…we randomly happened upon a classic auto show yesterday (it was taking place in the lot across the street from a hotel we were looking into). We took a few moments to wander around and take in all the beautifully preserved old cars and trucks. I am not a car lover by any means, but I found this ’58 Impala in particular…
…to be a breathtaking piece of design. The sweeping lines, the balance of angles and curves, the needless little embellishments that give it just enough detail to be graceful but not overly busy: Just fantastic. The color scheme, which consisted of the purest, brightest metallic white I’ve ever seen accented by silver trim and perfect red interiors, simply reinforced its appeal.
I don’t harbor any delusions that classic cars were better machines than modern ones. They lacked safety features and had the fuel efficiency of a lawnmower. They were huge and cumbersome to drive. They belched pollutants like a tiny Dow Chemical plant on wheels. But man, modern cars are ugly, boring, and stupid-looking. I rented a van a few months back that was literally a cube on wheels. They couldn’t even come up with an interesting name for it. It was just “Cube.” That is the industrial design equivalent of going grocery shopping in a house robe and curlers. It says, “We have given up.”
It’s a shame visual appeal had to die so that responsible ergonomics could live. In a better world, they’d coexist.