Category: Vellum Venom

By on December 28, 2018

2019 Toyota Avalon wind tunnel: Image: Toyota

Fred writes:

What is it with all these fake vents on the front and rear grilles and valances of new cars?

I admit, I recently bought one of the worst offenders, a 2019 Avalon (I bought it for the Audi-esque interior). But for crying out loud, why all the black plastic trying in vain to fool the eye that these are… what, exactly? Read More >

By on October 18, 2018

1992 Cadillac Brougham Front, Image: Sajeev MehtaCadillac suffered no dearth of cultural relevance back in ’92, but mercifully today’s tone deaf marketing digs make way for a move back to DetroitAnd while my heavily East Asian/European design influences at CCS were no harbinger of global platforms, inauthentic proportioning and ridiculous alphanumeric names, I secretly wish Kanye’s CCS mic-drop coulda done me a solid and went there instead. 

No matter. The “Without the Escalade, I don’t know where we would be” situation is proof that brand-relevant design must remain in modernization/globalization’s righteous quest. Read More >

By on September 4, 2018

Trabant 601 front, © 2018 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

On a frigid Detroit winter morning in 1998, I foolishly argued with a CCS professor over the need for conventional sedans or hatchbacks for our India design projects. Almost a decade later, the Tata Nano’s hatchback design was the justification I needed for believing designers place far too much weight in their creativity. Even if the Nano isn’t a smashing success, it proved the point.

No such worries exist with the Trabant 601: the socioeconomic backdrop ensured the success of Dr. Werner Lang’s creation. Read More >

By on January 18, 2018

2018 Ford F-150 Regular Cab Side View, Image: Ken Grody Ford

Having previously discussed Day Light Opening (DLO), let’s define DLO FAIL.

And perhaps learn why DLOs sometimes fail?
Read More >

By on December 19, 2017

1937 Delage D8 120 S Pourtout Aero Coupe, Image: www.coachbuild.com

With reader feedback always on my mind, perhaps an overview of commonly used terms in the car design trade is needed. Let’s define the Daylight Opening (DLO) and dig into one of the more confusing terms in a car designer’s handbook. Read More >

By on November 27, 2017

1940 Continental, Image: http://www.autolife.umd.umich.edu

With reader feedback always on my mind, perhaps an overview of commonly used terms in the car design trade is needed.

Let’s discuss the dash-to-axle: a notion that’s (probably) been a car design staple since Edsel Ford’s vision for an European-inspired flagship — one which added 7 inches to the hood of a mere luxury car. Read More >

By on September 8, 2017

Sacrificial Tailgate Panel Honda CR-V, Image: Honda/OP

Dan writes:

Hey Sajeev,

Perhaps you or doppleganger Sanjeev have an answer for this. Why are a lot of SUV/Crossovers these days ending up with cut lines along the lower third of their liftgates?

This is showing up on the Ford Escape, 2012-2016 Honda CR-V, Hyundai/Kia crossovers, and maybe some others I can’t remember. Is there a removable panel here, or what? I’ve noticed that this has disappeared in the 2017 CR-V’s redesign, but there’s still plenty of brand new CUVs that have this design feature.

Read More >

By on September 7, 2017

Images: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta

Tell me something: how can one fault Lee Iacocca for suggesting this vehicle — this blend of architecture, curves and beveled jewelry — generated over a billion dollars annually for Ford?

And how could you resist? There wasn’t a Lexus yet!
Read More >

By on July 6, 2017

2017 Toyota Camry C Pillar DLO FAIL, Image: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About CarsThe common road-going distraction of DLO FAIL sometimes forces a discussion with my best friend from the car design world.  While the raison d’etre for the series sadly left us over a decade ago, some cars take me back to our time together, as if his spirit never left. 

If you’ve experienced a similar loss, just know your lingering sorrows are not a burden you must bear alone. Put your brand of Venom on your personal Vellum — there’s plenty of room on the Internet for you. Read More >

By on May 26, 2017

BMW Air Curtain, Image: BMW

Mike writes:

Sajeev,

I have noticed something on newer cars, and it’s been bothering me for awhile now. Perhaps you, with your deity-like omniscience (and access to inside information) will be able to provide some clarity.

As you can see from the picture below, a new Toyota has this vertical flat area around the wheels. And it’s not just this particular model of car — nearly every modern car I see on the road today has a similar design feature, though they vary in the width of the flat area around the wheel arch. Contrast this the Clinton-era Toyo at the bottom, where the body lines follow a graceful curve all the way to the fender opening.

Read More >

By on February 10, 2017

Infiniti QX50 quarter window, Image: © 2017 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

My long-standing personal vendetta against DLO FAIL — an internet-slang definition of black plastic “cheater panels” — takes center stage in this episode of Detroit Auto Show coverage.

Consider this: if manufacturing and design teams cannot decide on the same roof, if they cheat to make it right, did they design something worthy of the auto show lights?

I complain report, you make the final decision!

Read More >

By on January 23, 2017

1

Car shows take Vellum Venom down a psychotropic styling journey: elaborate displays with brilliant interior design elements, dazzling lighting, stunning product specialists (if you’re into that gawking thing), free top-shelf crap everywhere and perfect machinery refreshed by an army of detailers. Many years passed since my last auto show, but I had to come back to get the latest bits of car design. And interior design. And architecture.

Those three in mind, the Hyundai section was a remarkable letdown: the architecture brilliantly absorbed Cobo Center’s impressive amounts of negative area, marred by the mediocrity of a bland-toned Accent occupying prime real estate. Why ruin my Architectural-Digest worthy photograph?

Read More >

By on December 28, 2016

1985 Lamborghini Countach, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

I stood face-to-fascia with a childhood dream, thanks to a tangential connection to Houston’s 2016 Lamborghini Festival. And yet, like all designs born pure and modified to remain relevant, the original Lamborghini LP400’s purity of form is sometimes absent in this time capsule, all-original LP5000. 

But please believe that, LP400 or no, it took every fiber of my being to avoid the typical auto journo blather on this sheet of vellum. Read More >

By on October 25, 2016

ND Mazda MX-5 Miata Closeup, Image: © 2016 Sajeev Mehta/The Truth About Cars

I had the distinct non-privilege of sampling an ND Miata at a Mazda event for the general public, which was also covered by one of TTAC’s sister publications. A gaze at the hood bulges at (slow) auto journo track speeds netted a surprise: there was an urgency to get this cab-backward profile on the Vellum.

It’s no different than being a design student; visions quickly sketched on vellum (lower case) were crucial. Today’s urgency isn’t for my GPA, but for Vellum Venom’s readers (all 51 of you) and for my soul. It’s been too long.

Read More >

By on August 31, 2016

20130806_13

TTAC commentator Arthur Dailey writes:

We all understand that developing a new vehicle requires hundreds of millions of dollars and a number of years. However between the early ’50s and late ’70s, the Detroit Three unveiled multiple “new” vehicles on an annual basis. I remember eagerly watching the first episode of Bonanza, each September through most of the ’60s because that’s when Chevrolet would unveil its new cars to the public.

The split-window Corvette, the Corvair Monza, the Caprice and the Camaro, all seen for the first time on Sunday nights.

Read More >

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