I love good automotive design. Period. Unfortunately, most cars that have been churned out by car makers over the past 10 or more years have looked pretty much like every other car. I remember always going to car shows, seeing the cool concepts and thinking “I’d buy that”, only to see the actual production car to come out and look pretty pedestrian — all the cool cutting edge features, the slick lines, the things that made that car a standout at the auto show were dropped to make it more affordable to produce, or in some cases, the automaker thinking people wanted boring cars. And that’s why GM and Chrysler have had so many problems (and Ford to some extent).
Back in the Golden Days of automotive design, people wanted swooping fins, space age design, something unique. So I present to you some photos of cars from the past that have been circulating in some emails, that to the designers and consumers were indeed what they thought cars of the future might look like. They were more bold in that the designs, both inside and out, said “Look at me!”, and made people feel like it truly was the jet age. And automakers weren’t afraid to be bold.
I’d have to say that one modern automaker that came close to doing what was accomplished in the Golden Age was John Z. Delorean. Yes, one of the most iconic cars of the 80’s, made famous in the “Back to the Future” movies; though failed because Delorean went bankrupt (and there’s a whole story behind that). If you remember the history of Tucker, or just saw the movie, he had a cutting edge design, one of the first cars with safety features (safety glass, seat belts, headlights that turned with the front wheels, and so on), and made the Big 3 very afraid. So, they basically found a way to shut him down, even before his cars officially hit the road.
Most people think that was the same deal with Delorean. Cutting edge design, gull wing doors, built-in safety features (it was originally to be called the DSV- Delorean Safety Vehicle) like a lower padded console to protect a driver’s legs in an accident, and specially engineered crumple zones to protect the occupants. Early development work was actually funded by Allstate. As much as I’ve wanted one since I was a junior in high school and saw the commercials as well as one at the local dealership, I always thought it needed to be a 4 seater – either 4 doors, or one big gull wing. The photoshop ideas below aren’t great and I could have spent a LOT more time on them, but you get the idea.
Comments of course are always welcome.