2007, 02:50 PM
A flying DeLorean! Nah, not really. THIS would be my dream car:


But,...seeing as I don't even know how to drive -- that won't happen until I get my license and become rich.

April 4th, 2007, 05:50 PM
1938 BUICK Y-JOB Considered the first concept car.
That's Harley Earl at the wheel, and his ghost might dispute your characterization. After all, at Chicago's 1933 "Century of Progress" Exposition Earl himself had unveiled the Cadillac Aero-Dynamic Show Coupe.


Breathtakingly ahead of its time (just like the Y-Job), dramatically streamlined, pontoon fenders, fastback, V16, V-split windshield, amazingly clean lines --well before Gordon Buehrig's second-generation Cord.

This car would influence designers for years to come (just like the Y-Job) and showed that Earl had a visionary view of automobile design. While intended only as a show car, it went into limited production and twenty were built between 1934 and 1937.

April 4th, 2007, 06:19 PM
Not my characterization, but as a technicality, I agree with it.

The Aero-Dynamic went into production from 1934 to 1937 - very limited, I think 20 were built.

The Y-Job was a one-off. It was Harley Earl's personal car until 1950. That's why he's at the wheel.

April 5th, 2007, 11:50 PM
Lexus LS 460 Named 2007 World Car of the Year



NEW YORK — The 2007 Lexus LS 460 (http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/ViewModelDetail/make=Lexus/model=LS%20460), with its unusual automatic parking system and eight-speed automatic transmission, was chosen as 2007 World Car of the Year at the New York auto show on Thursday [4/5/07]. Jurors lauded the LS 460 for being the "embodiment of the Lexus brand's 'pursuit of perfection.'"

Click here for Inside Line's complete coverage of the 2007 New York Auto Show. (http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/AutoshowArticles/articleId=119988)

The Lexus beat out the Audi TT (http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/ViewModelDetail/make=Audi/model=TT) and the Mini (http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/ViewModelDetail/make=MINI/model=Cooper) for top honors. The LS 460 was part of original pool of 28 contenders nominated by World Car jurors from 22 countries.

The Audi RS 4 (http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/ViewModelDetail/make=Audi/model=RS4) was named 2007 World Performance Car of the Year, while the Audi TT earned the 2007 World Car Design of the Year. The Mercedes-Benz E320 Bluetec (http://www.edmunds.com/insideline/do/Drives/FirstDrives/articleId=117714) was honored as the 2007 World Green Car of the Year.

The BMW 3 Series won World Car of the Year in 2006.


April 29th, 2007, 11:13 AM
Two interesting concepts to mull over..

BMW CS Concept




The more I look at it, the less I like (especially that front).

Buick Riviera Concept





I'm impressed. It's American/retro enough to lure in the Americans while still having a modern international flair to it -- this could be the kick in the ass Buick needs to revive itself. However, I worry that GM will value engineer it to death if it ever makes production. Please don't GM, surprise me for once!

April 30th, 2007, 06:50 PM
Did GM steal Chrysler's top designers, or has Bill Mitchell come back from the dearly departed to breathe some life into the company? It's amazing...and if you haven' seen the new Camaro, you are really in for a shock. The new Camaro rivals the 69 and is a hands-down winner. Maybe it's time to think differently about GM?

April 30th, 2007, 08:05 PM
OK let's argue.

Sorry....I've seen it (the new Camaro) and it's a cartoon of a car. GM insists on playing to the lowest. If anything, the target seems to be the old red-neck Pontiac TransAm crowd.

Would anyone give up their BMWs or Audis to be seen in something looks like it was designed by Marvel Comics? :



And WHY the fascination with the 69? It was a butcherd, junked-up version of the original 67, a stunning, pure design that looked like a Greek vase compared to the 69.

Ugh...they took that great design and added those creases off the wheel openings, the FAKE side vents, "halo" vinyl roof and bug-eye head lamps (and busy grille on the hidden-headlamp versions). (BTW: my brother in the US owns a pristine black 69 Z28 with white stripes.)

Here's the 68 (virtually identical to the 67) looking like it came from the studios of Pininfarina (compare it to the heavenly Peugeot 504).

This is when GM was doing cars that where ultra-sophisticated looking, and not playing to the boy-racer crowd (see the 69 SS) :

May 2nd, 2007, 09:45 PM
Actually, less disagreement than you'd think. I agree 100% that the 67/68 Camaro is a stunning automobile. There's not a bad line on it. I put the 67/68 Camaro in the same category as the 1969 Mach 1 in the overall styling department: a knockout! Looks as fresh as modern today as it did when I was a kid.

From what I have seen so far, the new production Camaro is a styling home run. You must know this car will sell so fast, there will be lines at Chevy dealers! And this will keep the pressure on Ford to restyle the Mustang. Looks like everybody wins, here. (But I am keeping my 2005 Mustang, which I love, thank you.)

PS -- Why is Dodge dragging its feet on the new Challenger? Get on with it!

May 3rd, 2007, 12:42 AM
http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9iby4HwZzlG4g8AYG2jzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBsdmIydTZ hBHNlYwNwcm9mBHZ0aWQDSTAwMV83MA--/SIG=12nmbc4tq/EXP=1178253680/**http%3A//www.progoth.com/gallery2/d/3787-2/Infiniti_G35_Coupe_003.jpg

http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9iby4UcaDlG9zcAZGCjzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBsdmIydTZ hBHNlYwNwcm9mBHZ0aWQDSTAwMV83MA--/SIG=13jqlgr8j/EXP=1178253724/**http%3A//img4.photobucket.com/albums/0803/wick3dguy/NY%2520Auto%2520Show/Infiniti_G35_Coupe_2.jpg

http://rds.yahoo.com/_ylt=A9iby4A8aDlG_CABtVyjzbkF;_ylu=X3oDMTBsdmIydTZ hBHNlYwNwcm9mBHZ0aWQDSTAwMV83MA--/SIG=12guihg5a/EXP=1178253756/**http%3A//www.imp-dome.com/all%2520photo/INFINITI/G35/07gtr.jpg


May 3rd, 2007, 10:35 AM
The new Camaro looks like a p3nis design. The same kind of "Muscle uber alles" that they have been trying with the Mustang the past few years.

The BMW looks nice from the side, but the other two shots are taking forever to load. AH, they are up now. I don't like it. Too much like a fat Japanese Anime character. I hear the car saying something like "Whurk" and closing its "eyes" after eating a big meal if shuffled over to get....

The Buick has nice side and rear stylings, but the grill looks like a 1950's chrome plated space heater. And the interior LOOKS nice, but looks only functional for Mr. Fantastic or Inspector Gadget (could you stick things further up into the center dashboard?)

It looks like they are trying to do a retro flashback with all the chrome style points and come out with the new nouveau.

May 20th, 2007, 07:59 AM
The more I look at it, the less I like (especially that front).[/URL]The front-end is what I like, assuming they tone down the lower air scoops.

The quarter-panel is a mess.

May 20th, 2007, 08:08 AM
May 20, 2007


Fifty, Finned and Fabulous

Photograph from the brochure collection of Steve Hayes
A 1957 Plymouth Fury, hastily redesigned to leap ahead of its rivals


Each age is a dream that is dying, or one that is coming to birth,” the poet Arthur O’Shaughnessy wrote. The year 1957 was just such a time.

Humphrey Bogart, Laura Ingalls Wilder, Joseph P. McCarthy, Eliot Ness and Louis B. Mayer died that year. Significant 1957 births included Donny Osmond, Katie Couric, Scott Adams, Bill Ford and Osama bin Laden. The future seemed limitless for the United States. Postwar prosperity seemed as though it could go on forever, and Detroit automakers introduced a lineup of new models that seemed as invincible as America.

“I think 1957 was a high-water mark for Ford design; Chrysler as well,” said Greg Wallace, manager of General Motors’ Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Mich.

The enduring popularity, not to mention collectibility, of Chevrolet’s 1957 cars “speaks for itself,” he said, adding, “The ’57 Chevy was quite simply the best-looking car of the entire postwar era.”

It was a Golden Era, but a fleeting one. It would end before the year was out.

Fifty years ago, things were very different for the now-beleaguered Ford Motor Company. Ford’s 1957 lineup was all new for the first time in five years. The 21 models included a restyled Thunderbird sports car, a new generation of F-100 pickups, the car-based Ranchero pickup and the Fairlane 500 Skyliner — the first American convertible with a retractable hardtop. Sales were way up — so much that Ford outsold Chevrolet for the first time since 1935.

Together, Ford and Chevrolet accounted for fully half of American car production.

The public viewed the Chevys and their General Motors siblings as somewhat dowdy compared with competing 1957 cars. Critics derided the G.M. designs as passé because they were essentially makeovers of the 1955-56 models, with high rooflines, voluptuous fenders, short wheelbases and stubby overall lengths — the shoebox look favored by G.M.’s styling czar, Harley J. Earl.

The future had already arrived at Chrysler. “Suddenly it’s 1960!” declared ads for Plymouth, which displaced Buick as America’s third-best-selling line of cars. New models advertised in Chrysler’s Forward Look campaign that were designed by Virgil Exner, the automaker’s chief designer, were trumpeted as “three years ahead of their time.” They essentially were.

Chrysler’s president, Tex Colbert, was smarting from poor sales of the company’s 1956 lineup when he came across the futuristic advance designs for 1959 and ’60 models that Exner was working on. Eager for a fresh start, Colbert reportedly told Exner, “Let’s build those” for 1957. The ’57 models that had been in the works were scrapped.

The 1957 Plymouth, Dodge, De Soto and Chrysler models trumped everything else on the market. For starters, they were five inches lower than the previous year’s models. They were also wider. Advertising claims (“longer, lower, wider”) notwithstanding, they weren’t really longer than the ’56s, but the sleek models looked as if they were. Credit the fins. Exner’s ’57 designs featured massive steel wings that seemed ready to propel these two-ton creations into the stratosphere. But of greater importance were landmark mechanical innovations like torsion-bar front suspensions, highly reliable three-speed Torqueflite automatic transmissions and Hemi V-8 engines that were power-rich yet fairly economical.

“But the real feature of Chrysler’s ’57 cars was that these cars embodied the future, an optimistic, Eisenhower-prosperity future where people wanted to go, and go quickly,” Jeffrey I. Godshall, a Chrysler designer, author and automotive historian, wrote in an e-mail message. “The Forward Look cars indeed looked forward to a futuristic Jetsons’ world of high technology and increased leisure time. The perfect world Americans felt entitled to.”

And what was speeding them to that idyllic Tomorrowland? Vehicles like the Chrysler 300C, with its 375-horsepower, 392-cubic-inch Hemi, the industry’s most powerful engine at the time. (Horsepower was calculated more liberally back then.)

By comparison, Ford’s 312-cubic-inch V-8 made only 245 horsepower, although an optional supercharged version produced 300. The small-block Chevrolet V-8 had its displacement increased to 283 cubic inches, but base horsepower was just 185. However, for the first time on an American production car, fuel injection was offered. That helped to raise horsepower to 283 — the first time an American manufacturer had been able to achieve one horsepower for each cubic inch of displacement, the company said.

But the fuel injection system was touchy, and dealers didn’t know how to work on it. Many dealers replaced the system with a carburetor. The supercharged Ford 312 was gone after just one year.

The Forward Look cars were also unreliable. They tended to rust quickly and completely. Tire wear could be extreme. The most desirable models were also relatively expensive. The 300C’s price was $4,929 ($5,359 for the convertible) — about $2,000 more than Ford’s top-line Skyliner.

Even the Skyliner would prove too expensive. In its debut year it was not a huge seller; it would struggle through two more years of ever-declining sales before being discontinued. The ’57 Ranchero (I have one in my garage) would prove far more enduring, helped by its $1,920 price tag. In excellent condition, a ’57 Ranchero today is worth 10 times its original price.

Though the 1957 Chevrolets lost the sales battle, they would win the war.

“Chevys were so well built they literally outlasted the ’57 Fords and Plymouths,” Mr. Godshall wrote. The longevity of the Chevrolets means that more of them have survived — by some estimates, up to 10 percent of the 1.5 million sold — but their values continue to rise despite their numbers. Kelley Blue Book reports that a pristine Bel Air convertible valued at $82,600 is still going up nearly 30 percent a year.

But the scarcity of Chryslers, of which possibly less than 1 percent of the 122,273 sold survive, has helped increase values: a 300C convertible jumped from $92,400 in 2006 to $154,580 this year.

Ford values, with a few exceptions, have remained flat. A ’57 Skyliner is worth about $53,700, close to its value a year ago.

Given the longer perspective of history, the designs of 1957 seem to have never gone out of style. Never before had form so completely triumphed over function. Still, by the end of the ’57 model year, their novelty had worn off, and a deep recession depressed sales of 1958 models.

“Indeed, part of the reason 1957 looks so good to us now, is because 1958 was so bad” Dan Lyons wrote in his book “Cars of 1957” (Publications International, 1997). Not insignificantly, in the final weeks of 1957 at least three major world events would shake American confidence: The Russians successfully launched Sputnik; an American effort to put a satellite in orbit blew up on national television as it left the launch pad; and President Eisenhower had a mild stroke.

“Suddenly the future wasn’t what it used to be,” Mr. Godshall wrote. “Fins became first passé, then an embarrassment.”

Small, economical cars were making a statement; the Volkswagen Beetle and Renault Dauphine were selling well. In 1957, sales of foreign makes in the United States topped one million for the first time. Within three years Detroit would counter with small cars of its own: the Chevrolet Corvair, Plymouth Valiant and Ford Falcon. Function began to throttle form.

Also that year, a little-noticed Japanese automaker struggled to survive its inauspicious debut in the United States. The company’s premier model was an unreliable little sedan called the Toyopet. Just 288 were sold. The company’s name: Toyota.

Multimedia (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2007/05/19/automobiles/collectibles/20070520_FIFTY_AUDIOSS.html)

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

July 14th, 2007, 06:56 AM
July 15, 2007


Once Frumpy, Green Cars Start Showing Some Flash

The Toyota Hybrid X was introduced at the Geneva Motor Show in March.


WHEN Christopher Paine, the director of “Who Killed the Electric Car?” filmed the General Motors EV1, he had to search for a flattering perspective.

“When we filmed the car on the road, its best angle was the low front shot from the side,” he said. “It was gorgeous. The back of the car was more challenging. The car’s style did not appeal to certain design sensibilities.

“That Citroën-like back was not successful,” he added.

Mr. Paine is putting it mildly. The EV1 was derided for its appearance. So was the spacey Honda Insight, the first hybrid to go on sale in the United States. Neither was a commercial success.

Both shared a stylistic similarity to the long skirts of the early 20th century: They suggested Popeye’s pal, Olive Oyl, in her ankle-length dress. The rear fender skirts seemed frumpy.

Honda’s hybrid evoked similar reactions. While the Insight could theoretically get 56 miles a gallon in the city and 70 on the highway, its shape put people off.

The EV1, G.M.’s pioneering electric car, and the recently discontinued Insight raised a challenge that designers are still dealing with. How do you signal green to other drivers, and is it for pride or marketing? How do you provide drivers assurance about the novel technology? What does green look like? How do you design a green car? How green do drivers want to appear?

One way to suggest green through design is simply to paint or mark models that have better fuel economy or reduced emissions. Toyota offers the hybrid versions of the Camry in a color called Jasper Pearl, a light, almost luminous, green. When I drove a test model, several people asked if the car was a hybrid, simply because of its strange green paint, I believe.

Saturn offers the hybrid version of its Vue utility wagon in green. It also applies what it calls a Green Line badge to them — the word line implying more green models to come. Ford adds a green-leaf badge to hybrid versions of its Escape and Mercury Mariner.

BMW’s 7 Series with hydrogen power is indistinguishable from other 7 sedans except for its badge. Honda’s discontinued Accord Hybrid resembled the standard model, and its Civic Hybrid is distinguished from its siblings largely by pie-pan wheel covers.

The Toyota Prius offers a now-recognizable and characteristic silhouette: a long arc of roof, a short hood and a high, stubby back. It is not lovely and it is not as radically different from other cars as the EV1 or the Insight. But it is different enough to signal that it represents a different kind of car.

While in the traditional visual language of auto design the small hood sends a signal that the Prius is low-powered and ineffectual, its now familiar silhouette speaks of greenness. Of course, Toyota also offers other hybrids whose status is signaled by a badge that reads Hybrid Synergy Drive.

For the next-generation Prius and other possible hybrid vehicles, Toyota designers have been trying to answer the question of what green should look like.

One effort, by Toyota’s Calty design studio in Newport Beach, Calif., is a show car that aims to make the hybrid attractive by making it sporty. The car, called the FT-HS, projected a hybrid power plant with the equivalent of 400 horsepower. It seemed inspired by the idea of the electric Tesla sports car, to replace the sense of green as sacrifice with one of sport and indulgence.

Toyota called the idea hybrid-sports. William Chergosky of Calty, said: “The FT-HS wasn’t just meant to showcase the idea of hybrid-sports. It was also meant to be a vehicle that would help us clarify a hybrid design idiom. The design language of a hybrid should speak to its function.”

Mr. Chergosky said the FT-HS’s design started with the idea of placing the engine in an unconventional place. “Our model was the styling cues that midengined cars have.

“What we hoped to create was a look that conveyed lightweight, efficient, advanced and clean,” he said — not simply hybrid.

This can seem high-concept. Mr. Chergosky added in an e-mail message: “The hybrid story should be a holistic one that starts from the inside (the heart) and transforms the outer shell (the healthy body).”

Another new green Toyota is the Hybrid X show car, created at Toyota’s ED2 design center in southern France and introduced at the Geneva auto show last spring. The glass of the highly aerodynamic body forms two U shapes. Seen from above they make the X of the car’s name. The emphasis is on an open, spacious interior.

Honda’s Small Hybrid Concept, also in Geneva, seemed aimed at curing the ills of the Insight, although its rear end bore an echo of that car. It rides on macho 20-inch wheels and has no hint of fender skirts.

For the Volt, Chevrolet’s electric show car with a supplementary gas engine, a team of designers led by Bob Boniface tried to avoid the dull appearance of other green cars. They took echoes of the face of the sporty Camaro and made the beltline, which separates the windowed greenhouse from the lower body, high.

Ultimately, a dramatic change in the engineering of cars will change their appearance and style. “A car on the outside fundamentally has to look like what it is inside,” said Chris Chapman of BMW’s Designworks studio in Newbury Park, Calif. “This was true in the first electric cars and will be in the future.”

The basic design of any car, he said, is dictated by the placement and size of engines, batteries, fuel and so on. These affect where passengers and luggage go. Together, they make up what designers call the package. As changes occur in motors, he said, “people come to accept the new look, as they accept the flat wedge airfoil shape of the Prius,” he said. “In the long run, new designs and layout and architecture will have to come out from underneath, from the basic technology.”

Designers have done little to signal green in a car’s cabin, but that may be changing. Ford recently announced that its 2008 Escape would use only recycled fabric in its seating surfaces. This is green, but not obviously so. But why shouldn’t it be? asked David Lyon, head of North American interior design for G.M. He is looking for alternatives to leather, a sort of design equivalent to a vegan menu, and for materials that look recycled. Recycled items can become something for drivers to boast of, he said.

Green cars can too often look “like sensible shoes” in the phrase of Bob Boniface, the G.M. designer.

Tom Peters, who headed the design of the latest Corvette, said, “There are two schools of thought on this.” One makes the car conventional, the other makes it strikingly different. The former strategy is aimed at reassuring buyers. Drivers are used to cars with hoods and engines in front, for instance.

“If there is no engine in front — without that mass in front of us —many of us feel vulnerable,” he said.

But he added: “From a designer’s standpoint, you want to celebrate the new techno. With fuel-cell technology it is very exciting to create a new shape, a new surface vocabulary, new ways to get into and out of the car. People are ready for that now.”

Design for Greening (http://www.nytimes.com/packages/khtml/2007/07/13/automobiles/20070715_AUTO_FEATURE.html)

Copyright 2007 The New York Times Company

July 15th, 2007, 10:26 AM
OK, I literally scratched my head over this one..

The title of the article implies that green cars are no longer "frumpy," yet on the next line they show the Toyota Hybrid X, which is nothing if not frumpy. Hell, it's one of the most ungainly lumps of a vehicle I've seen in a while, and it'd easily give the Aztek a run for its money in the "ugliest abomination" category.

So what gives :confused:

July 17th, 2007, 06:50 AM
^ One man's frumpy is another man's sleek.

July 17th, 2007, 09:19 AM
I don't personally like the design, but it's not "frumpy"

Volvos used to look frumpy.

August 30th, 2007, 06:06 AM
1931 Daimler
1931 Voisin
1932 Bucciali
1932 Bugatti
1934 Voisin
1938 Delage
1938 Horch
1939 Bugatti

QUESTION: Why were history’s most lavish cars built during the Depression?

August 30th, 2007, 06:56 AM
I don't know but when I see those my pulse races... I really do get a physical reaction.

August 31st, 2007, 10:53 AM
1937. Pininfarina.
1938. Lemans.

August 31st, 2007, 10:55 AM
1950. Ghia
1950. Zagato.
1954. Bertone.
1954. Touring.

September 9th, 2007, 11:46 AM
On the other hand ...

The 50 Worst Cars of All Time (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686,00.html)
On the 50th anniversary of the Ford Edsel, TIME (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/1,28757,1658545,00.html) and Dan Neil,

Pulitzer Prize-winning automotive critic and syndicated columnist

for the Los Angeles Times, look at the greatest lemons of the

automotive industry

http://img.timeinc.net/time/2007/50_cars/365_tout_edsel.jpg (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686,00.html)
Bettmann / Corbis


1899 Horsey Horseless (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686_1657662,00.html)
1909 Ford Model T (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686_1657663,00.html)
1911 Overland OctoAuto (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686_1657673,00.html)
1913 Scripps-Booth Bi-Autogo (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686_1657674,00.html)
1920 Briggs and Stratton Flyer (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686_1658003,00.html)
1933 Fuller Dymaxion (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686_1657677,00.html)
1934 Chrysler/Desoto Airflow (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686_1657675,00.html)1940-1959

1949 Crosley Hotshot (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657678,00.html)
1956 Renault Dauphine (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657681,00.html)
1957 King Midget Model III (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657682,00.html)
1957 Waterman Aerobile (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657684,00.html)
1958 Ford Edsel (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657781,00.html)
1958 Lotus Elite (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657783,00.html)
1958 MGA Twin Cam (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657786,00.html)
1958 Zunndapp Janus (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867_1657782,00.html)1960-1974

1961 Amphicar (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1657832,00.html)
1961 Corvair (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1657833,00.html)
1966 Peel Trident (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1657834,00.html)
1970 AMC Gremlin (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1657865,00.html)
1970 Triumph Stag (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1657839,00.html)
1971 Chrysler Imperial LeBaron Two-Door Hardtop (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1658026,00.html)
1971 Ford Pinto (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1657866,00.html)
1974 Jaguar XK-E V12 Series III (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498_1658027,00.html)1975-1989

1975 Bricklin SV1 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658032,00.html)
1975 Morgan Plus 8 Propane (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658029,00.html)
1975 Triumph TR7 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658040,00.html)
1975 Trabant (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658030,00.html)
1976 Aston Martin Lagonda (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658041,00.html)
1976 Chevy Chevette (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658523,00.html)
1978 AMC Pacer (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658042,00.html)
1980 Corvette 305 "California" (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658522,00.html)
1980 Ferrari Mondial 8 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658043,00.html)
1981 Cadillac Fleetwood V-8-6-4 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658524,00.html)
1981 De Lorean DMC-12 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658525,00.html)
1982 Cadillac Cimarron (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658526,00.html)
1982 Camaro Iron Duke (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658527,00.html)
1984 Maserati Biturbo (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658531,00.html)
1985 Mosler Consulier GTP (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658528,00.html)
1985 Yugo GV (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658529,00.html)
1986 Lamborghini LM002 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533_1658530,00.html)1990-Present

1995 Ford Explorer (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658534,00.html)
1997 GM EV1 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658535,00.html)
1997 Plymouth Prowler (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658536,00.html)
1998 Fiat Multipla (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658537,00.html)
2000 Ford Excursion (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658538,00.html)
2001 Jaguar X-Type (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658539,00.html)
2001 Pontiac Aztek (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658540,00.html)
2002 BMW 7-series (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658541,00.html)
2003 Hummer H2 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658542,00.html)
2004 Chevy SSR (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544_1658543,00.html)COMPLETE LIST

Complete List (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1659833_1659830,00.html)1899-1939 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686,00.html)

http://img.timeinc.net/time/2007/50_cars/175_chrysler_airflow.jpg (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657686,00.html)

From the Horsey Horseless to the Model T and the Airflow,
ten horror stories from the auto industry's earliest days

1940-1959 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867,00.html)

http://img.timeinc.net/time/2007/50_cars/175_renault_dauphine.jpg (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1657867,00.html)

From the Crosley Hotshot to the Dauphine and the King Midget,
ten auto blunders from the '40s and '50s

1960-1974 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498,00.html)

http://img.timeinc.net/time/2007/50_cars/175_ford_pinto.jpg (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658498,00.html)

From the Amphicar to the Pinto and the Gremlin,
ten colossal car mistakes from the Vietnam era

1975-1989 (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533,00.html)

http://img.timeinc.net/time/2007/50_cars/175_delorean_dmc12.jpg (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658533,00.html)

From the Trabant to the Lagonda and the De Lorean,
the worst cars of the 1980s

1990-Present (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544,00.html)

http://img.timeinc.net/time/2007/50_cars/175_plymouth_prowler.jpg (http://www.time.com/time/specials/2007/article/0,28804,1658545_1658544,00.html)

From the Prowler to the Explorer and the GM EV1,
the worst cars from the past 17 years


Copyright © 2007 Time Inc.

September 9th, 2007, 01:07 PM
mmm... i don't know if I agree with all of that article...

No matter how weird it looks today, they should at least mention that the Gremlin was a sales success for AMC and actually got good reviews from the automotive press. It remained in production for 8 years.

If you want to pick an AMC car that no one wanted it was the Marlin.

Heres another good one: the AMC Matador Barcelona


Why do they single out the 1971 Imperial? It was just basically a re-badged Chrysler New Yorker and a hold-over from the re-styled 69's. Not much different from other velvet trimmed land-yachts of the era.

They left out some REAL clunkers like the Ford Tempo and Mercury Topaz.

How about the restyled 1996 Taurus and Sable? Their case is legendary... Taurus went from being Americas best selling car to being a huge flop due to this re-style. Is this ugly or what? :


LOL: remember the Toronado Trofeo?


There are so many others.

Once the one of the worlds coolest cars. Who bought these things?


September 9th, 2007, 02:55 PM
How about the restyled 1996 Taurus and Sable? Their case is legendary... Taurus went from being Americas best selling car to being a huge flop due to this re-style. Is this ugly or what?Oval was in briefly in the mid 90s. Danger with a design like this is that it initially looks good because it's different. Saw the Taurus debut at the auto show. I couldn't get past the front end that looked like a catfish, but a friend of mine like it. I told him to look at one every day for 6 months before buying.

LOL: remember the Toronado Trofeo?What a sad downward spiral from the original. GM began to ruin it almost immediately.


Headlight doors were made flush to the hood, but the egg-crate grill was a mistake. By the 70s, the model was unrecognizable. Its E-body cousin, the Riviera, went the same route.

In high school, I had a dream summer job driving for a car dealership leasing division. The Toronado , and the more conservative Eldorado, were popular choices, so I drove a lot of them.

September 9th, 2007, 03:06 PM
you musta been lookin' good among all the padded vinyl roofs, opera windows and cut velvet.

September 9th, 2007, 06:31 PM
My dream car is a Doc Brown model De Lorean. It is made of stain-less steel, it runs on 1.21 jigowatts, uses a Mr. Fusion converter; orgininally ran on plutonium but just got way to expensive with plutonium prices today, requires a lightnning bolt to jump start the car, recently installed hover converter to get over traffic jams and equipped for the future where there are no highways, and draws it's power from a flux capacitor.

Also you really get to see the power of this car when you hit 88mph. ;)

Check out that engine and exhaust.....

September 9th, 2007, 07:21 PM
The DeLorean BTW is going back into limited production.



September 9th, 2007, 08:14 PM
My dream car du jour is the subject vehicle, readily available but for a STEEP price, as car dealers on Long Island (and I presume elsewhere) are routinely charging "adjusted market value charges" of between $16,000 and $24,000 over MSRP for these cars. The well-known and despised markup is officially frowned upon by Ford, but the dealers are competing against each other to get inventory of the Shelby, and the prices are outrageous. A car for the truly rich, only. What a shame...back in the 1960s a Shelby Mustang only sold for a few grand over the regular Mustang. Not the case now!

September 9th, 2007, 08:52 PM
Bob, a "few grand" was a lot of money in the 60s. Base Mustang MSRP was under $2500.

September 9th, 2007, 09:05 PM
My first car (same color and everything) made the POS list :D ...

Now I know why I got it for so little ($300 !!!)

And why it was dead within 6 months :(

1958 MGA Twin Cam


... The car was introduced in 1955 as a replacement to
the venerable TD and was itself replaced by the MGB in 1962 ...
MG offered an optional high-performance engine with dual overhead
cams, thus the "twin cam." It was a leaking, piston-burning,
plug-fouling nightmare of a motor that required absolute
devotion to things like ignition timing, fuel octane and rpm limits,
less the whole shebang vomit connecting rods and oil all over
the road. Many years after the engine was taken out of service,
it was discovered that the problem lay in the carburetors.
At certain rpm, resonant frequencies would cause the fuel mixture
to froth, leaning out the fuel and burning the pistons ...

September 9th, 2007, 09:46 PM
This was my dream car.

1981 Mazda Rx7 - Black with read leather interior. I got it with 7 miles on it. In two years I had 116,000 miles on it and 53 moving violations.

The head shot is me from that era. The gold razor blade kind of sums it up.

September 24th, 2007, 04:35 AM
I've notice most ppls dream cars are antiques. I tend to like newer models.

for looks

2008 Lamborghini Gallardo

and for speed

Buggatti Veyron

I' m thinking about bringing my car to the Big Apple... Does anybody recommend it? If so, what are the advantages of owning a car in NY?

September 24th, 2007, 06:27 AM
^ You evidently like people's cars; both Lamborghini and Bugatti are made by Volkswagen.

If you bring your car to New York, it had better not be a dreamcar --unless you have megabucks.

October 16th, 2007, 02:32 PM
My dream car...From the moment I first saw one at the Javits Auto Show...a 288 GTO.




October 17th, 2007, 06:25 AM
It has to be this:

Or just a XC90, gotta love the comfortness in thoose cars. :D

January 21st, 2008, 09:03 AM
January 21, 2008

Editorial Observer

To Drive or Not to Drive: That Was Never the Question


Every now and then I meet someone in Manhattan who has never driven a car. Some confess it sheepishly, and some announce it proudly. For some it is just a practical matter of fact, the equivalent of not keeping a horse on West 87th Street or Avenue A. Still, I used to wonder at such people, but more and more I wonder at myself.

I’ve been driving now for some 40 years, right through what will come to be thought of as the heart of the Internal Combustion Era. There is no learnable skill — aside perhaps from reading and writing — that is more a part of me than driving. My senses have completely engulfed the automobile, like the tendrils of a vining plant. Or perhaps it’s the other way around, and the automobile has completely encased my senses.

That first time behind the wheel, probably in 1965, I could feel myself manipulating the machine through an unimaginable series of linkages with a clumsy device called the steering wheel. The car — a Dodge from the late 1950s, without power steering — felt more like a fallout shelter than something mobile. I had very little sense of where it began or ended. I was keenly aware of what it prevented me from seeing. A highway was just a linear succession of blind spots. As for backing up, how could you really trust what the mirrors told you unless you got out and checked? The transmission — manual, of course — was an instrument of betrayal. To drive down the road, those first few times, was to lurch through a series of unrelated states of being.

And now? I understand the richness of the phrase “second nature.” The car’s mirrors are no longer a Cubist experiment in perception. They have joined together in a panoramic view of the past, of where I have just been. I feel the road through the tires’ treads as though they were my fingerprints. When I learned to drive, I was taught to prize continuity above everything: to feel the drift of the car, to understand inertia, to ease into and out of a stop, to emulate the smooth orbital passage of the planet. Speed has turned into an extension of my consciousness.

How “natural” all this is becomes apparent when you realize how few people — still far, far too many but still miraculously few — are killed in accidents every year. If there were not some profound intuitive fit between us and these machines, we would be dying by the millions. Yes, there are too many people who drive while drunk or fall prey to road rage. But for most of us our behavior in cars reveals our innate orderliness, our willingness to get along with one another while still, soundly, keeping a wary eye out for the drivers around us.

Driving is the cultural anomaly of our moment. Someone from the past, I think, would marvel at how much time we spend in cars and how our geographic consciousness is defined by how far we can get in a few hours’ drive and still feel as if we’re close to home. Someone from the future, I’m sure, will marvel at our blindness and at the hole we have driven ourselves into, for we are completely committed to an unsustainable technology.

And it has all come to pass in just a couple of generations. My dad was born in the mid-1920s, just as the automotive moment was becoming inevitable. And now here I am, always wondering how much longer we will be driving, certain that every time I start the engine in my diesel pickup I am firing up a dinosaur technology. You could ask for no clearer sign of the bind we are in than Mitt Romney’s campaign promise to reinvigorate Detroit in an era of $100-a-barrel oil. America is full of people like me, who remember when gas was 21 cents a gallon, which is the price of admission to climate change.

I see that now. But try explaining that to me when I was 13 and learning to drive on the back roads of Iowa.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company

January 21st, 2008, 10:08 AM
The bridge from the car to sustainability is properly designed urban environments.

Manhattan, not Long Island City. San Francisco, not San Jose. Charleston, not Charlotte.

First order of business: revise the zoning that requires autocentric suburbia.

No more setbacks, no more mandated parking lots, no more buffers, no more density limits.

What politician is willing to take that on from the bully pulpit?

January 21st, 2008, 12:09 PM
WE might have to wait for the re-building era to accomplish that ^

January 21st, 2008, 12:46 PM
I think the point is the strong connection between humans and autos - why it's so difficult to eliminate them from the landscape; why we have Dream Cars.

January 21st, 2008, 01:23 PM
WE might have to wait for the re-building era to accomplish that ^
The re-building era can start tomorrow.

January 21st, 2008, 02:03 PM
It could ... but with the entrenched folks making the decisons it's sadly unlikely.

January 21st, 2008, 02:13 PM
So ... we fiddle while Rome burns, polar bears drown, and terrorists blow up the Golden Gate.

January 21st, 2008, 02:45 PM
Since you put it that ^ way, don't forget the London Stock Markets ...

LONDON PANICS... (http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/homepage/news/money/article709921.ece)

January 21st, 2008, 11:44 PM
Purty (http://www.auto-power-girl.com/photo_gallery/bentley/bentley_brooklands-1963) (but I think I'd rather just ride in it than own it) ...



January 28th, 2008, 08:58 PM
^ Very well balanced lines for such a big car.

February 3rd, 2008, 03:12 PM
Now, About Your BMW

Monica Almeida/The New York Times
2008 BMW M3.

NY TIMES (http://www.nytimes.com/2008/02/03/automobiles/03BIMMER.html?ref=todayspaper)
February 3, 2008


Some customers waiting patiently for a new BMW have received unhappy news: 122 were totaled during a rough North Atlantic crossing that damaged 430 of the vehicles.

The Courage, a car carrier headed to New Jersey from a North Sea port in Germany, rolled in heavy winter seas on Jan. 2, breaking BMWs from their lashings and sending them pinballing around a cargo hold. The ship docked in Newark on Jan. 11.

“Once one car broke loose, it all started going downhill,” said Tom Plucinsky, a BMW spokesman. “They just beat each other to death.”

The smashed cars included 30 examples of one of the year’s most anticipated models: the high-performance M3 coupe and sedan. Mr. Plucinsky said the M3s were not customer models, but were designated for dealer introduction events.

The 732 BMWs aboard also included 3-, 5-, and 7-Series models, X3 sport utilities and the first 1 Series coupes for the United States. The 1 Series, a new model, goes on sale in March.

Mr. Plucinsky said BMW had contacted the customers affected. For models whose damage is less than 3 percent of its value, buyers can choose to accept a repaired car or a similar model, or have a new car built to order.

Repairable cars with more than 3 percent damage will be driven by company employees. They will eventually be resold as certified used cars, with full disclosure of their history.

BMW estimated that the retail value of the totaled cars was more than $6 million.

Copyright 2008 The New York Times Company


BMW Celebrates Year One of the 1 Series (http://www.circlebmw.com/new/bmw-1-series-g.htm)



February 20th, 2008, 04:11 PM

Forbes said that the person driving this car is:

"This guy is most likely in his 40s, successful and outgoing. He seeks a high-performance car and has the money to buy what he wants when he wants it, but prefers substance over fluff."

Not me!!! When I see this car I'm thinking:

"A teenage brat from the NY metro area; possibly from Bergen County, NJ. A kid who gets everything they want from daddy and isn't afraid of pushing 90 down the Parkway." :p

February 20th, 2008, 04:41 PM
Yeah, the rebuilding after a comet hits the planet and we're down to 10 breeding pairs. Short of that, it'll never happen.

WE might have to wait for the re-building era to accomplish that ^

February 20th, 2008, 04:50 PM
If a dream car is supposed to be unobtainable, impractical, and eminently desireable, this is mine. Maybe a bit conventional, but it does the job.


February 25th, 2008, 08:38 AM
Could dream of spending $40,000 on brakes alone, or just $4,000 on a Flying B mascot.

Banking on the Bentley Brooklands

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 22/02/2008

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/stylesheets/portal/images/bullet.gifBentley Brooklands [tech/spec] (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/main.jhtml?xml=/motoring/2008/02/23/nosplit/mfbent123.xml#1)

Andrew English is impressed by Bentley's exclusive new coupé, a hedonistic four-seater featuring the most powerful version yet of the company's venerable V8

The starter button signifies the start of a hedonistic trip the like of which will be enjoyed by very few people - just 550, to be precise. Press it and wires will connect in a solenoid to push a pinion gear on to a flywheel and start the fires in the heart of the world's second-oldest car engine in continuous production (Chevrolet's 1953 small-block V8 is the oldest).


A cut above: the massive coupé looks best in dark grey, but it's imposing in any hue and mercifully free of ornamentation When Rolls-Royce/Bentley engineers conceived this 90-degree V8 it produced less than 200bhp and they stipulated an allowance for a 15 per cent increase, over-engineering critical stuff such as the bearing areas and block strength. It now produces over 150 per cent more than that. With two turbos and a capacity of 6,761cc, the most powerful engine in the most exclusive Bentley is something of an engineering project in managing sideways motion.

As chief engineer Ulrich Eichhorn explains, the biggest problem, after screwing some 530bhp and 774lb ft of torque out of this near 50-year-old design, was to keep the car on the road.

One push of the throttle at the wrong time would cremate the tyres and send you into the scenery. Believe it or not, the 17ft 9in, 2.7-tonne Brooklands is really an exercise in restraint.

The fact that this car came from a drawing board rather than the fetid imaginations and targeted buyer profiles of marketing men is largely down to the enthusiasm of Bentley designer Dirk van Braeckel and the 600 engineers employed at Crewe. It was conceived out of their desire to see what could be done with the remnants of a crashed Azure. Such enthusiasm also keeps the world's oldest engine design going under the curvaceous hood of the Chevrolet Corvette; the Bentley is no different in that respect, but a world away in terms of its price tag.

Sitting comfortably? The Brooklands will sell for a basic price of £230,000 and our car had more than £30,000 worth of extras including the flying B bonnet mascot (£2,136), dark Vavona dashboard veneer (£3,474), sports pack (£5,159) and carbon ceramic brakes (£19,650). Ouch.

"Bentleys are bought for a lot of reasons," says Eichhorn. "The bonus was pretty good, your family always had Bentleys, to impress your girlfriend, a big inheritance… But the people who buy this car are so into their Bentleys." And so they should be. In fact many of the 500 orders are from rich-as-Croesus folk who haven't even sat in it. Two turned up at the swishy Tuscan villa in Italy while I was at the launch. One brought along his wife, who didn't even know he had bought a Brooklands. I can only imagine the expression on the face of Mrs English if I told her I'd just spent £230,000 on a car.

Even if you have the wherewithal and the understanding spouse, you'll need to be both quick and patient; just 50 remain unsold and Bentley will take at least three years to fulfil existing orders. Buyers are invited to Crewe to chose colours and specification and perhaps spend yet more on special options at the Mulliner studio. Wallets are emptied efficiently and painlessly with charm and old-fashioned manners.

Actually, they aren't really emptied at all. For all the talk of world recessions and credit crunches, the rich are growing like bacteria on a damp kitchen cloth. Oil revenues, emerging markets, fluctuations, volatility, hedge funds, feed-the-world funds, bond guys, pension girls… Bentley figures show that the capitalist expropriators are growing along with the poor and starving. By 2011 the Capgemini World Wealth Report estimates that there will some 11 million people in the world with liquid assets of more than $5 million, up seven per cent on 2006, when this gilded lot splurged a trillion dollars on cars, boats and jets; whatever the world thinks of carbon emissions, this seems unlikely to change. You might wish to recall that figure of $1,000,000,000,000 the next time you eat at a chain restaurant whose rich owner ensures staff wages reach the national minimum with your tips.

But merely owning a wheeled Leviathan is not enough for those idle rich who can't even amuse themselves and need "ownership experiences" laid on. Like F Scott Fitzgerald's beautiful and bored characters, they seek out big, exclusive fixes that money can't usually buy, but to which their wealth gives them access. Companies such as Bentley are only too happy to help, offering the likes of a €7,000 ice-driving course (wildly over-booked, apparently) or supper with the bosses. "Some are really fascinating people," said one Bentley staffer, but you just know that others have halitosis to crack a paving slab and the charisma of a poisonous land snail.

Should we blame Bentley? Does this make the cars any less desirable? No. I just thought you'd like to know, that's all.

So, er, the car. It's big and it's fast and it's commodious. I was going to say surprisingly commodious, but why anyone should find it strange that a near-18ft car should accommodate four people in comfort is beyond me. The fact is, however, that one of the highlights in an altogether impressive car is sitting in the back. There, in the opulently upholstered, electronically tilting individual seats, you get to appreciate the spectacular curve of the leather-panelled ceiling, bordered by half-round cant rails that resemble a ship's deck combing. It's simply lovely, partly because of the 130 hours of handwork that crafted it and the 6,000 spot welds, 16 cows, 10 square metres of 80-year-old walnut, two days spent gleaming up the stainless steel trim and 125 hours sewing the interior. The numbers are wondrous when you consider that the average supermini is banged together in nine hours.

It's pretty comfortable, too, with leg space and height enough for plus-six footers and useful cubbies for the Dow Jones report and a Purdey hip flask. The only complaint was a carpet that looked like it came from the vomit-resistant line at World Of Carpets.
In the front it's a tale of burr veneers, soft browns and hand-made imperfections that create a perfect whole. The attention to detail leaves you breathless: the instruments annotated with Eric Gill's mechanical typeface that also saw service on the Flying Scotsman, the top of the gear lever machined around the edges with a knurling so fine it feels almost soft and the door handles that are dimpled inside - you can't see it, but your fingers know it.

Press the starter and the venerable V8 churns and fires. The exhaust snaps are as big as oval pie dishes and the air burbles softly around the rear coachwork. In fact there's surprisingly little body ornamentation: a couple of grilles and longitudinal creases that visually lengthen the body and relieve the weight of the roof. The best colour is the elephant's-breath grey of our test car (it's not actually called that, as Eichhorn says Americans will ask if it contains real elephants). The pearlescent white makes the side windows look mean and the roof as thick and crude as a Big Mac.


The detailing is exquisite, the engine potent and user-friendly
While such a car comes with all sorts of caveats on driving, it's actually pretty easy to get going. The extremities aren't really visible without Admiralty binoculars, but you instinctively develop a feel for where they are. And all that power doesn't embarrass you, because the throttle is well engineered with a long travel so you don't pepper the staff with gravel on the way out of the estate.

Unlike most Rolls-Royces (the exception being the forthcoming Phantom Coupé, as James May mentioned last week), Bentleys are allowed "sport" buttons. In its softer damper setting the Brooklands wafts nicely, its all-wishbone suspension riding the long waves of the autostrada to Florence with a controlled style; the driver has to do a few chauffeur tricks to keep the car steady and passengers' heads still, but it's mightily impressive. With the sport button engaged, it's off the motorway and onto the small roads around Tuscany. Here the engine picks up the pace like Sly Stone's rhythm section and fills the air with a sound like a rising crescendo at the Millennium Stadium. That's the noise of a lot of air being moved around and in tunnels you hear it as a warbling bellow. Acceleration is both seamless and astonishing. Lift off the throttle and the wastegate chatters and moans like there's a crow caught in the flue.

The gearbox matches the engine's output well and the manual hold-downs are useful, allowing the engine to lug and preventing the inside rear wheel spinning away all the grunt. One thing we didn't like, however, is the wrong-way-around Tiptronic lever that changes up when you move it forward.

Yes, the Brooklands is too big for hurtling around country roads, but it can be hustled if you so wish. It turns in to corners well, but after that the weight transfer will make your head spin. Not that it is an understeering monster that refuses to change direction; you just need to think deliberately about where you need to place it through a corner, or it will have made other plans. One consequence of the weight transfer is that for the perhaps the second time in my life, I felt car sick in the passenger seat.

All the test cars were fitted with the £20,000 ceramic brakes (from the Speed GT model) and they are remarkable, stopping the car fast and without drama. Our only criticism is that the engine-driven vacuum pump allows the pedal bite point to move around a bit, so you have to trust the brakes implicitly; in spite of some very fast driving, they never betrayed that trust.

By rights this car shouldn't really exist. It's an anachronism that owes its existence to a series of serendipitous events. The irony is that this year it will face the first serious competition that Bentley has had since 1931, from the new Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé (see page 7). The Bentley looks like a bargain in comparison, but we'll report back as soon as we've driven the Rolls.


Price/availability: £230,000. Only 550 will be made and all but 50 have been sold; deliveries start this spring.
Engine/transmission: 6,761cc all-aluminium twin-turbo 90-degree V8 petrol with single camshaft-in-block and two valves per cylinder; 530bhp at 4,000rpm and 774lb ft of torque at 3,200rpm. ZF six-speed automatic gearbox, rear-wheel drive.
Performance: top speed 184mph, 0-60mph in 5.0sec, EU Urban fuel consumption 9.8mpg, CO2 emissions 465g/km.
We like: The style inside and out, capacious rear seats, outrageous pace.
We don't like: "Wrong way around" gearlever gate, massive weight transfer can make passengers feel sick, there are only 50 left.
Alternatives: Maybach 57S, from £297,837. Rolls-Royce Phantom Coupé, from £298,000.

Copyright 2008 The Daily Telegraph.

February 25th, 2008, 01:25 PM
The entry of that doofus Ralph Nader into the presidential election got me thinking about the Chevrolet Corvair. His 1965 book Unsafe at Any Speed devoted chapter 1 to the Corvair, and had a big impact on the demise of the car.

The main problem with the Corvair was the swing axle rear suspension. When Nader's book came out in 1965, the 2nd gen Corvair had already eliminated the problem. Also noteworthy is that the Corvair's contemporaries, VW, Porsche, and Mercedes all used swing axles. Sports cars of that time demanded more driver expertise.


In the above graphic, the car is in a left turn. Lateral load on the outside rear wheel causes it to "tuck under." A camber compensator was added in 1964 which somewhat reduced the problem.


In the 1965 2nd gen, a modified Corvette independent rear suspension was used, the main difference being coil springs instead of the Corvette's transverse leaf spring. Cornering was dramatically improved.

The Corvair drew customers, not mainly from Ford and Chrysler, but foreign imports. It's too bad that GM, due to the subject of automobile safety in general, chose to distance itself from the Corvair, hardly advertising it in its last years. It would have been interesting to see how an American rear-engined sports car developed.

It was GM at its height in the early 60s, influenced by Chevy chief engineer and later general manager Ed Cole (developed the small block chevy V8), and GM styling chief Bill Mitchell.




Compare to the 1978 Pontiac Firebird


February 25th, 2008, 05:35 PM
The 65's to 69 are IMHO among the best styled American cars post WW11.

Actually I'd rate them among the top 3: along with the 1953 Studebaker and the 1964 Avanti.

The design is pure. Not a line out of place. Nothing superfluous. Other goodlooking cars of the time may have had great lines but they were boats... long front and rear overhang, long hoods. The Corvair is tight, not an inch wasted. Look how crisp the lines are. And notice that fine slim roofline.

May 3rd, 2008, 11:16 PM
The 65's to 69 are IMHO among the best styled American cars post WW11... The Corvair is tight, not an inch wasted. Look how crisp the lines are. And notice that fine slim roofline.
Chevrolet stylists were at the top of their form during those years. Another example:

May 4th, 2008, 08:37 PM
Agree with sentiments about the Corvair and early Camaro. Art on wheels. In fact, just about everything put out by American car companies, 1964 to 1972, was incredibly stylish and these models still turn heads today. Good styling sells.

May 5th, 2008, 08:00 AM
Superb cars!!! My dream is to buy new black color car . I love cars.

May 5th, 2008, 10:34 PM
So who here is a Top Gear fan? Clarkson and Co. have convinced me that the best car out there is a DB9. And when it's this gorgeous, how can you argue?

http://img246.imageshack.us/img246/5664/astonmartindb9lmpz5.jpg (http://imageshack.us)

May 18th, 2008, 12:22 AM
This car isn't too bad:


May 26th, 2008, 08:34 AM
My dream car...From the moment I first saw one at the Javits Auto Show...a 288 GTO.

I've got another one for consideration....this thing is nuts.


May 26th, 2008, 06:39 PM
You may want to check out the KTM X-Bow (http://www.ktm-x-bow.com/) on the left.

http://images.forum-auto.com/mesimages/255021/Ariel1.jpg (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPCaUN1Yogg)

June 4th, 2008, 07:54 PM
The flagship Tesla dealership is opening up just down the street from me. I think that would be a cool to have.

I really liked the subaru STI, but they just kept on getting uglier and uglier. I'm currently in a mazdaspeed3 phase, but gas prices are warding me off.

I guess all my dreams cars are somewhat reasonable. It's just I would like to have them in all the colors.

June 6th, 2008, 06:47 PM
That's what I'm talking about!:D


June 12th, 2008, 06:00 PM
A chance to look at 100 cars.

The 100 most beautiful cars:

Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 15/03/2008

We reveal the most beautiful cars as chosen by readers of The Daily Telegraph



© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2008

November 7th, 2008, 10:44 PM

For some folks, Italian cars are synonymous with recent mid-engine supercars:
Lamborghini Countach LP500S. Even more emblematic of Italian mid-engined supercardom than Ferrari, Lamborghini is run by a gent named Winkelmann. This is because Lamborghini is now a branch of Volkswagen. 2042 Countachs were produced between 1974 and 1992.

The mid-engine formula has, however, been kicking around in Italy for decades:
68 Alfa Romeo.

A 2006 Alfa built for the same market, but with engine relocated:
Not much has changed in the styling department.

The legendary Ferrari Enzo, dethroned perhaps as the King of Supercars by the now-German Bugatti, but an honorable has-been:
400 Ferrari Enzos were produced in 2003-2004. Pininfarina was the designer.
Pagani Zonda exceeds 200mph for its 25-or-so annual customers.

Other folks think of automotive Italy as the home of terminally-cute minicars:
1957 Autobianchi, a Fiat 500 variant.

The most micro of minivans, a Fiat Multipla packed three rows of seating into 139 inches of length –17 inches shorter than a current Mini with its two rows:
Built between 1956 and 1965, the Multipla (a 1964 in photo) could rocket to 57mph with its 21hp engine –hardly a supercar, but much-loved by Italy’s largish families of the time. Since then, the country’s birth rate has plummeted.

Current king of cute is the new, retro-styled Fiat 500, here shown in Abarth’s high performance version:

For ages, Abarth has issued pocket rockets on tiny Fiat platforms:
1958 Fiat Abarth 750 Record Monza, body by Zagato.

Yet others associate Italian car production with designer flights of fancy. Going out on a limb is always risky; even the great Pininfarina occasionally fell out of the tree:
56 Ferrari 410 Superfast.

The best of these stylistic extravagances was the series of one-off BATs that Bertone produced as styling exercises in 1954 and 1955:
1954 BAT 7.
1955 BAT 9.
BAT 9.

Though veering towards bankruptcy, Bertone unveiled BAT 11 this year in Geneva:
Just as in architecture, all the old guys are doing retro futurism.

But truth is, the all-time pinnacle of Italian car styling was achieved in the mid-Fifties, when coachbuilders unleashed a tsunami of automotive beauty that surpassed the works of even the Figonis and Saoutchiks of Thirties France. Cars with astonishing purity of form and line sprang from drawing boards and artisans’ hammers. The results were classic in every sense --pur sang:
1952 Siata Barchetta by Bertone.

Frua was especially known for delicately detailed Maseratis of ravishing beauty. Two A6G Spyders by Frua; cars like this regularly sell at auction for over $300k:

The Versace of his time, Zagato grafted his mannered detailing and his voluptuous lines onto Ferrari and Maserati alike:
56 Ferrari 250GT sports Zagato’s trademark bubble-top and fussy but appetizing headlight treatment. This may be the most gorgeous Ferrari I’ve seen. Wonder what it would bring at auction --surely over a million.
56 Maserati A6G 2000 Zagato.

Pininfarina sometimes veered to angularity…
57 Ferrari Superamerica.

…unlike his colleague Vignale, who favored billowing curves:
56 Ferrari.

But perhaps Farina’s greatest achievement was the Lancia Aurelia, its near-perfect lines at once racy and reserved:
53 Lancia Aurelia. Was ever a classic radiator so deftly blended into speedy modern form?

In these years, even mass-market cars scaled the highest peaks of styling elegance. Bertone’s various iterations of the Alfa Giulietta Coupe may show the best proportions ever to grace a small car; a fair number were sold on these shores:
1961 Alfa Romeo Giulietta.

Earlier Alfas were no slouches either:
49 Alfa Romeo 6C 2500 SS Villa d'Este.
1938, the Mussolini era. Il Duce was an enthusiast of architecture and cars; he encouraged stylish tendencies in both.

A brawny, wind-in-your-hair roadster from the same year and marque, Italy’s greatest (not Ferrari):
1938 Alfa Romeo 8C-2900 Roadster by Touring.

And from the beginning of Zagato’s career, that stylist’s most revered design –and Alfa’s greatest ever:
1931 AlfaRomeo 6C 1750 Gran Sport Touring Flying Star.

Competing with Hispano Suiza and Duesenberg for the business of Hollywood stars, Isotta-Fraschini cut a dashing figure (Rudolph Valentino owned one):
1930 Isotta-Fraschini by Castagna.

A veteran Lancia Alfa testifies to the long and distinguished history of car-making in Italy:

November 7th, 2008, 11:26 PM
Thanks, ablarc. That was throughly enjoyable.

I'll take the '56 claret Maserati.

November 8th, 2008, 09:30 AM
^ Sucker for a pretty face.

November 8th, 2008, 09:41 AM
Many of those fantasy cars are stunning, but my favorite (and the only one I'd gladly own) is the quiet Alfa Giulietta. Its understatement makes it more elegant than all the others.

November 8th, 2008, 10:06 AM
^ Plus, it's affordable.

November 8th, 2008, 11:06 AM
Meaning ^ how much?

The Giulietta Register (http://www.giuliettaregister.com/)


NEC Classic Car Show (http://www.giuliettaregister.com/index.php/en/component/jcalpro/view/4/71?tmpl=component)

25 November, 2008 (10:00 AM)

The premier classic Restoration Show in the UK.
There will be a large Alfa display, with probably a Giulietta or two as well!

December 22nd, 2008, 03:23 PM
http://cubeme.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/vandenbrink-gto-vandenbrink-design4.jpg (http://www.vandenbrinkdesign.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=29&Itemid=41)

The 1962 original designed by Sergio Scaglietti.

John P Robinson
December 23rd, 2008, 10:32 AM
My dream car from being a kid was a VW mk1 golf not as fast or classy as most dream cars but still my "dream car" now fully restored:)http://www.cocosol.co.uk/photos/vwgolf/vwgolf26.jpg


http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=422&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1223239011 (http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=422&d=1223239011) http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=423&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1223239011 (http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=423&d=1223239011) http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=424&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1223239011 (http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=424&d=1223239011) http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=425&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1223239011 (http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=425&d=1223239011)

http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=426&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1223239011 (http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=426&d=1223239011) http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=427&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1223239011 (http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=427&d=1223239011) http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=428&stc=1&thumb=1&d=1223239011 (http://www.cocosol.co.uk/forum/attachment.php?attachmentid=428&d=1223239011)

December 23rd, 2008, 12:10 PM
^ Suum cuique.


January 5th, 2009, 10:41 PM
Doctor leaves multimillion-pound Bugatti to nephews and nieces
Nephews and nieces were left what they thought was an old garage, but the treasure it held could change their lives

From The Times | January 2, 2009
Fran Yeoman (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/driving/article5430023.ece)

The 1937 Bugatti Type 57S Atalante in Harold Carr's Tyneside garage

When Harold Carr's nephews and nieces inherited a dusty old lock-up garage from their eccentric uncle their expectations were low.

But when they opened the doors of the car collector's Tyneside garage they discovered what may prove to be a life-changing inheritance. Among a trove of classic cars was a 1937 Bugatti - one of only seventeen in the world - that could fetch millions at auction.

The Bugatti Type 57S Atalante, which had spent decades parked alongside other classics, including a Jaguar E-type and an Aston Martin, will be the highlight of Bonhams' Retro- mobile show in Paris next month.

If bidding reaches upper estimates, it is in the running to become the most expensive car sold at auction, rivalling the 1931 Bugatti Royale Kellner Coupe sold for $8.7 million (£6 million) in 1987. Not bad for a car whose last tax disc expired in December 1960.

Between then and his death at the age of 89 in 2007, Dr Carr left the sports car to gather dust in his garage, ignoring the dozens of letters from would-be buyers who knew of its whereabouts.

A severe obsessive compulsive who never married or had children, the former surgeon grew increasingly reclusive in his later years. The letters were discovered only when the property was cleared out.

His nephew, an engineer from Gosforth, Newcastle, who asked to remain anonymous, said that while the family knew that the appropriately named Dr Carr had a number of vehicles, none of his relatives had any idea that they were worth such huge sums. “We just can't believe it,” he said. “It's amazing, really. It's worth so much because he hasn't used it for 50 years. People must have known because he got letters from all over the country. He got notes pushed through his door. People travelled to try and convince him to sell the car.”

“He was a very eccentric old gent, I suppose you could call him a mad doctor,” Dr Carr's nephew said.

“All the children would laugh at him in the street when he tinkered with his cars because he wore a piece of rubber tube round his head to stop the oil getting in his hair.

“But he was always such a generous man. It would have been boring and so unlike him to have just left normal things. He was very much a hoarder. In one of his rooms we found many dialysis machines. He used to collect things from hospital skips. He had attempted to repair some of them, and some of the repaired ones he sent to Africa.”

The Bugatti, a black two-seater, was delivered to Earl Howe, the first president of the British Racing Drivers' Club and a winner of the 24 Hour Le Mans race, soon after it was completed on May 5, 1937. He kept the car for eight years, adding personal touches including a luggage rack, after which it changed hands a couple of times before Dr Carr bought it from Lord Ridley, a member of the Northumberland gentry, in 1955.

He drove the car for a few years but by the early 1960s it was parked in his garage, where it remained until after his death. It has exceptional originality, retaining original chassis, engine and drivetrain. Even the odometer reading gives a mileage of only 26,284, despite the vehicle being almost 72 years old.

Dr Carr's nephew said: “It was one of the original supercars. When it was built it could reach 130mph when most cars could only do 50.”

As such, the Bugatti 57S is a magnet for classic car collectors. At least four of the seventeen belong to the French Musée National de l'Automobile in Mulhouse, Alsace, while others remain in private hands.

James Knight, the international head of Bonhams' motoring department, was one of those who knew where the example, chassis number 57502, was hiding.

“I have known of this Bugatti for a number of years and, like a select group of others, hadn't dared divulge its whereabouts to anyone. The Atalante is incredibly original and, although she requires restoration, it is restoration in the true sense of the word. From my perspective, save for some of the interior, all original parts can be restored or conserved in order to maintain originality.

“It offers a truly rewarding project to the new owner to play such an integral part in bringing this wonderful car back to life.

“It has all the finest attributes any connoisseur collector could ever seek in one of the ultimate roadgoing sports cars from the golden era of the 1930s. It is absolutely one of the last great barn discoveries.”

February 3rd, 2009, 01:28 PM
BMW Says Van Hooydonk Replacing Bangle As Design Chief

Dienstag, 03. Februar 2009, 14:49 Uhr

FRANKFURT -(Dow Jones)- BMW AG (BMW.XE) said Tuesday that its design chief Christopher E. Bangle is resigning and will be replaced by the current head of BMW automobile design, Adrian van Hooydonk, with immediate effect.

Christopher Bangle has had a lasting impact on the identity of BMW Group's brands. His contribution to the company's success has been decisive, and together with his teams he has mapped out a clear and aesthetic route into the future," said BMW executive board member Klaus Draeger in a statement.

BMW said Bangle's plan to "pursue his own design-related endeavors beyond the auto industry marks the start of a new phase in his life while maintaining strong ties with the BMW Group".

In his new position, van Hooydonk will be responsible for design development for the company's BMW, Rolls-Royce and Mini brands.

Among other cars and concepts, van Hooydonk's team has been responsible for the designs of the revamped BMW 7 Series and the new version of the Z4 as well as for the so-called Concept Progressive Activity Sedan, which is due to be presented at the Geneva auto show in March.

Bangle, 52-years-old, has been in charge of BMW group's design since Oct. 1992. He was the driving force behind designs for the core BMW 1, 3, 5 and 7 series as well as the Munich-based company's roadsters and sports-utility-vehicles. Some of his characteristic designs such as the Z4 roadster sparked controversy among BMW enthusiasts. However, several of his design features are regarded as highly influential as they were later adapted by other car makers.



February 3rd, 2009, 02:21 PM

February 3rd, 2009, 02:54 PM






From Car Styling magazine, issue 185 - July 2008. (http://autodesign.socialblog.us/2008/06/01/bmw-pays-hommage-to-m1-at-villa-d’este/)

This is what Adrian van Hooydonk, Director Design BMW Automobiles, said when we asked the very simple question of telling us what the M1 Homage was all about.

First I have to say that the BMW M1 Homage clearly demonstrates the creativity and potential of the BMW Design team and I think that a project such as this one, is a valuable source of inspiration for our day-to-day work.

Adrian went on saying:

Having said this, I can tell you that we were very excited with the perspective of doing this. Ever since I joined BMW Design, the M1 has always been in the back of my mind because to me it was really unique, for its mid-engine layout and its straight, and yet very emotional, design.

For us, as car designers, mid-engine cars are exciting to do as they tend to be spectacular, but the proportions but are not always easy. Actually, the proportions are really a challenge in mid-engine car. The most common outcome is a cab-forward design architecture. This is all right in general but not really fitting with BMW. When you look at the original M1 it is not a “cab forward” design, actually the cabin is pulled back, with a very long hood at the front and there are very few mid-engine car with this sort of proportions. I also find the M1 very spectacular, even though there are cars that are wider, lower - the M1 makes a very strong and a very clear statement. Naturally, we had also in our mind (and in our hearths) the “Turbo” by Paul Bracq, a very exciting and emotional design that still looks futuristic today.

The M1 Hommage has been designed to pay respect to those two fantastic designs, in the first place. However, we – as a different generation of designers – we also wanted to add something contemporary or may be something for the far future. We hope to have done that and that this Hommage will stand the test of time.


More images. (http://www.bmwblog.com/2008/07/24/new-photos-of-the-bmw-m1-hommage/)

February 5th, 2009, 01:29 PM
1969 Intermeccanica Murena (Full On Raddest Car of All Time) (http://jalopnik.com/cars/retro/intermeccanica-murena-429-gt-full-on-raddest-car-of-all-time-254708.php)


The Ford-powered Murena above has only 2k miles on it and was originally purchased by Elvis Presley. [Photo Gallery (http://gallery.me.com/joltnjoe#100218&bgcolor=black&view=grid)]

San Diego car collector to sell his SEVEN Intermeccanicas. (Elvis Murena, $250k) (http://bringatrailer.com/2009/02/02/whoa-seven-intermeccanicas-under-one-roof/#more-1523)

1967 – 1969
Eleven MURENA sports wagons with Ford 429 Hi Performance engines were built. These luxury packages (four leather seats, bars with cut glass, deep pile carpets, aircraft switches etc.) were built, again as running cars, for an importer in New York. The MURENAs were a great hit with the entertainment group in California.


February 7th, 2009, 12:36 AM
Avoidable Contact #24: The man who saved BMW.
Jack Baruth | February 4, 2009


“…so we’ll hunt him. Because he can take it. Because he’s not our hero. He’s a silent guardian, a watchful protector. A Dark Knight.”

It feels more than a little trite and melodramatic to begin this column with a quote from a Batman movie, but if the auto business has any profession which lends itself to celebrity culture, it is that of the stylist. Harley Earl set the template: physically enormous and personally outrageous, he created our modern notion of the automobile as aesthetic object. And while there have been many flamboyant “superstar” designers who followed in his footsteps, from Tjaarda to Stephenson, history will surely acknowledge that a few men managed to accomplish more than merely sketching a pretty shape. Bill Mitchell brought us the 1961 Chevrolet, which set a visual template for modern sedans that persists to this day. William Lyons fathered the XJ6, perhaps the greatest sporting sedan design in history, even if he didn’t actually draw it. Alex Issigonis invented the “small car” as we know it today, and Giorgetto Giugiaro rationalized it into the unmatchable first-generation Golf. Marcello Gandini created the supercar; Jack Telnack revitalized the Mustang and with it an entire generation of automotive enthusiasm.

Years from now, when the smoke of history clears, another name will be added to that list of designers who were capable of re-imagining the automobile. Born and raised in the American Midwest, Christopher Edward Bangle joined BMW with a rather singular goal in mind: to create what would be only the second major design direction in the company’s history. His complete and utter success in this task has permitted BMW to become a major player on the global stage; along the way, he rewrote the design language for the entire auto industry.

Such is the man’s star power that, like George W. Bush, Bill Gates, or the Almighty Himself, Bangle is regularly blamed for or credited with the accomplishments of others — but it isn’t necessary. His own successes are enough. To understand them, and to grasp why it is possible to respect or even admire the man himself without particularly loving his creations, we will have to take the advice of David E Davis and open our hymnals…

…not to page 2002, as DED Jr. originally commanded, but to the year 1962, when the BMW Neue Klasse debuted.


The BMW Neue Klasse would spawn the 1602, and in turn, the 2002.

It seems almost impossible to conceive now, but forty-seven years ago BMW was very far from being an unstoppable market force or a purveyor of so-called “ultimate driving machines”. Germany was still recovering from the nightmare of the Second World War, no more distant in time from 1962 than the First Gulf War is for us today and powerfully present in the memories and mindsets of Germans in a way that a brief overseas bitch-slapping could never be for the average American. The floundering Bayerische Motoren Werke had scrimped and saved to create a new family-sized sedan, complete with a rather extravangant one-and-a-half-liter engine. For those efforts, they were promptly rewarded with more business than they could handle, even though the “1500″ model couldn’t break the hundred-mile-per-hour mark, it had only four cylinders, and it could easily be hidden behind a modern Hyundai Accent. In other words, it was a BMW, but not as we know them today.

It seems almost impossible to conceive now, but forty-seven years ago BMW was very far from being an unstoppable market force or a purveyor of so-called “ultimate driving machines”. Germany was still recovering from the nightmare of the Second World War, no more distant in time from 1962 than the First Gulf War is for us today and powerfully present in the memories and mindsets of Germans in a way that a brief overseas bitch-slapping could never be for the average American. The floundering Bayerische Motoren Werke had scrimped and saved to create a new family-sized sedan, complete with a rather extravangant one-and-a-half-liter engine. For those efforts, they were promptly rewarded with more business than they could handle, even though the “1500″ model couldn’t break the hundred-mile-per-hour mark, it had only four cylinders, and it could easily be hidden behind a modern Hyundai Accent. In other words, it was a BMW, but not as we know them today.

Still, the car was a success and it was eventually developed into the two-liter, two-door 2002 that captured the heart of Car and Driver’s chief editor and made BMW the expensive, exotic choice of the leather-driving-glove crowd in the early Seventies. By then, BMW was on a roll and had developed a “full-sized” sedan, the most common US-market variant of which was the “Bavaria”. The conception of the Bavaria is a story in itself, involving as it does the amazing Max Hoffman, but but suffice it to say that in general size, style, and (six-cylinder) power, the Bavaria set the template for BMW’s products in this country. It would be several more years before the 325e brought the inline six to the US-market 3-series, but by then the general idea of BMW — sporty, expensive, square body, round headlamps, six cylinders — was pretty well-fixed in the American mind.


The “Bavaria” was a full-sized BMW, equipped like a German “2500″ model but with the larger “2800″ six.

The Eighties and early Nineties were good times for the men from Bavaria. In the space of thirty years, BMW transformed itself from a niche company that sold fewer than ten thousand miniscule “bubblecars” and irrelevant, mostly disregarded high-end luxury cars to a solid volume player worldwide. There was just one little problem.


The successor to the Bavaria was the E23, available in this country as the 730i, 733i, and 735i. As you can see, it was not a major stylistic change from the Bavaria.

The entire reputation of BMW, particularly in the United States, was based on the Neue Klasse sedans and the derivative “02″ coupes. Among BMW enthusiasts, the 2002 was widely understand to be the “heart” of the company. For that reason, every successive BMW was required to pay visual homage to the Neue Klasse, which meant round headlamps, a relatively square profile, a big greenhouse with a kinked rear window, and a set of proportions best suited to a small car.


More than twenty years after the first big BMW sedan debuted, the E32 735i was still required to “sample” the proportions and details of its predecessors.

This required styling relationship to a sedan which had been hastily designed for a 1961 introduction into the German family-car market was both blessing and curse. Bimmers (for the record, a “Beemer” has two wheels until you cross the pond to the United Kingdom, where they call everything from Bavaria a “Beemer”) were instantly recognizable worldwide and as such possessed very powerful branding. It would be virtually impossible for a Rip van Winkle from 1962 to recognize a 1993-model Chevrolet or Ford, but he would have no trouble picking out a BMW from the crowd.

On the debit side of the equation, BMW was rapidly starting to look a little, well, stodgy. Audi had long since embraced avant-garde aerodynamic styling, a change undertaken in somewhat more reserved fashion by Bruno Sacco and his W201 “baby Benz”. The Japanese had launched three luxury brands with flagship cars that simply looked far more modern than any Bavarian box ever could. When the E38 large sedan and E39 midsized sedan were introduced in Europe, the press started to grumble that, just maybe, BMW was being a little conservative in its visual approach. CAR magazine went farther, referring to the E39 as “depressing and timid”. Truth be told, they had a point: the E39 was virtually identical to the outgoing E34, and the very few styling changes it did have were generally held to be unfortunately executed.


The 1997 E38 big BMW probably represented the nadir of BMW’s styling paralysis; it looked like a squished E32, with a relatively cramped interior and crass-looking headlight assemblies that became even uglier in the “baggy-eyed” mid-cycle refresh.

Faced with the prospect of perpetually redrawing the same basic car, an approach memorably described in the UK press as “selling the same sausage in three different lengths”, the board members of BMW AG made what had to have been an unbelievably difficult decision: they looked to the outside for help. That assistance came in the form of a man who had recently gained notoriety for drawing a series of bizarre-looking Fiats, someone who said that design leadership consisted of taking the customer where “they don’t want to go”. Chris Bangle had worked at Opel prior to his Fiat engagement, but it was with the Fiat Coupe — a raw slash of a car which would later donate much of its fundamental proportion and design thought to the infamous “X Coupe” concept — that he caught the attention of BMW’s management.


This was not your grandfather’s Fiat. As it turned out, it wouldn’t be your kid’s Fiat, either. His Fiat would be the New 500, which was a retro rip of your grandfather’s Fiat.

The attractiveness of the Fiat Coupe could certainly be debated, but its originality and vision were plain to anyone with a bare minimum of aesthetic sense. The BMW board, in many ways a puppet whose strings were pulled by the mysterious Quandt family, gave Bangle its full public support. No matter what happened, the new design direction would be pursued to its conclusion.

Meanwhile, on the other side of Europe, another “luxury” manufacturer was returning from a frustrating, unprofitable dalliance with modernism. Jaguar had built its seminal XJ6 sedan with fairly minor alterations from 1968 to 1986, having considerable success along the way and escaping the hellhole known as British Leyland, but the successor “XJ40″ had been publicly crucified for its “digital dash” and — horrors! — square headlights. Shortly afterwards, Ford rescued the company from a financial collapse which was more or less entirely the XJ40’s fault and immediately threw in a quick “retro” restyle to bring the “X300″ into visual line with the 1968 original. Sales went up, customers were happier, and plans were made for the “X350″ successor to imitate the retro look. Although the X350 was a technologically daring aluminum-unibody sedan in the mold of the Audi A8, it would not be permitted to visually differ from the X300, which was itself intended to be nearly indistinguishable from the 1968 XJ6.


Well, this looks different, doesn’t it?

The first production “Bangle BMW” was the “E46″ 3 Series, but anybody who had bothered to take a look at the concept cars being shown at the same time, most notably the aforementioned X Coupe, should have known that the real future design direction of BMW had yet to appear. When it did, it literally shocked the world. The “E65″ 745i full-sized sedan looked like no BMW in history, which made it quite a departure from the company’s previous practice of having all BMWs look like every BMW in history. (Understanding, of course, that “history” started in 1961.) The E65 could hardly be accused of being beautiful, but it struck a chord with buyers. For the first time in most peoples’ living memories, a genuinely new BMW was available.

Naturally, the always-fickle Press As A Whole completely forgot their vicious panning of the previous-generation 740i in their unseemly haste to dogpile this “challenging” new Bimmer. The BMW board never blinked in their determination to back Bangle; the E60 5-Series which followed was an uncompromsing extension of the styling themes seen in the E65. “Flame surfacing” entered the automotive enthusiast vocabulary, along with the less complimentary (and utterly inaccurate) “Bangle Butt”.

The man behind the aforementioned Butt held fast in the face of criticism from all quarters. Although Bangle had not styled the new generation of BMWs himself, he cheerfully served as the lightning rod for the storm of negative reaction, the board continued to back him, and sales continued to climb. The leather-driving-glove crowd was eventually won over by the sheer mechanical excellence of modern Bimmers, although the “Letters” section of Roundel continues to boil over even today with cartoonish indignation. While Mercedes-Benz writhed in quality-control turmoil and Audi plotted a future renaissance, BMW quietly assumed the title of the world’s premier mass-market automotive brand.

Jaguar released the sublime and satisfying X350 in 2003, complete with perfected “homage” styling calculated to satisfy the most ardent Jaguar traditionalist… and the car fell on its face, setting off a chain reaction of events that would eventually result in the brand’s sale to an Indian industrialist. Meanwhile, BMW went from strength to strength; the long-awaited arrival of the “Bangled” 3-Series (a tag which ignored the fact that the 1999 3 Series had also been “Bangled”) proved to be an unqualified success. Still, there was a sense that BMW was pulling the reins tighter on its maverick design team; each new BMW appeared just slightly less daring than the one before. Who could blame them? After all, it’s one thing to bet the farm, but it’s quite another to bet the farm, win the bet, and leave your chips on the table to do it all again.

In a conversation I had with Mr. Bangle at the 2008 NAIAS, he noted rather caustically that his “old” E65 was still the most “challenging” car on the market, years after its release. The 2009 release of the relatively conservative new 7 Series (castigated as “timid” once again by the ever-schizophrenic UK press) does nothing to invalidate that statement. The past half-decade has also seen the fundamental principles of Bangle-era styling stolen, excuse me, “appropriated”, by everyone from Audi (with their “emotional surfaces”) to Toyota and Lexus (the LS460 and current Camry, in addition to looking exactly like each other, also look like generic-label versions of the E65). Even Jaguar has finally wised up and delivered a car — the new XF — which contains just enough “flame surfacing” to look vaguely modern.

What would a BMW without Bangle be like? It is hard to imagine that even the most doggedly mundane of stylists could have squeezed two more generations of sausages from the Neue Klasse tube, but had they done so, the highways would look very different today. We simply take it for granted that the “man from Ohio” solved a variety of automotive styling problems on our behalf. Ever notice just how tall cars are today? That’s a packaging requirement, and it can be done awkwardly (the non-flame-surfaced 2008 Taurus) or invisibly (the flame-surfaced 2010 model). Ever bothered to read the Euro pedestrian impact standards? They forced blunt noses and tall bonnets on sedan makers, who were then able to look at a BMW to get a sense of how to meet those requirements. Have you noticed that the trunk on a 1999 740il is a “two-person” trunk while the new 750il has luggage room for four? That’s courtesy of the “stacked” trunk profile popularized by you-know-who.

My friends in the blogosphere are stage-whispering to anyone who will listen that Bangle was “forced out” or “pushed”, but anybody with a lick of sense can see that it was time for the man to walk away. What’s left for him to do? He has saved BMW from a Jaguar-esque retro-fate, re-imagined the way cars are styled in the twenty-first century, and lived to see his critics either dwindle into irrelevance or voluntarily engage in shameless “copypasta” of his ideas. Why not walk into the sunset? His parting phraseology — that he is moving “beyond automobiles” — could be an indicator of anything, or of nothing.

Chris Bangle has taken a million morons’ hatred, ignorance, and misunderstanding squarely on the chin and kept moving the art of automotive design forward, often alone, always under fire. From the crucible of fifteen years’ effort and battle, he’s emerged as more than just a “hero” or “celebrity” designer, more than just an opinionated controvery artist. If you ask me, he’s earned a rest. And if you love BMWs in particular, or just cars in general, he’s earned your thanks, as well.

Link (http://www.speedsportlife.com/2009/02/04/avoidable-contact-24-the-man-who-saved-bmw/)

February 7th, 2009, 01:01 AM
"..a set of proportions best suited to a small car."

"The Japanese had launched three luxury brands with flagship cars that simply looked far more modern than any Bavarian box ever could."

"Truth be told, they had a point: the E39 was virtually identical to the outgoing E34, and the very few styling changes it did have were generally held to be unfortunately executed."

Call me a stodgy conservative, but I disagree with all the above.

"CAR magazine went farther, referring to the E39 as “depressing and timid”."

Ouch. The E39 is one of my most favorite designs of all time. I still delight in seeing them on the road.

Ever notice just how tall cars are today? That’s a packaging requirement, and it can be done awkwardly (the non-flame-surfaced 2008 Taurus) or invisibly (the flame-surfaced 2010 model).

The 2010 Taurus does not have flame surfacing, or at least not as I define the term. There's a difference between cockamamie 'flame surfacing' and a deep, straight character line used to break up visual height.

Ever bothered to read the Euro pedestrian impact standards? They forced blunt noses and tall bonnets on sedan makers, who were then able to look at a BMW to get a sense of how to meet those requirements.

"Get a sense" ? Any decent designer could have given their peers "a sense." Jeez, Bangle didn't exactly solve the problem with any kind of elegance or simplicity...

Have you noticed that the trunk on a 1999 740il is a “two-person” trunk while the new 750il has luggage room for four? That’s courtesy of the “stacked” trunk profile popularized by you-know-who.

You know, I find the Bangle Butt to be the least controversial aspect of all of his (and Van Hooydonk's) designs. Chrysler's first generation cloud cars (http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/jc/images/97cirrus_lx.jpg) had something of similar effect and I always thought those behinds were sexy as hell :D

February 7th, 2009, 09:25 AM
Funny how folks can see things differently, kz; that article's observations so exactly reflect my own, that I could have written it myself. Sure, Bangle's designs were ugly, but they increased sales and buzz, and they put BMW on top. Sometimes ugly is the way to go.

Gehry, like Bangle, has made a career out of risking ugliness.

Volkswagen Beetle, anyone? 2CV?

February 7th, 2009, 11:28 AM
Justifying poor styling with increased sales isn't a good idea when you're talking about cars, especially a brand like BMW, the 3-series being perennially at the top of the list of best driving sedans in the world.

I own an E46 330i, so I'll offer some comparisons to its successor, the E90.

The 3-series is BMW's biggest seller, the model that initiates brand identification. E90 sales increases in the US alone were large, something like 35-40% in 2007. What happened?

If I was young with a growing family, the E46 might be too small, but the kids are on their own, and we don't haul around as much stuff. The E46 drives like a BMW.

OK, so they needed to increase room to attract new buyers. You could abandon the smooth inline 6 for a V6 FWD, and take inches away from the hood, But then you no longer have a BMW. So the car had to get bigger. The E90 is longer, wider (yikes 3"), and heavier than the E46. Wheelbase was also stretched a bit.

For size characteristics, the 3-series is unfairly compared to the likes of Honda Accord and Toyota Camry, but both of them are a foot longer than the E90. A proper comparison would be with the 5-series, and then it hits you that BMWs are expensive cars.

When I first saw the E90, I immediately thought it was ugly. I've somewhat softened my opinion in that it's a good idea that BMW is trying to move in a different direction, but I still think the styling is a failure and won't age well.

However, I was more interested in how the car handled, for if it drove like it looked, BMW was doomed. I must admit that the extra interior room is immediately noticeable. There are some things better (the seats) and some worse than its predecessor, but a lot of that for me is familiarity. Driving position and visibility are excellent. The suspension is tuned for run-flat tires, so I wonder what the effect would be if a switch was made to lighter tires. HP was bumped up slightly to make up for the increased weight.

It drives like a BMW.

Kudos to the engineers for the success.

February 7th, 2009, 03:56 PM
Justifying poor styling ...
Styling isn't poor, as the article makes amply clear. It just isn't conventionally pretty.

It created the next styling wave instead of affirming (once again) the last one.

I know which is harder to do, therefore a bigger professional accomplishment...

February 7th, 2009, 04:08 PM


February 7th, 2009, 04:52 PM
Sure, Bangle's designs were ugly, but they increased sales and buzz, and they put BMW on top.

So? Mercedes was selling record amounts of vehicles this decade too, and this despite well-known build quality issues AND rather stodgy styling (the CLS aside). Methinks it wasn't Bangle that drove BMW's sales up -- it was the economy and competitors' deficiencies.

And while I certainly appreciate everything the man's done for BMW, I just don't see his designs as fitting what a BMW should look like -- their vehicles stand for competent and sporting driving, and the styling always conveyed that so very clearly. Now we have sagging curves (http://www.bmwblog.com/wp-content/uploads/thumb-1series_09.jpg) and smushed rear ends (http://images.myride.com/images/vehicle/2006/BMW/3%20Series%20Sedan/oem/06.3-Series--Sedan14_(768x576).jpg). How do cars that looks like they were melted say "sporty driving?" To me it'd be like having City Hall look like some hodge-podge Elks lodge.

Gehry, like Bangle, has made a career out of risking ugliness.

The stylistic connections between those two is so obvious it's funny. Zippy's comment about the Bangle Bimmers probably not aging well (an opinion I agree with) makes me wonder how kind time will be to Gehry.

February 7th, 2009, 05:44 PM
"..a set of proportions best suited to a small car."

"The Japanese had launched three luxury brands with flagship cars that simply looked far more modern than any Bavarian box ever could."

"Truth be told, they had a point: the E39 was virtually identical to the outgoing E34, and the very few styling changes it did have were generally held to be unfortunately executed."

^kz1000ps wrote: Call me a stodgy conservative, but I disagree with all the above.

"CAR magazine went farther, referring to the E39 as “depressing and timid”."

^kz1000ps wrote: Ouch. The E39 is one of my most favorite designs of all time. I still delight in seeing them on the road.


I agree with you on all of the above but even though they were all good designs, I can understand BMW wanting to move on and shake things up.

I remember first seeing the Bangle series7 on the street here... some of the lines were odd, but it did have presence... it looked expensive and important. The previous 7s were starting to look invisible.

The biggest loss for me under Bangle is that some of the BMWs ( the 5 and 7) have lost their athletic look.

But the new 3 series coupe is just perfect:

February 7th, 2009, 07:15 PM
Styling isn't poor, as the article makes amply clear. It just isn't conventionally pretty.

Sure, Bangle's designs were ugly, but they increased sales and buzz, and they put BMW on top. Sometimes ugly is the way to go.Whether or not the styling of the last model lines is good or poor is a matter of personal opinion, but the article hardly made a case on that point; instead the title says it all. A dubious claim.

And the last paragraph is a bit of hysteric hero worship, lumping together those that think his revolutionary 3 and 5 series are unnecessarily ugly with those that just don't like Bangle. He was at BMW for 16 years, and his career as a designer has been a success. But when his styling critique is "Well, this looks different , doesn't it," and tags the designer as the company savior, I don't buy it.

Volkswagen Beetle, anyone? Not the same at all to compare a new platform with one that's been around for decades.

As Fabrizio said, maybe BMW needs to move in a new direction, and there'll probably be a renewed interest on where the company goes from here.

February 7th, 2009, 07:18 PM
I remember first seeing the Bangle series7 on the street here... some of the lines were odd, but it did have presence... it looked expensive and important. The previous 7s were starting to look invisible.

At first I hated the new 7 series.. I remember its appearance on MTV's reality show "The Osbournes," and it was a memorable one because Ozzy was completely incompetent in handling the iDrive's controls. More to the point, I remember thinking how ugly and imposing it was. Over time I've come to appreciate that Big Man presence to the point where I kinda almost like 'em. Of course it also helps that the two recent refreshes of it have sucked.

As for the previous 7s, I've never found them to be invisible, and my eye still picks them out of a crowd with ease. Those things are like big black cats, ready to pounce at any time.

The biggest loss for me under Bangle is that some of the BMWs ( the 5 and 7) have lost their athletic look.

Bingo. Droopy sides and smushed rear ends.

But the new 3 series coupe is just perfect

Fully agree. That's a winner, as is the 6 series, be it in coupe or convertible form.

February 7th, 2009, 08:02 PM
Well here is my personal goal in life. I must own these two cars!
and this one

ofcourse im very far from reaching that right now....i only own this car right now

February 7th, 2009, 09:03 PM
Purposeful ugliness creeped into car design in the 1990's: the Fiat Coupe (designed by Bangle), the Fiat Multipla, the Ferrari Enzo, Renault picked it up... I think it was a reaction to the sweet bland designs we were all very used to and expected: the "well designed" stuff by Giorgetto Giugiaro. The cars by Bruno Sacco. I think this sweet look was epitomised by cars like the first Mercedes 190 in 1982. This is what cars were supposed to look like... not a line out of place. Sacco called the 190 design a "Viennese Waltz".

We are in a very different design era now... and Bangle had a lot to do with it.:


The new 1992 3 Series... certainly handsome... but it was a well worn styling formula now shared by everyone... it needed it's hair mussed up a little... is it no wonder BMW hired Bangle?:

February 7th, 2009, 10:38 PM
Speaking of Italdesign, the VW Fox. These little four-speeds are a blast!


Not quite as crisp as the 190 above, but a dream car nevertheless.


1987 Mercedes Benz 300E AMG Hammer (http://jalopnik.com/5147819/nice-price-or-crack-pipe-57500-for-a-20000+mile-1987-amg-hammer)

"...just 19,600 miles on the clock and apparently in excellent condition, and the owner has set a $57,500 Buy It Now price for it."

February 7th, 2009, 11:37 PM
My favorite toy...

February 9th, 2009, 10:07 AM
One last thought...

But the new 3 series coupe is just perfect:

While looking at this image, I found myself thinking those lines were almost Italian, and right there is a big part of why I don't like Bangle. His stuff simply is not German in character.

Previous BMW designs all had a sort of rigid, straight-lined profile that fit right in with the Bauhaus tradition. Best illustrating this style would be the VWs and Audis of the late '90s, which IMO still look spectacular today.

"Concise" best describes this '98 Passat:

I know it's hard to top an ideal form, so we now have bling-nosed Audis (and 'whatever' VWs). But their greenhouses and character lines still say "German" to me, whereas the new Bimmers and Mercedes almost seem to be trying to compete with Korean designs more than anyone else. All those superfluous curves and zany head-and taillights.. it all reminds me of the overwrought stuff coming out of detroit in the '58 and '59 model years. I can only hope a simplification like what happened in the early '60s is around the corner.

February 9th, 2009, 11:07 AM
I get your point and actually I agree. Personally I like logical minimal designs and the Germans and Volvo did that very well. And Italian designers like Giugiaro and Sacco did great stuff in that vein. That Passat was a true beauty. Good solid industrial design. But styles and tastes shift ... sometimes "concise" can start looking tight-assed.

It should be remembered that at one time Mercedes sprouted fins and lots of chrome:


Finned Volvo:



And speaking of BMWs looking Italian.... the 1965 3200cs... styled by Bertone:


February 10th, 2009, 05:29 PM
But styles and tastes shift ... sometimes "concise" can start looking tight-assed.

Yeah I hear ya. But for better or worse I subscribe to the "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality. I find an ideal and then latch onto it with an iron grip :cool:

February 17th, 2009, 10:05 PM
http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcsi.dll/bilde?NewTbl=1&Avis=CW&Dato=20081014&Kategori=PHOTOS01&Lopenr=101409996&Ref=PH&Item=8&Maxw=660&q=85 (http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/gallery?Site=CW&Date=20081014&Category=PHOTOS01&ArtNo=101409996&Ref=PH&Params=Itemnr=1)
click image for gallery

Autoweek article (http://www.autoweek.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20081014/FREE/810149985/1065)

http://www.allardj2x.com/ with video - Leno's Garage, etc.

Being a driver of an original Allard J2X (red 1953 Allard J2X, #77) at Watkins Glen, new and old course, Mid Ohio, the Pittsburgh Vintage Grand Prix, and Summit Point, I was thrilled to get a chance to drive your new Allard J2X on a pace lap at Summit Point. What a surprise to find that when I turned the steering wheel the car actually went in the direction I turned, and accelerated with the smoothness of a modern car, and when I put the brakes on, the car came to a smooth, straight stop. Wow, what a wonderful feeling going into turn one and not giving the 'Allard Prayer' of 'I hope it slows down and turns in.' Your car is a pleasure to drive, handles like a Corvette, and rides like a Cadillac. The seats are handsome, comfortable and supportive, the instrument panel is very well laid out and very true to the original. Thank you for the wonderful experience."

- Danny Yanda

http://www.allardj2x.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_view=core.DownloadItem&g2_itemId=157&g2_serialNumber=1 (http://www.allardj2x.com/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=149)
Inboard disk brakes

Optional 6.1 liter Hemi dynoed at 600 hp :cool:

May 16th, 2009, 11:58 AM
1985 288 GTO, estimated at £350,000-£420,000

1965 275 GTB/C, estimated at £1,600,000-£2,000,000

1963 250 GT Lusso, estimated at £360,000-£420,000

1967 330 P4, estimate on request (mere mortals can't afford it, in other words)

The delicious 4,176cc V12 developed about 480bhp

Auction of MORE FERRARI'S HERE (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/picturegalleries/5330528/Superb-Ferraris-at-auction.html?image=4)


© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2009 (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/termsandconditions)

December 16th, 2009, 01:10 PM
This is toooooo good: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AaHVBov1ajo

December 16th, 2009, 01:58 PM
Whoa... thanks for that... it was great. I took a break, sat back and watched it... beautifully done all the way around and thouroughly enjoyed it.

Now I'm back over at Martha Stewart... "Holiday Treats with Nancy Meyers"... they're making bread pudding.

February 12th, 2010, 03:37 AM
’Vette Set: An Artist’s Dream Collection Relocates

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/02/14/automobiles/14corvette-span/14corvette-span-articleLarge.jpg Tony Cenicola/The New York Times
EVICTED Peter Max’s Corvettes in the Brooklyn garage.


Published: February 11, 2010

AS I carried the recyclables from my Brooklyn apartment to the building’s basement garage one recent Sunday morning, I noticed that my Corvettes were gone. All 36 of them.


http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2010/02/14/automobiles/collectibles/20100214-corvettes-B.JPGSlide Show (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/02/14/automobiles/collectibles/20100214-corvettes_index.html?ref=collectibles)
Corvettes in Repose (http://www.nytimes.com/slideshow/2010/02/14/automobiles/collectibles/20100214-corvettes_index.html?ref=collectibles)


Appreciated, Certainly, but Not Appreciating (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/14/automobiles/14VALUE.html?ref=collectibles) (February 14, 2010)
Courtesy of Jim Cahill
Dennis Amodeo, the contest winner, in 1989.

It was a real shock.

The cars, I should make clear, were not actually mine, in that they did not belong to me in the legal sense. But they had been stored in my apartment building’s garage for years, and over time I’d become a bit possessive. When friends came to visit, I’d show off the collection, pointing out the early models as my personal favorites.

Although the cars were a spectacular thing to find in such an unlikely location, they looked dingy. The tires were flat. The convertible tops sagged. They were layered in dust so thick that cat prints were clearly visible from 20 feet. In the grime obscuring the rear windows, someone had written the year of each car — ’53, ’54, ’55 — a complete set of Chevrolet Corvettes all the way up to 1989.

What a shame, my friends usually said; someone ought to be taking care of those cars. Maybe, my father told me, you could talk to the owner — see if he’d let you care for them.

Typing “Brooklyn” and “Corvettes” into Google quickly pointed me to the cars’ back story: they were the prize in a contest sponsored by VH1, the cable music channel, in 1989. The contest awarded the whole lot to one winner, Dennis Amodeo, a carpenter from Long Island.

Mr. Amodeo might have won the Corvettes, but he didn’t own them for long. Before taking delivery, he sold all 36 to Peter Max (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/m/peter_max/index.html?inline=nyt-per), the Pop Art icon, who bought the collection for an art project. When the project was back-burnered, the cars were stored in several locations around New York City before arriving in the garage of my building.

The basic story was all there on the Internet, and had inspired a vehement reaction from Corvette fans. After an article on New York magazine's Web site (http://nymag.com/nymetro/news/people/columns/intelligencer/11902/) showed the cars in a state of seeming neglect, writers who posted on Corvette message boards let loose. Among car lovers, my father’s idea was a popular dream.

Patrick Gramm, the owner of a Web site, DigitalCorvettes.com (http://DigitalCorvettes.com), said he would be happy just to borrow one of Mr. Max’s cars, the 1953 model.

“We’d love to bring it to the Corvette museum until he’s ready to do something with it,” he said. “And then we’ll bring it back.”

Others who posted messages volunteered to clean up the cars and restore them free.

It’s fair to say that the collection exists because Jim Cahill had his own dream two decades ago. A freelance television producer, Mr. Cahill conceived and produced the promotion for VH1.

“The No. 1 reason it was done was to raise VH1’s profile nationally,” Mr. Cahill said recently. The network, then four years old, was lagging its sister network, MTV (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/business/companies/mtv_networks/index.html?inline=nyt-org). A 1989 article in this newspaper noted that VH1 had only 65,000 viewers a day, compared with 278,000 for MTV.

And VH1 was struggling to attract the older audience it was intended to reach. The promotion, Mr. Cahill said, “had to be big, but the theme of it had to resonate with baby boomers.”

Mr. Cahill, who owns a marketing and branding agency in Los Angeles, Heat Seeking Multimedia, said he came up with the idea for the contest while stuck in freeway traffic.

“I saw one of the original Corvettes slowly go by me on the other side of the freeway, and I wondered why I never bought a Corvette,” he said.

Then he realized that the car’s history aligned well with the boomer generation. “There were Corvettes for the Elvis years, there were Corvettes for the Beatles years and there were Corvettes for the Eagles years,” Mr. Cahill said. “I figured that for $1 million, you could buy the whole set, taking out my entire frustration at once.”

Mr. Cahill developed an impressive way to present the idea to Tom Freston (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/f/tom_freston/index.html?inline=nyt-per), who was president of MTV Networks at the time. He hid a batch of scale-model Corvettes under a cloth in the conference room while he explained his idea, whisking it off with a flourish when he was done.

“Tom said, immediately, ‘Do it,’” Mr. Cahill said. “It was one of the most exciting pitch meetings I’ve ever been in.”

Another executive pulled him aside, Mr. Cahill said, and told him to buy the cars quickly because if anyone called a finance meeting and saw what he was doing, they would stop it right away. The Corvettes were bought over several months in 1988.

“I got to shop for all the Corvettes that I’d always wanted,” he said. “We actually assembled them pretty quickly. The ’53 was pretty hard to find — but there’s that big auction down in Scottsdale, and if you’ve got the dough, you can get the car.”

Jenna Stern
The cars lined up on Pacific Street on the day they were moved.

Frank Franklin II/Associated Press
Peter Max in 2009.

The promotion was a big success, getting VH1’s name mentioned in newscasts on local stations across the country, enticing 1.3 million callers to enter the contest by calling a 900 number (and paying a $2 fee).

Mr. Amodeo was surprised when he got the call telling him of his good luck.

“I forgot all about it,” Mr. Amodeo, now 52, said recently. “Then they called me up and told me I won the 36 Corvettes.”

Mr. Amodeo flew to California, where he was given the cars’ keys by the musician Mike Love, of the Beach Boys (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/b/the_beach_boys/index.html?inline=nyt-org), at a ceremony in Culver City.

It was around this time that Mr. Max heard about the contest. A friend called him, Mr. Max said in a recent interview, and told him about Mr. Amodeo’s good fortune.

“I was half-asleep and went back to sleep after the call,” Mr. Max said. “Then I had the biggest dream ever: I was in the bleachers at a football game, and suddenly these Corvettes come out of the tunnels.”

Each of the cars had a cheerleader on the back, waving pom-poms, he said. “And the whole stadium screams, ‘They’re Peter Max’s cars!’ I’ve never had such a powerful dream.”

Mr. Max invited Mr. Amodeo to his spacious studio near Lincoln Center (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/l/lincoln_center_for_the_performing_arts/index.html?inline=nyt-org) in Manhattan. But the artist’s initial enthusiasm had waned. “There was a part of me that didn’t know if I should get out of it,” Mr. Max said.

Nevertheless, he struck a deal to buy the cars for $250,000 in cash, artworks valued at $250,000 and a percentage of the proceeds from any future sale of the cars, up to an additional $1 million.

When the cars were shipped to New York from California, they first went to a storage facility on the West Side of Manhattan, where Mr. Amodeo got his last look at them in person.

Mr. Max, occupied with other projects and a legal battle with the I.R.S., was not ready to start realizing his Corvette dream immediately. “For a while, maybe a year or two, I didn’t know what to do with them,” Mr. Max said. “I started feeling guiltier and guiltier. What do you do with 36 cars?”

In this case, he shuffled them among storage garages, finally ending up in the basement of my Brooklyn apartment building, which was once a Daily News printing plant. Taking up much of the available garage space, the collection prompted some resentment from residents.

Mr. Max, whose original idea for the project involved painting the cars in the vivid, saturated colors he is famous for, says he now intends to proceed. But the new plan, he said, represents “a blend between what Peter Max the artist would do and what Corvette people would do.”

In contrast to the jet he once painted for Continental Airlines or the racecar he painted for the late Dale Earnhardt, his new vision calls for a more subtle treatment. “I’m going to paint them so it’s respectful,” he said.

Each car would incorporate some of Mr. Max’s best-known images, like his famous LOVE poster or his Cosmic Runner, a striding figure in bell-bottoms and a star-spangled jacket.

The new project, if it proceeds, would include a total of 50 cars — the added cars taking the collection up to 2003 — Mr. Max said. After being painted, the cars would go on an exhibition tour before being auctioned as a set. But the project’s fate hinges on the participation of a business partner, whom Mr. Max would not identify, to provide the money for 14 more cars.

“Can you imagine showing these cars at Yankee Stadium (http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/organizations/y/yankee_stadium/index.html?inline=nyt-org) or Giants stadium?” Mr. Max said. “It would be a fun thing to re-enact the dream.”

In the meantime, the cars have been relocated from the garage in my Brooklyn building to a building in Upper Manhattan, where they await the next development.

“Sometimes the little boy in me comes up with things, but you have no idea how to realize it,” Mr. Max said. “Like a dream, right?”


Copyright 2010 (http://www.nytimes.com/ref/membercenter/help/copyright.html) The New York Times Company (http://www.nytco.com/)

February 19th, 2010, 06:15 PM
Is there something wrong with me when I say Corvettes (besides a few from the '60s) have never really gotten my blood churning?

February 19th, 2010, 07:04 PM
^ The 1958!!

How can you ignore it??

Excess writ large.


February 19th, 2010, 07:05 PM
Corvettes lost their real hotness starting in '68

February 20th, 2010, 03:19 PM
^ The 1958!!

How can you ignore it??

Excess writ large...

It looks good with quad headlights, but 1958 and '59 ... man, those were some of the worst years for automotive design.

February 20th, 2010, 04:25 PM
It looks good, period.


February 20th, 2010, 04:45 PM
The '58 Corvette was a busier design than had been, but still, it worked beautifully.

The '58 Mercedes 300SL of the time wasn't the cleanest design either...



February 20th, 2010, 06:59 PM
^ It's that removable hardtop that ruined the lines. Without the top, the Mercedes matched the Corvette for slightly over-the-top glamour.

February 21st, 2010, 01:34 PM
IMHO Corvette reached it's height in 1967... all cleaned up... fake louvers and stuff gone. The design had been around since '63... but IMHO it was as beautiful as anything else being built in the world at the time ( where have you gone Joe DiMaggio....) :



March 26th, 2010, 01:03 PM
60 years of Porsche in the USA



March 26th, 2010, 02:08 PM
I like Porche, but does that first pic remind anyone else of the WienerMobile? :D

March 26th, 2010, 04:13 PM
Yeah ... the way it bumps up at the back.

The more recent Porsche is lumpy as bad porridge.

March 26th, 2010, 07:29 PM
The first one made me think of a shark for some reason. I like it.

March 27th, 2010, 01:15 AM
This is pretty nice.


For new, reasonably priced cars, I like the new Mustang. I never liked Mustangs before, but the new one looks nice, and the 2011 GT has over 400 hp and costs about $35,000 with navigation and everything else.


For about $30k, the Hyundai Genesis coupe is really nice.


March 27th, 2010, 02:41 PM
For 2011, even the base V6 model 'Stang will be nothing to sneeze at, as its all-new engine will be putting out over 300 horsepower. Used to be that the base ponycar models were thought of as for the ladies, but you cannot make that case anymore -- I'd be more than content with 305 horsies.

How do you guys feel about the current crop of ponycars?

I think the 'Stang is my favorite, although the Camaro is a close second (it loses on account that it seems to be trying a wee bit too hard to be cool), while the Challenger doesn't really strike a chord in me... too big, too dumb.

March 27th, 2010, 07:30 PM
Never liked the closed in feeling with them.

the style on some of the latest models is distinct muscle, and not bad at all, but again, narrow windows, low seat... the kind of cat you only see people from the ears up in. ;)

March 27th, 2010, 08:18 PM
For 2011, even the base V6 model 'Stang will be nothing to sneeze at, as its all-new engine will be putting out over 300 horsepower. Used to be that the base ponycar models were thought of as for the ladies, but you cannot make that case anymore -- I'd be more than content with 305 horsies.

How do you guys feel about the current crop of ponycars?...

I agree with you. I never liked any of these cars, but I really like the new Mustang. The Camaro's body is nice, but I don't like the interior. I don't like the Challenger at all.

March 28th, 2010, 01:07 AM
I think the 'Stang is my favorite,Solid rear axle. Wouldn't consider it.

March 28th, 2010, 03:40 PM
Damn... forgot about that.

Every time development of a new Mustang is underway we hear it'll be getting independent suspension, and then somehow, somewhere along the way it's always nixed. I guess we should just be happy they've moved on from leaf springs :rolleyes:

March 28th, 2010, 04:21 PM
I am unimpressed with the current Mustang's styling, which is essentially the same as the 2005 retro look with only a minor facelift. In the styling department, here is how I rank the new crop of muscle cars:

1. Dodge Challenger 6.1 Hemi
2. Camaro
3. Mustang GT

Was at the Pavilions Mall car show yesterday, and saw these two beauties:

1971 Torino Cobra
1968 Dodge Charger

...now THOSE were styling gems!

March 28th, 2010, 05:39 PM
The first car I ever drove (albeit not legally) looked pretty much like this ...


I'm liking the new ones ...



Looks much better without the Chevy logo ...




Not crazy about the big knobby things for adjusting the seats ...


Unless you're six or under the rear seat is pretty ridiculous ...