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Eclecticist: Car Design

Show Notes & Research


Topic Overview

Off Topic

Talking Points



Wrap Up

From the Show

Broadcast: 29th October, 2013

Last update: 29th October, 2013


Topic Overview

When the automobile became a commodity, manufacturers felt pressure to not only improve function, but to 'improve' appearance. There are a number of contributing factors in determining a car's aesthetics – the style of the age and technological advances are just two obvious examples. Even with that in mind, manufacturers appear to burn a lot of energy creating generations of cars which bear as little (superficial) resemblance as possible to their predecessors – so much so that any car plucked out of the automotive timeline is essentially a snapshot of the zeitgeist. Why is this necessary? And despite the steep ramp in change over time across the board, why does it appear that so many manufacturers collectively churn out the same car? Laziness or perhaps cars are now fully evolved? Who knows. There was a time when cars didn’t all look the same. For example in the 1970s a Citroen looked like a spaceship, a Mercedes a breezeblock, A Jag E-type a phallus. These days if you gaffa tape over the badge, it could be anything.

Off Topic

(What we’re not talking about.)

Talking Points



Various concept sketches

Ferrari LaFerrari

Ferrari 308GTB

Bentley Continental GT - Like artisan soap

Chrysler 300

Mini (re-imagined)

Mini - Just awful

Jaguar - black border on tiny window

Porsche - family resemblance

1969 Porsche 911E

Jaguar E-Type - Bulbous, like a blancmange

Nissan Juke

Tesla Model S

Ferrari Dino (Re-imagined)

Ferrari Dino

Lamborghini Countach LP400 - Distinctive, industrial

Volvo V70 estate

BMW 2800CS 1971 - Glass bubble

Tucker - 3 eyed turkey look

1957 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz - Droopy lids

Range Rover Evoque - Stingey on the glass

2013 Ford Mondeo - the mouth phenomenon

Cadillac Eldorado - big box with variable chrome

Honda prototype - used soap

2013 BMW 640i - Looks like a lot of other ‘in class’ saloons

Covini C6W - looks off


Wrap Up

From the Show

Notes taken during the show

Fighter jet polycarbonate canopies tested for possible use in F1 cars, BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/newsbeat/14199629

‘The Homogenization of the Car’ Lecture, http://lfb.org/today/the-homogenization-of-the-car/

‘Negative Trends in Modern Car Design’ Article, http://www.speedlimit.org.uk/trends.html

Ford may not have scavenged junk yards to determine which car parts don’t decay: http://www.snopes.com/business/genius/fordpart.asp