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car design thread

Discussion in 'Creative Arts' started by jm2, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Rookie
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    No doubt that the weather is far better in La Jolla than Dearborn but Nissan has been wandering in the wilderness that unless one is guaranteed real authority to implement changes it could be very frustrating.
     
  2. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    I know the guys that opened that studio in the late '70's. All former GM guys. Jerry Hirshberg, Tom Semple and Al Flowers. They started out strong, but over time things didn't change.
     
  3. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    Does Ford saying it's not going to build cars (except a few) any longer... just Trucks, SUV's... have anything to do with it....??
     
  4. Jeff Kennedy

    Jeff Kennedy F1 Rookie
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    I remember one of the early guys was from Chrysler - he was (apparently) largely responsible for the Pulsar.

    They had some great early work. Then somewhere along the way Nissan went completely off the rails. No idea if NDI was part of that reason or just a victim of others with more political clout to make horrific design decisions.
     
  5. jm2

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    ?
     
  6. F1tommy

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  7. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    Image Unavailable, Please Login 'A face only a designer could love'


    TESTER’S NOTES

    Autocar29 May 2019Matt Prior

    BMWS: faces only their designer could love?

    ❝ These are the worst-looking cars a manufacturer has launched for decades ❞

    This week’s ‘what were they thinking?’ breaking news is brought to you – it feels not for the first time – by BMW.

    Yesterday I saw a new X7 photographed by a colleague, and later passed an actual, in-the-metal, new 7 Series on the road.

    That meant seeing them both far from the attentions of a professional photographer, someone who might try to capture them in the right settings, or at the right angle – from the back is the best, I find – to minimise the shock and awe of the new, oversized front grille some new BMWS seem to be sporting.

    I’ve been trying to think of the word that best describes the feeling you get on seeing it. I’m currently going with ‘horrific’, but it’s a developing theme.

    What I know is that both times I saw that nose, I winced like I was watching a replay of a grisly sporting injury. These are genuinely painful cars to look at.

    Why would you design a car to look like that, I wonder? Did it look

    amazing on paper, with something going distinctly awry during the production process? Or was it just a design office joke that got way, way out of hand because nobody once quietly put their hand up and said: “Er, boss, this car; very nice and all, but isn’t it a bit, y’know, absolutely minging?” The only thing I think it cannot be is because everybody looked at the finished thing and said: “Perfect, I think we really nailed it there.”

    It’s easy to be dismissive, I know. Especially with design, which is more subjective than pure engineering. As such, I’ve felt trepidatious meeting a designer after casually, perhaps cruelly, dismissing their otherwise quite attractive car as looking like it’s had a stroke (Land Rover Discovery rear) or like a stress-ball F-pace (Jaguar E-pace) because that was a bit mean. But here, where is the line on being too cruel, when they are, to my eyes, the worst-looking cars a mainstream manufacturer has launched for decades?

    I understand that, at times, BMWS of the early 2000s – the era of design director Chris Bangle

    – were controversial, sometimes challenging, to look at. But part of the idea was that, while some car shoppers would instinctively swipe left on seeing one, there were an equal or greater number intrigued by the taut surfacing, who’d think they absolutely must have one.

    And I’m just not sure that’s the case here, unless there is a subset of people who like to gaze upon their driveway in the morning and pull a face like they’re watching a really difficult surgical procedure.

    And so searching for reasons why, or how, BMW would end up here, I can only think of one possible answer. BMWS have had a bit of a reputation over the years. Sometimes the gits of this world have driven them. There was the old gag that indicators were optional, and that if somebody was ruthless, a tailgater, an outside-lane hogger, who’d never let you out at a junction and, conversely, you’d never let out either, it would be a BMW driver.

    It was the kind of person who, these days, has migrated to an Audi. So perhaps this new grille is just the final design touch intended to bring the curtain down once and for all on that era, and bring about a feeling you’ve never had for a BMW driver before: pity.
     
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  8. jm2

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    Over the years, many students and non designers have asked about books relating to the history of automotive design and the design process. This upcoming book by Gary Smith sounds like it should satisfy that desire.
    http://www.deansgarage.com/2019/deans-garage-book/
     
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  9. jm2

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    Someone finally recognizes the importance of 'beauty' in the design process.
    Dan Neil from the WSJ has this to say about Mazda and the Mazda3:


    Is the Mazda3 Hatchback The Best Car of 2019?
    The new Mazda3 is extravagantly equipped and great to look at, especially for the price, says Dan Neil. But it takes more than a nice body to be declared this year’s top gas-powered car


    GETTING IN SHAPE The Mazda3 proves a handsome exterior doesn’t have to come at a premium. PHOTO: MAZDA
    June 14, 2019 1:43 p.m. ET



    SOMEONE ASKED me recently why there are so few beautiful cars being made? Maybe because fewer beautiful people are buying them.

    The market for the exquisite, the well-wrought, the efficient, seems to be drying up as American consumers increasingly prefer the oversized, the boxy, the inefficient. You know who they/you are.

    Consider our fabulous-looking test car, the 2019 Mazda 3 Premium Hatchback. Please. Mazda Design spent much of the last decade, and hundreds of millions, developing sheet metal stamping and paint/finish technology to achieve the distinctive, glass-blown fluidity that it calls Kodo—note the organic quality, the absence of creases or accent lines, the seemingly miles-deep play of reflection across the fuselage. This is a finicky form language, very demanding from a manufacturing perspective, right down to the car’s “trapped” hood, whose corners and gaps have to be exact, all the way around, in all conditions.

    PHOTO: MAZDA
    Beauty in production cars is like what Carroll Shelby said about speed: It costs money. “How fast do you want to go?”

    Other car makers match Mazda’s panel banging and paint quality, but they are all luxury brands. Nothing under $50,000 touches the Mazda3’s exterior execution. Which tells us something important: Mazda has made a strategic investment—a bet, if you like—on beauty, on the proposition that a great-looking car will sell, come rain or come simonize.

    ‘Mazda has made a strategic investment—a bet, if you like—on beauty, on the proposition that a great-looking car will sell.’

    We’ll see. The brand’s car-based lineup has left it struggling for sales in the U.S. (down 16% in May from 2018) in a market dominated by trucks and crossovers. Even if the 3 is a fast swimmer—I mean, it has a swimmer’s body—the currents are strongly against it.

    So let me now, in my capacity as an advocate for joy, robustly recommend the 3 Hatchback, and further recommend the Premium package with all-wheel-drive, sprayed with the “Polymetal Gray Metallic” paint, all for $30,415. Rock solid, ripping fun, extravagantly equipped and great to look at, this little Venus is my gas-powered car of the year.

    What makes an automobile beautiful? Packaging. The first design order is to enclose the working bits—the engine and drivetrain, passenger cell, the cargo space—in a shape that is safe for those inside and out. The simplest solution is a steel box; the further from boxy you go, the more costly it is to make safe.

    PHOTO: MAZDA
    For the new generation of cars built on the SkyActiv-Vehicle Architecture, Mazda developed a process of cold-stamping ultra high-strength steel (up to 1,310 MPa) for the body-in-white—the welded and bonded stampings that comprise the load-bearing structure. For example, the Mazda3’s graceful and slender front roof pillars are only buildable thanks to the thinner sections of superstrong steel.

    Any bulk taken out of the frame makes room for capacity. The Hatchback’s rear cargo space measures a generous 20.1 cubic feet, despite the car’s sloping roofline. The increased use of high-strength steel (roughly 60% of the body-in-white) also reduces mass. Our tester, with an automatic and AWD, weighed in at a nimble, ready 3,255 pounds.

    Even the boilerplate is beautiful: The Mazda3, the brand’s best-selling nameplate worldwide, comes in two varieties, the five-door Hatchback and the more conservatively styled Sedan. The Sedan starts at $21,000; the Hatchback, $23,600. Both are powered by a naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter dual-overhead-cam four (186 hp and 186 lb-ft or torque). A six-speed automatic transmission driving the front wheels is standard equipment; but Mazda still offers the rare and exotic six-speed manual gearbox. An on-demand all-wheel drive system is also available but, alas, not paired with the six-stick.

    The Hatchback comes in base, Preferred and Premium trims. The up-level Hatchbacks include a long list of comforts and come-ons: 18-inch wheels; push-button start; leather-wrapped steering wheel; 8.8-inch center display (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity) with center-console multifunction controller; Bose audio system with 12 speakers and brushed aluminum speaker garnishes; and Mazda’s adaptive cruise control.


    The final step up to Premium buys the slinky black-painted wheels, head-up display, adaptive front lighting, leather seat covers and a moonroof. The AWD system rounded out our test car’s class-above credentials.

    PHOTO: MAZDA
    As our Canadian friends would say, it drives a beauty too. Light for its class and palpably rigid, the Premium Hatchback with AWD feels locked down at pace, sweeping gracefully through country lanes, with body motions firmly controlled and wheels quiet. Mazda’s chassis department dialed in a lot of intention to the steering response—a nice, darty feel at initial turn in, with the chassis firming up quickly with cornering load. Yes, the balance is a bit nose-heavy right there at the n-th, but the front grip doesn’t give up without fight. The front axle has a slip-limiting differential with brake-based, side-to-side torque control. The Premium package also gets paddle-shifters to shuffle gears. They wake things up.

    It can’t be overstressed: The Mazda3 Hatchback’s refined features—the long, tapering nose, the hollowed cheeks, the integrated grille, the short front overhang, the open greenhouse—it all costs money. Every one of these attributes represents a defeat for some very well-intentioned accountants, I’m sure. It’s a wonder that any beautiful cars get built.

    2019 Mazda3 Hatchback
    PHOTO: MAZDA
    Base Price: $28,900

    Price, as Tested: $30,415
     
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  10. F1tommy

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    They deserve credit. I have noticed a lot of the new designs have smaller headlights finally other than Toyota and a few other usual suspects. I think Mazda with the Vision helped start that.

    Has anyone seen the Buick Regal wagon? I really think Buick has it going on with styling right now. The wagon is to good looking for the American public to sell and I have only seen 1 on the road. Plus you don't need a step ladder to get in it. :)
     
  11. jm2

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    Agree with you on the Buick Wagon. Very cool.
    See plenty of them around here, but it's a car town.
     
  12. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

    The question is, how much longer will the Regal be available?

    The Regal is a rebadged Opel and is made in Germany.
    GM sold Opel/Vauxhall to PSA (Peugeot, etc.)

    PSA said they would continue making the Opel cars (Buick, Holden) for the short term for GM, but will stop at some point in the not too distant future.

    GM has basically zero presence in Europe now.
     
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  13. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

  14. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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  15. energy88

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    IMHO, one of the best looking wagons out there. I saw them advertised on TV around the first of the year, but don't believe I have ever seen one in the flesh this far south.

    Interesting article last week if GM is even serious about selling the Tour-X.

    http://gmauthority.com/blog/2019/06/does-buick-even-want-to-sell-the-regal-tourx/
     
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  16. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    As I said previously, we see them around here quite often.
    Several of my GM friends have the Buick Wagons. However, with the separation of Opel from GM, I don't think they'll be around for very much long.
    Another cool wagon bites the dust.
     
  17. Tcar

    Tcar F1 Rookie

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  18. energy88

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    Spindle Grill News for the Stylists amongst us!

    A Japanese car site is reporting that the Lexus RC Coupe will not be cancelled and that another generation will arrive in 2022 and has supplied the below rendering.

    What I find noteworthy is that the spindle grill appears to have been almost completely bred out of existence in the next 3 years.

    Image Unavailable, Please Login
     
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  19. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    Sure looks like a spindle grille to me.
     
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  20. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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  21. energy88

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  22. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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  23. C50

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    Good read
    I clicked through the same site to an article about Bruce Meyers and his Manx. Classic tale, Good stuff
    Hope not posted before
     
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  24. energy88

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    Double dog dare you to find the Spindle Grille on this one:
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    Rumor is that Lexus is contemplating still another coupe for 2022 slotted between the RC and the LC.
     
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