Eclecticist: Car Design
Show Notes & Research
From the Show
Broadcast: 29th October, 2013
Last update: 29th October, 2013
- Read the feedback, notes from the last show
- Begin recording
- Introduction and description of the podcast, goals, modus operandi.
- What Eclecticist is an investigation of everything from a British perspective by two brothers who consider themselves to be relatively normal chaps. Generally speaking we are laypeople but occasionally some topics may stray into arenas of expertise.
- Who We are Benjamin de-Campos (designer, believer), Geoffrey Campos (engineer, devil’s advocate).
- How We choose a topic of interest, spend a little time researching it, have a discussion (this podcast), publish the notes.
- Why The main benefits of doing this is to understand the world a little better and to prompt further thought and discussion from our listeners.
- The topic we will be discussing in this show is Car Design
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.
(What we’re not talking about.)
- Rwandan genocide
- Mario Van Peebles
- Engines, performance in any great detail.
- Customised cars
- Why did the design of automobiles go beyond making them work better?
- Cars having souls
- Cars being an extension of one’s personality
- Manufacturers tapping into the mind of their target market.
- Differences by market, culture eg, the Brits loving wood. BMW’s E9 series had a wooden rail along the dash whereas cars for other markets had no such bar.
- Form vs. function. Ergonomics ‘The scientific study of the efficiency of man in his working environment.’ OED
- Appeal through rarity
- Evolution, direction, change
- General bilateral symmetry
- Even number of lights
- It’s a face!
- Wing mirrors
- Taking advantage of the past
- Trends and why there are trends? Set by whom?
- miles of plastic
- high ‘beltline’
- huge wheels
- tiny windows – WHY?
- Influence of safety concerns, technology
- Inevitable bulbousness. How much does that explain bulbousness?
- Difficulty of design consolidation
- Evolving materials, processes
- Better materials
- Designers closer to getting what they really want
- Authoritarian subjectivism
- I’m right and you’re wrong and opinion fascism
- Why so strong? (In some)
- Are there any females?
- Comparable interests
- Is it nerdy?
- Is it acceptable to mock and deride enthusiasts?
- Aesthetics vs. engineering
- Status, phallic symbolism
- Brand ‘Design DNA’, family resemblance
- Personal favourites
- Generally accepted major contributions to design, mold breakers
- Lost opportunities and near misses
- Role of the media and vested interests
- Colossal investments
- Recognisable demo targeting methods
- Flying cars?
- Changing taste
- Driverlessness and design implications (beds)
- Homogenisation - diminishing distinctiveness
- Custom configuration, rolling configuration
- Closer interdependence between form and function e.g. convertibles
- Role of computers and big data in design
- Brightwork or Chrome Non-functional elements to enhance appearance
- Cab forward Seating positions closer to the front of the vehicle
- Gill Vent
- Suicide door Doors hinged the opposite side
Various concept sketches
Bentley Continental GT - Like artisan soap
Mini - Just awful
Jaguar - black border on tiny window
Porsche - family resemblance
1969 Porsche 911E
Jaguar E-Type - Bulbous, like a blancmange
Tesla Model S
Ferrari Dino (Re-imagined)
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
- Details about the site eclecticist.co.uk, contact info, next show
- Outro music choice - something open source so we don’t get sued
- Recording ends, postmortem recording begins
- Add intro music, outro, any editing
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