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 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 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 April 7, 2016

Porsche 928 Brown Interior

TTAC commentator Windy writes:

Sajeev,

I just started the once-every-few-years process of shopping for a new car. When I ordered my Mini 12 years ago, I was able to pick from a vast selection of colors and options. Since then, automakers have dwindled down and constrained their available colors. I’ve played the configurator game with many marques, and the choices in color were frankly dismal for most cars.

(Read More…)

By on April 5, 2016

allfordmustangsdotcom

Jeff writes:

Sajeev:

I have a question that I don’t believe you have answered before in your talking about design features, and that is the weird obsession car makers have with exhaust outlets.

(Read More…)

By on January 20, 2016

cover

One of my CCS Design professors had a saying: it’s all about Proportion, Proportion, Proportion. Just typing that makes me cringe. Perhaps it’s a popular phrase for car design wonks, or a riff from the restaurant business.

However, the theory is valid: Imagine if the Pontiac Aztek was proportioned a la Range Rover Evoque. It’s a fair notion. If that were the case, the Aztek may not have been bound for every “Top 100 Ugliest Cars” list since 2000.

Proving the theory is this 1988 Jaguar XJS. It’s a beautiful grand touring coupe because the proportions are right. (Read More…)

By on January 1, 2016

1961_AMC_PRfoto_Designers

Today, TTAC’s editors present their annual round-ups for 2015. Sajeev brings you his winners and losers in the highly subjective field of design.  (Read More…)

By on August 5, 2015

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I suspect there’s more than a handful of Transportation Design students finding employment in the toy business and I know my fellow design classmates at CCS collected diecast model cars. They’re inspirational, personally helping me render light/shadow reflections on the vellum.

Visits to (Pasteiner’s) Auto Zone happened regularly, sometimes with the same higher regard than local religious institutions. So spare me, oh mighty autoblogosphere, from the manufactured excitement of Lego’s F40 kit.

I reckon it’s a designer’s 8-bit nightmare. (Read More…)

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