Design by Greyman

April 14th, 2014

Via Glenn, a story opening with the understatement of the millennium: “Anyone who’s ever misplaced the family car in a parking lot at the mall must surely sense that we are not living in a golden era of automobile design.”

When doors open this week at the New York International Auto Show, the grumbling will continue, as it has for the past few years, that there isn’t much new and different to see. The public once flocked to auto shows to marvel at groundbreaking designs created by giants in the field like Harley Earl at General Motors who “styled” magnificent sculptures in the early to mid 20th century. They bore names like Firebird and Golden Rocket. Today, mileage standards and safety regulations largely determine what most cars rolling off assembly lines look like. Auto styling may not yet be a dead art, but the artists have certainly been thwarted. As standardization by governments has taken hold—there are more than 200 safety and environmental regulations that go into building a car—the challenge for designers is no longer to create something uniquely beautiful, but to turn out a product that’s in compliance—and hope people buy the result.

Read on for details on the reason why we’re all forced to drive plastic, egg-shaped clonemobiles instead of the gorgeous and distinctive cars of the bygone age of American greatness. It ain’t just the cars that the Progressivist Grey Men have neutered. This bit is kinda funny, in a sad way:

The cumulative effect of all these changes is a wedge shape, seen from the side, from the low nose swooping upward toward a high tail—the startled stance of a cat with its rump in the air.

It’s even more dramatic when you see the sport-bike motorcycles, with the rider and (especially) his passenger’s rump in the air, like some female animal in heat’s mating ritual of “presenting.” Which, I have to tell you, us Harley guys find absolutely hilarious, and are apt to comment raucously and derisively on if you’re one of those guys riding by a group of us and it’s your cute girlfriend’s ass cocked up like that. And we’ve had beer enough that day to want to have a little good-natured sport with the sport-bike guys. This part, though, isn’t so funny; it’s telling.

The former head of Ford design, J Mays, once observed that cars reflect the times in which they are created. If that’s true, what will auto shows of the next few years be featuring? Maybe better to ask: What will Pajama Boy drive?

Oog. Now there’s a truly scary question. On the other hand, as the author notes, Pajama Boy doesn’t care about cars anyway; he’s afraid of them…which amounts to the ultimate ironic slap in the face to an auto industry struggling to make government-approved vehicles that will appeal to a nation of steercotted, green-weenie pussies that doesn’t want them and thinks we should all be herded onto government buses in the first place.

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  1. RR
    April 14th, 2014 at 21:45 | #1
    "Last July an American Automobile Association study found that millennials are delaying getting driver’s licenses, in part because the smartphone has supplanted the automobile as a teen obsession—though it’s hard to imagine a Jan and Dean ode to the Samsung Galaxy S5—but largely because owning a car is too expensive."

    I'm sure that, in the minds of many, if not most, of those who make the laws, rules, and regulations that are driving up the prices of cars, this is a feature and not a bug.

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