Posts By: Andrei Avarvarii

By on May 9, 2008

mazda_3_mk_ii_ttac_01_02.jpgMazda's got the zoom-zoom thing wired lately. Their recent models– the second wave of 6s and 2s– are looking gooood. Both of these cars seem very mature yet fresh. Although they're all Mazdas in every way, the smaller one appears cute and playful, while the 6 is serious and elegant. The second generation  3/Axela/Mazdaspeed3, due out later this year, is looking to hit the middle ground. And what do you get if you mix playfulness and energy with good looks? A sexy show-off. That's what the new 3 will be about: an evolution of the concept, but more daring and sleek. Another winner.

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on May 5, 2008

honda_roadster_s_ttac_01_01.jpgThe S2000 will soon get a ten-candle cake, an excellent innings for any model. Unfortunately for fans of Honda's VTEC pocket rocket, continuously decreasing sales could make this anniversary its last. There have been numerous rumors about the successor of the S2000; the new one could be bigger, a four-seater and/or a coupe. Shots of a Honda test mule using an S2000 elongated platform fueled these murmurings. Others believe that a mext-gen Honda roadster could move downscale to compete with the Mazda MX-5/Miata. Personally, I'm going with plan B. I can see a future Honda S roadster with engines ranging from a cheap 1.6-liter to the high-rev 2.0-liter owners (although not our RF) enjoy so much on the current S2000. The photochop crystal ball provides an evolution of the S2000 design with the aggressiveness enhanced by the big air intakes and the high-tech optic units. Next year, Honda will celebrate their 60th anniversary. I bet the new S2000 (launched when they celebrated half a century) will be jumping out of the cake.

By on May 2, 2008

vw_pickup_ttac_01_02.jpgVolkswagen has been toying with the pickup segment since the 2000 Advanced Activity Concept (AAC), a prototype that blended a luxurious premium interior with… a truck. As Elvis monologued, honey why I've never known (you LIED when you said you loved me; and I had no cause to doubt you). Anyway, the AAC was more of a prelude for the Touareg than a serious design exercise for a production pickup. Almost a decade later, VW's finally going for it, offering a competitor to the Toyota Tacoma, Nissan Frontier, et al. Spy photographs indicate that the VeeDub will lose the chrome, Alcantara and all the rest of the upmarket bits that don't look so hot when they're splattered with mud. Black plastic fender flares, bumpers and mirror casings will provide the requisite heavy-duty attitude and affordable price (U.S. full-size pickups are as cheap as chips these days). It's expected to be available as a single cab and double cab– and even in a full SUV version. Is this the small pickup American pistonheads have been pining for?

By on April 28, 2008

lexus-_hatch_s_ttac_01_01_01.jpgLexus recently revealed product plans that include an entry-level model. Most likely (and logically) it will be a hatch. Being a Lexus, it has to use rear-wheel drive, making it the second hatch with the correct wheels driving it (following BMW's 1-Series). And what a hot hatch that will be! Even better handling than the IS due to lesser weight, a lot roomier than the BMW competitor and maybe even better looking. I tried my hand with the L-finesse brush on this one and envisioned something that would fit smoothly in the current Lexus range; no (unpleasant) surprises. By the way, I have in the back of my head an image of a Lexus hatchback concept car from the beginning of the ‘90s. Do any of you remember that? I wasn't able to find any info on it around the web.

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on April 25, 2008

bmw-z4_mkii_ttac_01_02_03.jpgbmw-z4_mkii_ttac_01_01_03.jpgThe Z4 was the vehicle that began the "flame surfacing" controversy, splitting fans of the brand into lovers and haters. And now the new Z4 gets to be the car to end the crisis, apparently. It will feature BMW's new "cooled down flame surfacing." Spyshots of the car are all over the internet showing the sizes and proportions of the new car along with an interesting detail, a folding hardtop. I'm curious if BMW will offer the car with both a soft-top (for the romantic) and a hard-top (for the prosaic). I know they avoided this solution so far because it affects the roof design. However the 3-Series CC with its three-piece folding roof is a design success. It doesn't look as "big in the derriere" as some of the competitors. Now, back to my guess on the Z4 MkII. I've used some influences from the CS Concept (the only thing they showed lately that could give away their future designs) and tried to keep in mind that "simple is better." The little things ensure the car is still a case of "love it or hate it," which I think is how a Z4 (flame surfaced or not) should be. A car that everyone considers to be "fine" is just boring.  

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on April 21, 2008

lotus_eagle_s_ttac_01_01_01.jpgIt's nice to see that Lotus is finally stabilizing– at least to the point where it can afford to develop their model range. In these fuel conscious times, legendary Lotus founder Colin Chapman's philosophy of increasing performance by "adding lightness" is due for a major resurgence. As fans of the brand know, Lotus will soon release a brand new 2+2 coupe. It's reportedly larger than the Europa (and hopefully prettier); a promising successor for the Esprit. We also know that the new car will use the Europa/Exige platform with a slightly elongated wheelbase. This reminded me of the attractive Lotus M250 concept car from 2000. Many elements of that car are suited for a production version. So I freshened it up and trimmed it for assembly. And yes, there's gold in them thar' hills!

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on April 18, 2008

audi_a3_mkiii_ttac_01_01_02.jpgThe second generation A3 has recently received a facelift that is supposed to keep the clientèle interest alive until the next model arrives. But, car cosmetic surgery can't be very subtle, and everyone can tell that the face of the 2008 A3 was artificially rejuvenated. The fancy over-LEDeed lights look somehow out of place on the still elegant (but now old) body of the Audi hatch. That got me into considering the third generation A3 that will get all the new Audi-design-goodies at once. I'm talking about the slightly curved side line, the new side skirt emboss (see A5 and new A4), or the mirrors à la TT. I'd also like to see some different front lights on the A3. The ones used on the larger models are too similar in my opinion. I didn't break the connection with the past; I went for an evolution of the traditional A3 lights with a little more anger and only a touch of high-tech (I think too many LEDs in there get the things confusing). A glass roof and frameless doors should help differentiate even more the Audi from the rest of the VAG Golf/Rabbit based hatches.

By on April 14, 2008

toyota_avensis_iii_s_ttac_01_01_01.jpgI often ask myself why Asian manufacturers don't try to establish a stronger visual identity. I wish I could know at first glance to which brand a Japanese car belongs. You can always tell a BMW (although you can't tell it much). Toyota and other Asian manufacturers seem to be going through a continuous struggle to find their identity. Every new model is a step forward– in a different direction. They're caught in fast shifting currents of contemporary design, just trying to keep their heads above water. Toyota has a chance to establishing a distinctive, brand-specific beachhead with the third generation Avensis, due for launch next year. I'd like to see a major departure from the traditional Toyota design. Honestly? I don't think it's going to happen. Photos of test vehicles show a more dynamic and ascending side line, big head lights curved along the corners and a new grille. To me it looks already dated. Maybe they are saving the "cool stuff" for Scion.

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on April 7, 2008

renault_megane_iii_s_ttac_01_01_01.jpgLast week I wrote about how Lexus production models look a lot better than their concept cars. Well, with Renault it seems to be the exact opposite. Try to remember the VelSatis concept car that was quite appealing (in a French way) but turned into one of the most hideous pseudo-sedans ever. Same for the Koleos, that was initially an original and tasteful design, but became an SUV cliché as a production vehicle. This year in Geneva Renault brought us the Megane Coupe Concept, as a preview for the third generation of their C-segment player. While not being exactly production-oriented with its large gullwing doors and the hotter-than-Scirocco low profile, the car still has many styling elements that can be used on the third Megane. If Renault manages to break the "turn nice concepts into weird production cars" pattern we might see the first good-looking Megane soon.

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on April 4, 2008

lexus_rx_mkiii_ttac_01_02.jpgI've noticed that production cars from Lexus generally look better than their concepts. The show cars usually have exaggerated design features and all sorts of elements that intersect strangely or melt one into the other. Let's hope that this rule will be kept for the third RX (due for release next year). I say that because the LF-Xh concept car that was meant to preview the next RX features what seems to be a new Lexus design approach that could be called brick-finesse. Fortunately, the RX test vehicles that have been spotted so far show a sleeker silhouette that would be a natural and logical evolution of the model under their camouflage. From the LF-Xh concept I kept the few details that could be used and I added a pair of fresh headlights that fit with the Lexus family. In comparison with the current RX, note the bigger dimensions and the L-finesse accents.

 [For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on March 31, 2008

vw_golf_vi_s_ttac_01_01_01.jpgVW, arguably the inventor of the hot hatch (with the 1977 Golf GTI), recently released their coolest representative of the segment: the new Scirocco. I know they're marketing it as a coupe, but really, does it feel like one? Does it seem connected to the original Scirocco by anything more than name? Is it as sleek as the Corrado? I think this new car could be considered the very definition of a hot hatch, but nothing more. This makes me wonder if there's still room for the next Golf GTI (the Mk VI) in the Veedub range? Cannibalism was never seemed like something VAG worried about. Their model line-up development principle seems to be "more fishing rods into the pond equal more fish." But, they can't just rebadge a Scirocco and make it the next 3-door Golf/Rabbit GTI, can they? The spy photographs made available so far show a boxier design, with large windows and an obvious improvement of the interior space. Considering all the things mentioned above I've rendered what could be the next GTI: an uglified Scirocco with better visibility, better head room and more trunk space. If you were a fish in the hot hatch consumer pond, which lure would you find more attractive?

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on March 28, 2008

audi_a7_ttac_01_01_01.jpgThe CLS fever seems to be getting everyone. VW is already a victim, Porsche, Aston Martin, Audi and others announced that they will show the first symptoms pretty soon. I have to admit I don't feel quite well myself. And this would be the only thing to explain why I like the CLS, product of a brand that I otherwise consider boring and monotonous. But why is the CLS so contagious? Well, a mélange between a sports-car and a sedan is what every motor-head dreams. An indecently sexy body with four door access, excellent dynamics with good comfort is everything you could want from a car. No wonder that Audi decided to join the fiesta with their future A7, a cocktail of A8 and A5 with just a few drops of TT. I'd like to see a few classy curves à la A5 and a low roof line joined together in an elegant manner on the car. I also hope for some dynamic headlights (I find the one used on the A5 or the new A4 a bit bulky). I don't think that the chunky wheel arches are appropriate for this car, but they appear on the Audi official sketch shown a while ago So I felt obligated to use them.

By on March 25, 2008

dino.jpgAfter months of playing hide and seek with the carparazzi, the Italians are finally (intentionally or not) losing the game. "Sneak peaks" are all over the web. Although the new model is only 33 percent official, we’ll probably be seeing the baby Ferrari this autumn in Paris. As every new horse-badged Italian makes pistonheads blue with anticipation, I've used the photochopping dream machine to ease their… minds. We known the "Dino" (which was its own brand way back when) will be a front-engined coupe, based on a Maserati platform, positioned somewhere between the Grantourismo and the F430. I went for a mixture of retro lines and high-tech accents. I think that's the essence of Ferrari: an illustrious heritage continuously enriched with the latest technological achievements. To connect the design with its “Dino” roots, I used the hood tri-opening vents from the original. To complete the picture, I’ve added the required amount of Maranello red. Andiamo bella!

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on March 22, 2008

dodge_viper-v2.jpgI'd never own a Viper, but I'd love to drive one. As would millions of enthusiasts. In fact, the "wikkid car but even people who worship it end-up doing so from afar" is an entire genre (currently heading down market with the Pontiac G8 GT). Anyway, let's suppose the U.S. economy suddenly recovers and Chrysler decides it needs a halo car for the Dodge brand (gotta sell those Durangos) and… Anyway, how should the next, entirely theortetical Viper look? I am a big fan of the 1992 RT/10. I'd like to see its side vents make a come-back. I'd also like a sharper noise with some creases following the white stripes (those would look cool even if the paint is monochromatic). Then I'd place a black inner fold on the sides to emphasize the skirts, also as a tribute to the RT/10. Finally I'd add some lights that are completely new, but you could guess you'd seen them before. Voila! The Viper macho-look is completed.

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

By on March 19, 2008

peugeot_608_s_ttac_01_01_01.jpgIt is no secret that the premium sedan market is a German playground. No matter how hard the outsiders try, they have a real tough when it comes to beating Audi, Mercedes, and BMW at their favorite game. French manufacturers strive to address this issue by throwing in their well-known non conformism. Citroen, a traditional individualist, seems to be the best at this with their luxury-hatch, the C6. Renault used the same hatchback approach in the VelSatis, unfortunately in a less inspired way. The only French manufacturer to stick to the traditional tricorp body is Peugeot with the 607. This doesn't seem to be a very successful solution either. Maybe the best way towards a successful French sedan is a compromise between the aforementioned. Peugeot showed us what the future is going to look like last year in Geneva with the 908 RC Concept. I tried to see how the futuristic lines of the show-car can be translated onto a production version. Does this stand a chance against a 5-Series or an A6? I don't really think so, but it's a noble effort.

[For more Avarvarii photochopistry, click here]

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