In this Blog post, Fathy Abdelmonam compares classic vs modern cars and find it really amazing how the past can be incorporated into the present, and how old designs can still be relative to this day, or how an old design and can be an inspiration to an even better new one.
First of all, why can’t every car be attractive to everyone? Some might argue that bad taste on the part of car makers and consumers is the reason; however, the real reason is development and progress. Nowadays, every new car must go through a long process in order to meet the current needs – from government safety regulations to fuel efficiency requirements and durability metrics – leaving almost no room for beauty. In this 21st-century, chief designers are in most cases managers. Their responsibility is to make sure the product remains on a certain path. Even though there are exceptions, the final design is always the result of countless meetings and debates between engineers and artists. What does this mean? This means that any great looking car is the result of economics, work environment, organizational climate, and pure luck.
Was it always like this?
New Jaguar F-Type
No it wasn’t. As an example, there is the sports car that was designed by Englishman Malcolm Sayer in the 1960s, the influential Jaguar E-Type. This sports car was called “the greatest crumpet-catcher known to man” by the famous British motorsport legend Denis Jenkinson. Why was this specific car a massive hit? And why did its design inspire some of the modern sports car? There is no doubt that Sayer was a genius, but we have to remember that his real advantage was that he had no restrictions to drag him down, he was free to do what he wants. He just had to make room for Jaguar’s vibrant straight-six engine, and to ensure that the whole package was relatively aerodynamic. Nowadays, you couldn’t build a mass-produced E-Type today even if you wanted to, since it doesn’t exactly meet the safety and emissions regulations. But that is not necessarily a bad thing, because safety and emissions regulations make sure to keep us alive, and to keep the air breathable.
Chevrolet Corvette the Sting Ray
The New Chevrolet Corvette
What are the most famous classic cars?
Since we are speaking about geniuses, how can we not mention Giorgetto Giugiaro? Giorgetto, the Italian car designer was named “Car Designer of the Century” in 1999. This legend produced many revolutionary cars throughout the years. Aston Martin DB4, Lotus Esprit and BMW M1 are prime examples. After all, you don’t get named car designer of the century for doing an average job.
The New Ford GT
Some other famous models from the past have also kept their magic over the decades. For example, the new Ferrari 488 GTB is a long evolution of the 308 GTB and shares that car’s initial design without being anything like the original. The current Porsche 911 has the same story with its predecessors. Both of those cars are eye-catching because they maintain classic proportions without overdoing the details. On the other hand, cars like the current Mini Cooper or the 2007–2010 Jeep Compass have failed visually because their designers couldn’t remake old ideas to meet the modern requirements.
How did some classic-inspired cars standout?
Ford Mustang 2015
One important thing to remember is that every new work must stand on its own, because when it comes to a good design, influence is just not enough to create a whole new form, not to mention that mix-and-match assembly is no replacement for modern art. When you think about it, it is really amazing how the past can be incorporated into the present, and how old designs can still be relative to this day, or how an old design and can be an inspiration to an even better new one.
There are many good examples of old, classic cars that inspired new and modern designs. The new models do indeed have their own distinctive features and original details, but they still carry the same themes they had in the past.
(Fathy Abdelmonam is a writer and contributor at Carmudi)