If you have a spare four minutes and four seconds (plus time for the commercial) take the time to check out the following discussion over at Bloomberg.com. As a layman, I find these kind of discussions very interesting and would like to hear the best and the brightest, many of whom I know to be connected with auto industry, give a little perspective to what seems to me to be a very shallow look on the subject of modern car design.
The active premise of the Bloomberg piece is that American car design lost its way in the 1970s, ’80s and ’90s, and is now beginning to return to its former glory. There is no doubt in my mind that improvements automotive technology have ushered in a golden age of performance, dependability and longevity, but I am left feeling cold when I hear people talking about how superior the “new designs,” are to the ones that came before.
There were some fantastic designs in the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s and when I look back at the clean, classic lines of many of those cars I miss the days when designers used a straight edge as a part of their work. The Chevrolet Vega and Monza, while mechanically problem prone, are still wonderful looking little cars that have aged quite gracefully. The mid 80s Fox Body Mustangs, shown in the piece alongside both previous and later versions, look especially good to my eye. Of course you already know my thoughts on the Chrysler LH cars of the 1990s – I like them so much I put my money where my mouth is and have a 300M Special in my driveway.
My take is that there were some damn good designs in the eras these people are deriding. Sure there were some uninteresting and even outlandish designs too, but that doesn’t mean that designers have spent the last 30 years sleeping on the job. They were trying new things and some of those really worked. So, tell us now, what are your favorite cars from the much derided ’70s, ’80s and ’90s?
Thomas Kreutzer currently lives in Buffalo, New York with his wife and three children but has spent most of his adult life overseas. He has lived in Japan for 9 years, Jamaica for 2 and spent almost 5 years as a US Merchant Mariner serving primarily in the Pacific. A long time auto and motorcycle enthusiast he has pursued his hobbies whenever possible. He also enjoys writing and public speaking where, according to his wife, his favorite subject is himself.