the view through the windshield

Car Evolution - 75 Years of Automotive Styling (posted 4/3/08)

Dramatic changes in car styling have disappeared as the basic machine has evolved.

Kris S., a good friend and fellow car nut, believes that "automotive design is a perfected art form for which no significant improvement is now possible."

"Just as with film 60 years ago (Citizen Kane), symphonic music 200 years ago (Beethoven's Ninth) and opera (100 years ago), everything that follows will be derivative, incremental or imitative. Ultimately, in my mind, it's hard for me to top the ultimate beauty of two cars from the 1960s, the 1961 Lincoln Continental and the 1961 Jaguar E-Type."

"In the field of firearms, they keep making the same, successful guns over and over and over. The 1911 Colt .45 ACP has never been topped. Nobody tries to deny it. Instead, the manufacturers of this gun compete on the basis of finer tolerances, manufacturing quality, custom finishes, etc., all blatant and respectful incrementaliztions."

It is interesting to observe 75 years automotive design evolution of the automobile, shown in 15 year increments:

car blog

I agree with Kris. The primary differences between the 1993 Toyota Camry and the 2008 model seem to be dictated by crashworthiness regulations - more massive roof pillars for rollover protection, smaller side windows for side-impact integrity, etc. - rather than design evolution.


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The facts presented in this blog are based on my best guesses and my substantially faulty geezer memory. The opinions expressed herein are strictly those of the author and are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Probably.

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If I have slandered any brands of automobiles, either expressly or inadvertently, they're most likely crap cars and deserve it. Automobile manufacturers should be aware that they always have the option of trying to change my mind by providing me with vehicles to test drive.

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Don't be shy - try a bribe. It might help.

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