Entries in Design (29)


Reaction to the Production-ready Alfa 4C

As longtime readers know, I really hated the Alfa Romeo 4C in its concept car format. I thought it was overwrought, badly proportioned, and the matte red finish really did it no favors. Now that the production version has been unveiled, I think they really improved the design a lot.  Although I am not in love with it, I think it's a truly nice looking sportscar.  I was hoping it would come in cheaper than 60,000 Euros, but I suppose it makes sense. Just one question though:  WTF is up with that side mirror protruding from the door?? That has got to be THE worst execution of a mirror I have ever seen!


Subtle details on a non-subtle car

The Countach screams for attention, but I am also drawn to some of its refined details. I love the subtle courses of perforation in the upholstery, seen in this shot I took at Greenwich last year.


The Automobiliac Proposes Vol. # 7: Maserati Quattroporte

New photos have come out of the new generation Quattroporte today, and it's a step in the wrong direction.  I fear they took what I felt was a very special car --the last true Italian GT sedan-- and turned it into a mix of Mercedes and Hyundai styling dreck.  Now the Gen 1 Quattroporte always had a headlight cluster that I found unappealing, but the rest of the car was just sublime enough to forgive that one flaw.  With the new generation, the boring, conventional headlights really kill the design.  The rear end is even worse, basically using warmed over cues from the Gran Turismo that don't work well on a sleek sedan.  The Gen 1 rear end was one of the all-time cleanest, most timeless ass-ends ever.  Why did they mess with perfection?

As retaliation, please enjoy my own proposal for the headlight cluster I would like to see on the Quattroporte.  First, they reference the compelling "cat eye" shape of the original 1960's Quattroporte's lights.  Second, they tie in much more closely with the well executed, and crisp grill treatment going on.  I felt that this nicely creased form language should carry into the headlights and front fenders.  Right now there is a disconnect between the flush-mounted Hyundai lights and the super crisp grille and hood treatment.  Last, I decided to outline the headlight opening in an LED ring so that when the headlights are off, you just see a nice clean ring profile that accentuates the shape of the opening. I think you'll agree the resulting shape is far more exotic, more consistent, and more differentiated than what they actually did.

Click HERE for more photos of the new Quattroporte.  Try not to wince when you see the back end!


Objects of Desire: Schedoni Fitted Luggage

Fitted luggage has always been a hallmark of travelling in style going way back to the time of the horse and carriage.  Starting in the early 1980s, Ferrari began to offer their own sets of fitted luggage to their customers, created in partnership with Modenese leathergoods maker Schedoni.  The results were some truly beautiful handmade luggage that slid snugly into the often challenging storage compartments of Maranello's creations.  Starting with the Ferrari 308, each successive new model has had a custom set of luggage as an option. Most of them came in a beautiful shade of tobacco-colored leather with elegant brass fittings.  My personal favorite is the nearly round suitcase designed to fill out the spare tire well of the F40!  This partnership between Schedoni and Ferrari continues to this day. Entire sets of this luggage, as well as individual pieces can be found on ebay from time to time.


For your consideration: Bertone Rainbow Prototype

The same year my Dino's body was built in the Bertone factory, Marcello Gandini and his team were creating this wedge-like design study also based on the Ferrari 308 mechanicals.  Clearly, these themes never made it into any production Ferrari. But you can see many elements here that would find their way into several small sports cars of the 80s, particularly from Japan.  At this time, Japanese automakers had yet to emerge, butterfly-like from their mimetic, unimaginative cocoons.  But collaborations between Italian styling houses and Japanese automakers began to bear fruit. Radical Italian ideas of the mid 70s became the new Japanese look of the 80s, and the wedge went from avante garde to mainstream.