Designing cars ain’t what it used to be. Aesthetics now come well after safety matters, aerodynamic efficiency, corporate strategies, fashion & trend, etc, etc. Some of those are for our best. But I canʼt help yearning for the beautiful cars of the past. Take a look at the Ferraris in production these days. Any of them drop-dead gorgeous? I understand that the F430 needs to be aerodynamically top-notch and I wonʼt pick on that. But, what about the 612 Scaglietti?! That is visually challenged without any upsides on the technical side. The fact that it was inspired by the 1954 375 MM shouldnʼt be an excuse either. This is even worse if you consider that the car it replaced, the 456 GT(M) is one of the best 2+2 designs in history. Yes, the Scaglietti is much roomier, but do you really want four real seats in a Ferrari? I wonder who would like to ride in a Maranello car in the back, especially when the engine is not even placed there? Therefore today the photochop peephole shows you how a future Ferrari GranTurismo could look like and the way it could manage to mix 2+2 seats with some 2010 neo-retro looks. You can see I went for an accentuated fast-back design, that makes those extra seats usable (if really necessary), but doesnʼt totally mess the rear (as it does for the Porsche Panamera). The front outlook was intended to remind of the 250 GTO. However the lights that stretch on the wheel arches ensure this is a stand-alone design, easily recognized. The Ferrari traditional grille is a powerful identity element and I think it should be used more often, especially on GTs. The fender holes are a mix of those seen on the 456 GT, 250 GTO and the (new) California. Decently aggressive aerodynamic spoilers and side skirts complete the GT profile.
Posts By: Andrei Avarvarii
Iʼm about as attracted to vans as Evangelicals are to the Church of England. But there’z one MPV Iʼve always found retina-candy, due to its flowing lines and aggressive stance: the Mazda Premacy. Mazda launched the original Premacy at the same time as the Zoom-Zoom ad campaign that’s become the core of the Mazda design philosophy. Strange and original organic shapes are little by little finding their way from concept (Kiyora, Kazamai, Furai, Taiki, Hakaze, Ryuga, Nagare) to production. For the practical part of this chop, glass stripes in the roof complement the large windows, to create an open-space feel. The cutout in the A-pillar solves the huge (small?) visibility problem endemic to MPVs. For the Zoom-Zoom part, I wanted to make the new Premacy look fresh and include some of the details weʼve seen on the show cars– but not more than the market is ready to bear. The grille is all-new, mixing their new reverse pentagon with a more traditional air intake. Also on the zoom-zoomish side: the lower breathing holes and the organic pattern creases on the side. Wide wheel arches add some muscle and tells everyone (who cares about such things) that this is a Mazda.
Lexus struggled for years to find its identity. Now, that the brand is done teenaging (it will turn 20 next year), we can see clear signs of maturity in its visual language. The manufacturer that had to draw its inspiration form the likes of Mercedes-Benz is now a trend setter. Lexus’ L-finesse brought us two of the best sedans on the market (IS & LS). The GS is the remaining model due to be L-freshened-up. I tried to make this rendering fit between the current IS and LS (that are gorgeous designs IMO), ensure that it advanced enough for the next decade and offered an evolution on the front quad lamps theme. For the first task, I blended elements from the IS and the LS. The proportions and volumes distribution are a mix between the sporty feel of the smallest Lexus and the elegance of their flagship. I tackled the second objective by drawing inspiration from the HPX Concept: front air intakes divided by a chrome stripe (including LED fog lights), a descending edge on the rear shoulders, edgy cuts in the front spoiler and side skirts. The third part was tricky. I wanted some quad lamps that will no longer evoke Mercedes E-Class, while maintaining a subtle connection to the other sedans.
The first Japanese manufacturer that dared to enter the luxury segment and stand against the US-EU traditional players now dares to follow them in blasphemy. I guess we’ve all seen by now the photos of the heavily camouflaged Acura Sports CUV. A particular good thing about the spyshot business is that it eases the shock of the official release. Remember the launch of the BMW X6? I don’t even want to image how that might have felt if it was a total surprise. So, Acura is developing a Japanese X6 in their effort to… I wonder what that effort might be? Keep up with the trend? Go where the money are? Speaking of money I’ve seen a lot of X6es lately in the street. Which puzzles me deeply (and makes my eyes ache), but proves that this, well car (I guess) is a money maker. Now really, back to the topic. I’ve rendered this new model from Acura taking the proportions I’ve seen in spy photos and adding to those the details that can be guessed under the camouflage. Count here the sloped cabin, bulged wheel arches, door handles, mirrors. The rest is recreated using what we see in a regular Acura dealership, lots of edges and angles, a fancy grille featuring at least three different materials and a touch of SUV in the side skirts and front bumper. To make the thing look aggressive I added those evil LED eyes. Speaking of aggressive and eyes, an important component of this recipe is the eye-offending X6ish silhouette that gives that special touch to the car. To be seen soon parked next to the closest X6.
When Mercedes took the desperate brave decision of rolling out what is now called the first modern four door coupe, they were only hoping to boost a little the sales in the executive sedan segment. But the success that followed exceeded all their expectations and gave birth to a trend that now includes Porsche, Volkswagen, and Aston Martin (and to a lesser extent Jaguar’s XF). The only “loser” in this expansion is the E-Class, which looks suddenly misplaced: not as luxurious and exclusive as the S, nor as seductive and exotic as the CLS. Now Mercedes is preparing for round two with the CLS…
In Romania, “Jeep” is a synonym for an off-road vehicle. This says a lot about Jeep’s “blue sky” value– which is just as well, given Chrysler’s imminent demise/dismemberment. And though we hear that ChryCo’s stopped all new car development work, surely that doesn’t include the Jeep Grand Cherokee? We’ll see no later than 2010, if and when a new Jeep Grand Cherokee debuts, complete with a lighter unibody construction and a fuel-efficient V6. My best guess: the JGC will follow the lines of the Trailhawk concept that teased Jeep fans in 2007. Obviously, most of those lines will be “touched” in the conversion for production process. If you’d like to check out my methodology for this chop, make the jump. If not, enjoy the icon while you can.
With the GM – Chrysler merger dominating the automotive headlines, one of TTAC’s Best and Brightest suggested a little photochop action. And so I prepared a hypothetical General Mopar line-up. You can see here the Vipette, a lethal blend of venom and muscle powered by an exclusive V9 engine. Did you find yourself in difficulty choosing between the new Challenger and the new Camaro? Well, despair no more. The Challamaro is here to please all pony car fans. Are you tormented by uncertainty as you canʼt figure out whether the Chevy Tahoe or the Dodge Durango will leave the market first? We figured out a sure answer here, as weʼve also merged the two into one truck. Please note that these renderings were intended as funny-bone-appealing in a time of uncertainty. They were not meant to be good-looking or realistic. I apologize to all of the fans that can see here dismembered parts of their beloved vehicles. However, I have to admit this was pure fun for me.
I decided to join this effort of slowly and painfully teasing the ‘Stang fans with an image of my own. Based on the pictures we’ve seen so far from Ford and on what else I could see by peeking through the camouflage of the test cars, my rendering tries to bring a little light over this new Ford design. Unfortunately the new car won’t be getting anything from the Giugario Concept, nada, zilch. However, the new style doesn’t seem that bad. The side view is new an old in the same time (tribute to the first gen) with an elegant front arch that continues in a side straight prominence disrupted towards the back to form sculptural shoulder over the rear wheel. The fascia is an evolution of the current model (which was inspired by the original pony) therefore already familiar. The grille between the lights is narrower and underlined by a superb bevel that melts into the hood and into the front spoiler. The edgy hood (we’ve already seen spied) has a new “power bump” and creases that lead to the sides of the grille. Clearly not a revolution, this new Stang will get the job done (design wise) and will appear to be smarter and lighter. Even if it isn’t, particularly.
After four generations of on and off-road (more or less deliberate) adventures, Ford’s Explorer is trading in his body-on-frame for a lighter, greener, on-road-friendly unibody. Carfood is scarce these days, everybody has to go on a diet and count those octanes like calories. Ford has already shown their intent into this direction with the Explorer America Concept at the last NAIAS. All the opulence is gone, no more chrome, no more huge-ego. Big cars will need to be discrete. For moderately priced family cars, huge engines are no longer something to extol. If you really need one, than you’d better keep quiet about it. Aluminum, naturally perceived as being light (or the “genuine aluminum-plated plastic”) will kick in for decoration. Simple robust lines will make the fifth Explorer look rugged, even if it will not be as tough as it used to be. My other changes to the concept were the usual: bigger windows, real mirrors and door handles, proper air intakes and cost-friendly materials and finishes. Expect the real thing for 2010 or later.
The eight gen Honda Civic– at least in its European form– surprised everybody with its aggressive-outlandish style. Considering the Japanese manufacturerʼs intention to re-target their compact towards a younger audience, the design was a complete success. But all revolutions are followed by a period of calm. The next Civic should be less of a shock in comparison with its predecessor. At this year’s London Motor Show, Honda presented the Euro-spec Honda OSM concept car. This compact and slightly goofy show roadster doesnʼt look like a successor for the aggressive S2000. It appears more likely that it displays design lines to be seen on Honda future compact models. In this rendering of Civic 9.0, I’ve fashioned a nose inspired by the OSM’s, but wider and a little bit lower. The lights are also related, with proportions that fit the short bonnet of the Civic (so to speak). The wide smiling grille is divided by blades inspired by those on the FCX Clarity. The vent on the hood breaks the monotony and adds a little something to the funk factor.
The current Chrysler 300 was a seminal work, promising a new direction in American automotive design. The car’s funky fresh armored car style was an immediate hit with both urban gangstas and Florida retirees. The 300’s weak, thirsty V6, a crappy interior and waning marketing support doomed the once-groundbreaking vehicle to a stylistic dead-end. Now what? The 2007 Nassau concept suggested a sleek and dynamic 300, designed to disgiuse its girth. But I don’t think it’s going to find its way into production. When people think “sedan” they see three distinct volumes. And that’s not going to change. Manufacturers with a reputation for weird original designs were unsuccessful in this segment (see Renault VelSatis, Citroen C6, Opel Signum & Co.). So I built on the beautiful lines of the Nassau, adding to those a third volume to match the original dynamic stance. Other changes were necessary to make this drivable. Any front engined cars needs some air intakes just above the spoiler. Those and some lights that can be built on this planet are the only changes the fascia needs. Frames on the doors, handles that can also be used by a basketball player, decent-sized mirrors and it’s good to go.
All the “pimp daddies and the people rollin’ up in caddies” (to quote from Limp Bizkit) know by now that their beloved DTSes and STSes are about to join the dinosaurs in the tar pit of history. However, in an attempt to prove that there is life after death, GM bosses decided to mix the ashes of the previously mentioned acronyms into one modern “high-end performance sedan.” (I sincerely hope they won’t be calling it HPS. Cadillac concept cars have cool silky names like Imaj, Cien, Evoq. On the other hand, the production versions seem to be baptized each after an unfortunate Scrabble match.) In the attempt to figure out how this new Cadillac could look, I turned to the “resurrected” Cadillac brand”s finest hour: the Sixteen concept. Of course, 16 cylinders and a snooker table-sized hood aren’t considered cool anymore. So I’ve blinged-down the HPS to try to keep it under the environmentalist radar. As for Art & Science, I’m sorry. I just can’t imagine this thing as an incarnation of the Imaj. I’m confident the new Cadillac is going to be better looking than the cars that will die so it can live. The idea that the HPS could be uglier than the STS and DTS is simply beyond my imagination.
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Audi’s dabbled in small cars for some time. Not all of their attempts have been successful. Despite all-aluminum construction and clever packaging, the A2 was a flop. Audi is back at it, though, unveiling their A1 city car at the Paris show. Considering Audi’s proclivity for up-to-the-second trendiness, it can’t be long before they announce– and maybe even build– an EV. The model would probably share a basic platform with compact VWs, most notably the VW Up! Concept. Ingolstadt’s boffins would need to elevate the floor to provide battery space. The “service hatch” first used on the A2 could also make a comeback on the EV, especially if we consider that it makes a good place for a plug-in socket. Add some chrome and lacquer finishes, LEDs and optic fiber in the lights, some fancy wheels and there you go: small, electric, trendy and premium.
It may have the fastest fastback in the biz, but the Porsche Cayman was born with little-brother syndrome. To keep the 911 attractive, Porsche dumbed-down the little coupe. Not much, but enough to justify the price difference and (theoretically) avoid cannibalism. With cars going smaller and greener, with mid-engine trumping ye olde ass-engined Nazi slot car layout, the Cayman’s advantages over the 911are becoming increasingly obvious. While there’s plenty of speculation about a sub-Boxster entry-level 914-type Porker, I believe Porsche will try and sell the Cayman in larger numbers, while keeping the 911 as a more exclusive model. With that in mind, I imagined an “uncensored” Cayman 2, with a seductive design making the most of its Porsche heritage. I’d like to see the round lights that just scream PORSCHE on all future Zuffenhausen coupes and roadsters. Another weak point of the current Cayman: the side air-intake. Substitute this Carrera GT-inspired design (cleared for take off now that Porsche’s taken the GT off the menu). A few other touches– mirror-mounted turn signals (like it or not, the best solution), a glass roof and LED lights– complete the upgrade. With all the changes the car is still instantly recognizable. Squint your eyes a little; do you see the 959?
The Swedish manufacturer Koenigsegg is no longer happy pleasing two people at a time. (That's occupants, not buyers.) Starting with 2011, a few dozen over-monied automobile collectors will be able to grab three of their best friends (or best wives, depending on culture) and give them a 220 mph ride in a Koenigsegg sedan. The Swedes report that the 700 bhp four-door is immediately identifiable as a Koenigsegg. Hmmm. All of the Swedish street kings weʼve seen so far have been mid-engined hypercars. So I set the photochop machine in motion keeping in mind I had to portrait a classic layout (as far as I know front-engines are the only solution for a four-seater these days) sports-sedan resembling its CC brothers. And all that trying to avoid a supercar-frankenstein-result (see the Spyker D12 as an example). As you can see, I've repositioned all of the air intakes and exhausts to feed that front engine, using shapes closely related to the CCX. The cabin disimulates the B-pillars behind the dark glass and uses a windshield as curved as the one found on the first Koenigseggs. The sporty mirrors, familiar lights and details should all help in bringing the new-comer closer to the family. At least it's not as ugly as the Panamera. Is it?
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