RE: In the eye of the beholder

RE: In the eye of the beholder

Wednesday 31st January

In the eye of the beholder

The way the car looks is at the very cornerstone of its appeal. A fact which hasn't made the subject of beauty any less subjective



The Sultan of Brunei is rich beyond the dreams of avarice. He is also a serial car buyer. His garage is so large, you'd be able to see it from space if it weren't for the fact that your spy satellite would almost certainly be automatically shot down before it got its first broadcast out (the Sultan is notoriously private).

When the Rolls-Royce Phantom VII was launched, the SoB bought twelve of them, costing a grand total of £5m. Besides the regulation fitment of gaze-thwarting bulletproof glass and body armour, each SultanaPhant came with a bijou encrustation of real diamonds on the dashboard.


Jaguar once claimed to have fixed diamonds to the bonnets of its two F1 cars at the Monaco Grand Prix. This story was bought hook, line and pendant by the press, who by dint of their common upbringings can always be relied upon to swoon at a bit of glamour.

But do you really think Jaguar would risk glueing half a mill's worth of ice onto the nose cones of two F1 cars driven by (a) a 21 year old and (b) an Aussie, at (c) the world's tightest race circuit? If you were Jaguar's insurers, what do you suppose your response might be? Believe me, those so-called sparklers were made of paste, and were nothing more than a costume jewellery distraction from the cringingly unsparkling performance of the race cars.

The whole idea of glamming-up a pure tool such as an F1 car was, and still is, peculiar. Surely a car is either beautiful or it isn't.

I once received a email from the Autocar test team asking me and about 300 other nonentities for our lists of the 100 most beautiful cars of all time. It was clearly something dreamt up to fill a space when the staff were off on holiday.


Having spent over 80 man-hours on the project, including three all-nighters in the British Library Reading Room and 45 minutes on the satellite phone with my pal J Mays, you can imagine my disappointment when I received a follow-up email asking 'respondents' (few of whom apparently had) to reduce their list to just 10.

For me, this thoughtless volte-face meant a sad goodbye to the Triumph Acclaim, holding a strong 84th place on my list, a fond farewell to the Ford Anglia (89th), and of course a sobbing arrivederci to the Fiat Multipla, utterly unchallenged in 99th position.

Anyway, the main list ended up featuring globulous monstrosities like the bulbous Jaguar XKSS, the Handy Andy-built Porsche 917 and the extremely Marmite-ish Porsche 904GTS. I never understood why some of my other suggestions didn't make it onto the list, such as for example the languidly brutish Bizzarini Stradale, the mattock-honed Bond Bug, and the perky, not to say pinky, Volvo 340.


Disappointingly, when the list eventually got published I noted that I had managed to own just two of the World's 100 Most Beautiful Cars, namely the Ford Capri 3000GT (no. 61) and the 911 (no. 5). Although I wouldn't say the 911 was beautiful, it does have an engineer's appeal which flatters those of us without so much as an O-level in metalwork.

But the Capri? My one was a shed. Its front bumper was missing, in tribute (I would insist) to the thundering RS3100 touring car racers. The truth of course was that it had fallen off. I never found a credible race-inspired reason for the peeling vinyl roof, or for the matt red paint on its sadly twisted bonnet.

Eventually, a mate of mine put my Capri out of its misery by parking it under a tree which, after a couple of centuries of standing up, decided it fancied a bit of a lie down. I swear I heard the council tip compactor gagging as bent bits of the World's 61st Most Beautiful Car went in.

The raging forums of PH indicate that the number of universally-accepted 'beautiful cars' can probably be counted on half a hand, but can we at least agree on one thing - that curves are better than angles? Even if, nowadays, curves don't always grace the lines of the best handling cars?

Author
Discussion

Hugh Jarse

Original Poster:

3,076 posts

140 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Indeed, subjective.
Funny how time warps (or develops) your veiwpoint too.
For me aesthetic appeal is the number purchase motivator.

SturdyHSV

6,156 posts

102 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
How was I totally unaware of the Porsche 904?

Gratuitous 'modern' shot probably 'ruined' by big wheels that I think looks great hehe


AppleJuice

1,935 posts

20 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
The E60 divided opinion when it was launched. It's aged well and still looks good today IMO:

Agent XXX

1,248 posts

41 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
AppleJuice said:
The E60 divided opinion when it was launched. It's aged well and still looks good today IMO:
Are you taking the p*ss????

Silverbullet767

9,965 posts

141 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Agent XXX in BMW hate shocker!
Advertisement

Krikkit

13,323 posts

116 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Silverbullet767 said:
Agent XXX in BMW hate shocker!
I've nothing against the E60, or BMWs in general, but to call it one of the 100 most beautiful car designs is swivel-eyed lunacy.

unpc

2,022 posts

148 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
I've nothing against the E60, or BMWs in general, but to call it one of the 100 most beautiful car designs is swivel-eyed lunacy.
rofl Too true

Dale487

787 posts

58 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
unpc said:
Krikkit said:
I've nothing against the E60, or BMWs in general, but to call it one of the 100 most beautiful car designs is swivel-eyed lunacy.
rofl Too true
It may scrape into the 100 best looking saloons, I'd never call it beautiful even though time has made it less challenging than when it first came out.

M1C

1,119 posts

46 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
AppleJuice said:
The E60 divided opinion when it was launched. It's aged well and still looks good today IMO:
Absolutely agreed.

They were a bit...woah...at the time. But i think they still look good now.

Same to the BMW Z4 of that era, IMO.

AppleJuice

1,935 posts

20 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Agent XXX said:
AppleJuice said:
The E60 divided opinion when it was launched. It's aged well and still looks good today IMO:
Are you taking the p*ss????
No, but I've just had one.

AppleJuice

1,935 posts

20 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Krikkit said:
AppleJuice said:
I've nothing against the E60, or BMWs in general, but to call it one of the 100 most beautiful car designs is swivel-eyed lunacy.
Compared to these?



can't remember

527 posts

63 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Dale487 said:
unpc said:
Krikkit said:
I've nothing against the E60, or BMWs in general, but to call it one of the 100 most beautiful car designs is swivel-eyed lunacy.
rofl Too true
It may scrape into the 100 best looking saloons, I'd never call it beautiful even though time has made it less challenging than when it first came out.
It's a nice car, but if it's in your 'top 100 best looking saloons' you really need to broaden your horizons.

hurstg01

2,564 posts

178 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
AppleJuice said:
oh my cloud9

Dale487

787 posts

58 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
can't remember said:
Dale487 said:
unpc said:
Krikkit said:
I've nothing against the E60, or BMWs in general, but to call it one of the 100 most beautiful car designs is swivel-eyed lunacy.
rofl Too true
It may scrape into the 100 best looking saloons, I'd never call it beautiful even though time has made it less challenging than when it first came out.
It's a nice car, but if it's in your 'top 100 best looking saloons' you really need to broaden your horizons.
Firstly I said MAY and SCRAPE INTO & I was assuming that we were talking about a group consensus, as per the article preamble.

can't remember

527 posts

63 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Dale487 said:
can't remember said:
Dale487 said:
unpc said:
Krikkit said:
I've nothing against the E60, or BMWs in general, but to call it one of the 100 most beautiful car designs is swivel-eyed lunacy.
rofl Too true
It may scrape into the 100 best looking saloons, I'd never call it beautiful even though time has made it less challenging than when it first came out.
It's a nice car, but if it's in your 'top 100 best looking saloons' you really need to broaden your horizons.
Firstly I said MAY and SCRAPE INTO & I was assuming that we were talking about a group consensus, as per the article preamble.
No need to shout Pew. cool

Dempsey1971

336 posts

105 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Curves are not better than straight lines, as the Alfa SZ proves (at least to my eye), just different.
It's so subjective. I dont like the E-type (it's under wheeled with those inboard tiddlers), but I do like the Porsche 914.

p1stonhead

16,748 posts

102 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
AppleJuice said:
Krikkit said:
AppleJuice said:
I've nothing against the E60, or BMWs in general, but to call it one of the 100 most beautiful car designs is swivel-eyed lunacy.
Compared to these?


This is absolutely horrific!

youngsod

218 posts

117 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Surely I can't be the only 80's adolescent to have thought of this?



I'll get me d20...

Fury1630

385 posts

162 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
M1C said:
AppleJuice said:
The E60 divided opinion when it was launched. It's aged well and still looks good today IMO:
Absolutely agreed.

They were a bit...woah...at the time. But i think they still look good now.

Same to the BMW Z4 of that era, IMO.
WHAT??
Look at where the fool put the bonnet & boot shut lines
Compared to the previous BMs which were dull looking but had a certain class, that thing looked like they'd drawn the shape & then thought about opening panels some time later. Or put the shut lines there to prove how clever the panel pressers were at achieving consistency - which is worse.

AppleJuice

1,935 posts

20 months

Wednesday 31st January
quotequote all
Fury1630 said:
M1C said:
AppleJuice said:
The E60 divided opinion when it was launched. It's aged well and still looks good today IMO:
Absolutely agreed.

They were a bit...woah...at the time. But i think they still look good now.

Same to the BMW Z4 of that era, IMO.
WHAT??
Look at where the fool put the bonnet & boot shut lines
Compared to the previous BMs which were dull looking but had a certain class, that thing looked like they'd drawn the shape & then thought about opening panels some time later. Or put the shut lines there to prove how clever the panel pressers were at achieving consistency - which is worse.
Eh? The E39 wasn't any better:

Plus, it had two different steering systems (r&p / rb), unlike the E60 (r&p).