Cars are not built the way they used to be. Now it’s all aerodynamic, fuel-efficient curves. The beauties of the ’50s, ’60s, ’70s—even the ’80s—were not concerned with either kind. And from our point of view, size, shape and grille define an automobile. The look is the car.
Certainly there have been throwbacks to the classics. The new Chevy Camaro and the Ford Mustang try hard to get at some form of what was, but outside of the actual shape of the frame, is there any real resemblance to the cars of the past? Not in my opinion.
There have been failed attempts by Chevy to bring back the classics with completely
new designs. First the Malibu and Monte Carlo in 1997, then the Impala in 2000. Earlier years of these models highlight classic car shows; the new designs are forgettable at best
There was one Ford Motor Company make in 2008 that successfully evoked a classic design: specifically that of the 1964 Mercury Comet. It was the Lincoln MKX SUV. At first glance it’s all curves. But then the grille stands out. Maybe it’s just because I spend so much time looking for cars with classic form—and just maybe it’s because I love
the ’64 Mercury Comet—but to me it looks as if Ford may be reaching back for something that may outlast the modern curve.
Automobile designers should look back more often. After all, car lovers can’t get enough of the classics.
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