February 12, 2014

Horse 1619 - The Bunnies Have Nice Things, Why Can't We?

I was walking through the bookstore during the week (there's one across the street from where I work; so I'm in there probably 3 or 4 times a week, and it backs onto an arcade; so is a nice thoroughfare) and I found one of these in a set with a 1950's style caravan.

- This car is made from Cute and Squee!

Did you notice it too?

The point being that as we drive around in the 21st Century, cars are styled with influence of the wind tunnel and by people whom I suspect have never been near the old tools such as clay and chisels.
Cars used to be sculpted by people who were artists. The original sketch for the utilitarianian Mini was scribbled on the back of a napkin by Alec Issigonis and so was the original VW Kombi van by Ben Pon. Jaguar famously adopted a droop tail after one of their full size clay models melted in the heat.
In contrast, I look about the cars on the road and am so very uninspired. The Hyundai i30, Toyota Corolla; heck even the Audi range just makes me despair.

This isn't so much my wish or a pine for the things for yore because quite frankly the Morris Minor 1000 Traveller even with the larger 1098cc A-series inline-four could still only put out a paltry 36kW, but rather, that since cars are now made of plastic and have the ability to look like anything that the stylists choose, they why not make something nice?
That wide sort of grille is not common place amongst cars on the road. The Ford Fiesta, Mazda 3, Audi A4, Hyundai i30, Peugeot 308, the list goes on, all go about the road looking like some sort of bottom feeding vaccum fish.

The thing is though, that if car makers wanted to, we can have nice things.

- This car is made of GRRR and Squee!

Los Angeles independent manufacturer Icon builds this truck which kind of resembles a Chevrolet 3100-series from the 1950s. It comes with a 5.3L V8 and throws out 315bhp which can be uprated to 435bhp with a supercharger kit.
It does however come with a price tag of more than US$200,000 which seems excessive to me. Admittedly it is hand-built but that still doesn't make it any more accessible to Joe Blow, Joe Doakes, Joe Sixpack or Johnny Q Public.

Please please please automakers, please employ people who work with clay again. Please employ stylists and artists who work with pencils and pens.
I make mention of this because famously, the initial sketches for the Mini were scribbled on a table napkin at lunchtime by BMC designer Alec Issigonis. I'll leave a copy of some of the later sketches here for all to see and again ask the question:
If the bunnies can have nice things, why can't we?

- The Mini was made from the most Squee of any car ever. Even the sketches are pure Squee!

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