Let­ters

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De­sign of the Year— ei­ther you can’t get enough, or you want us to get stuffed.

I AGREE with Jethro Bov­ing­don’s state­ment in his ar­ti­cle “Magic M” (March/April). “It pays to be open­minded.” As he said, BMW’s new M5 suc­ceeds largely be­cause of the com­pany’s will­ing­ness to change a bit and step out of the com­fort zone. This should be the at­ti­tude of more of to­day’s com­pa­nies—they should not be afraid to do what­ever it takes to push the in­dus­try for­ward. After all, tak­ing risks and us­ing mod­ern tech­nolo­gies ap­pro­pri­ately is the way the world ad­vances. If all-wheel drive and a new trans­mis­sion make the car in ques­tion su­pe­rior to its pre­de­ces­sor, then it’s the way to go. True, we might lose the leg­end­sof-the-past char­ac­ter of some cars when this prin­ci­ple is ap­plied, but in gen­eral, com­pa­nies like BMW need to stop wor­ry­ing about pre­serv­ing old no­tions of the way things must be and let the pre­vi­ous cars re­main icons. After all, push­ing for­ward is the only way to make new le­gends and to re­vi­tal­ize old ones.

STEPHEN PEAR­SON

Port­land, Ore­gon

CON­CEPT OF THE YEAR

Robert Cum­ber­ford’s ar­ti­cle on the Honda EVs (“Con­cept of the Year,” March/April) brought a smile to my face. When I turned to page 49 and saw the Sports EV Con­cept of the Year, I was trans­ported back 50 years to the 1969 Javelin AMX: same pro­file, and even the paint scheme is sim­i­lar. We’ve come a long way, baby! The mil­len­ni­als will never know, and they will think the EV is the coolest thing ever. But shame on Cum­ber­ford for giv­ing Honda all of the “con­cept” credit.

TIM FULTZ

Fort Wayne, In­di­ana

The best-look­ing cars in a long time were the two Honda con­cepts in the March/April is­sue. None of the gee­gaws that you have been com­plain­ing about. Very pleas­ing forms. They look good in the black/white color combo that the Ja­panese com­pa­nies use on their ro­bots.

HAROLD PARKS

Min­den, Ne­vada

DE­SIGN OF THE YEAR(?!!!) Tesla’s Model 3 (“De­sign of the Year,” March/April) might have many good de­sign fea­tures, but the “in­stru­ment” panel is not one of them. Robert Cum­ber­ford men­tioned that the ini­tial re­veal lacked an in­te­rior. To my eye, that is still the case. Rather than invit­ing, I find the cabin ster­ile. The huge screen looks ex­actly like a TV hung on the wall with no more thought than, “Let’s put it over here.” At least they hid the ca­bles.

DAVE CRAIN

Colorado Springs, Colorado

Your piece re­gard­ing the Tesla Model 3 be­ing con­sid­ered De­sign of the Year brought an in­ter­est­ing anal­ogy to mind. I am re­minded of the 1986 com­edy “Gung Ho.” In the movie, a Ja­panese com­pany takes over an Amer­i­can car com­pany, which af­fected the old qual­ity due to a dif­fer­ence in work ethic and be­liefs. As you men­tioned, Tesla will have some old is­sues due to the way ve­hi­cles need to be built. How­ever, it will suc­ceed due to the work ethic of Elon Musk and his de­sire to suc­ceed. Plus, while things are not per­fect as of yet, part of his de­ter­mi­na­tion is to make it per­fect, in­clud­ing the assem­bly plant. CHRIS ABED

Bald­win, New York

I can’t wait to see how many let­ters you get laugh­ing at your De­sign of the Year win­ner. A car even you ad­mit is nei­ther spec­tac­u­lar nor shock­ingly in­no­va­tive, just a re­ally nice-look­ing car. You would’ve had a bet­ter chance of con­vinc­ing us of that if you had left the pic­tures out of the ar­ti­cle. Then Cum­ber­ford says it re­minds him of a Pin­in­fa­rina de­sign? Sorry, but you were a month early on your April Fools’ is­sue.

SEAN CAIN

Cham­pion, Texas

Wow! The Tesla Model 3’s in­te­rior re­minds me of a con­cept car still in the mak­ing: Make the ex­te­rior pre­sentable, and we’ll worry about the in­te­rior later—ex­cept the Tesla’s in­te­rior is fi­nal pro­duc­tion. It has to be one of the most bor­ing, if not ugly, in­te­ri­ors I’ve seen, and I in­clude the Pon­tiac Aztek on that list! For $60K (as tested) I guess the op­tions list didn’t in­clude add-ons such as di­als and gauges. But 500,000 peo­ple can’t be wrong! Oh yes they can when they’re caught up in the hype and will­ing to pay any­thing for the Tesla badge on the ex­te­rior and noth­ing on the in­te­rior. And all you artsy min­i­mal­ists claim­ing it’s a nice, clean, and sim­ple look—go back to col­lege and get a real de­gree. And I fear noth­ing writ­ing this let­ter ’cause I know it won’t get printed as all you car mag­a­zines are kiss­ing ass to the Tesla Bour­geoisie.

LUIS PEREIRA

Waipahu, Hawaii

Thank you for a fas­ci­nat­ing is­sue fea­tur­ing de­sign. Cum­ber­ford’s ar­ti­cle on the Model 3 ex­pressed well the need for a san­ity that is un­for­tu­nately not found in much of to­day’s au­to­mo­tive de­sign. It seems Darth Vader is now the dom­i­nant in­flu­ence on the face of too many

ve­hi­cles. For ex­am­ple, the new BMW M5 front end ap­pears to have been cre­ated by four de­sign­ers who never met each other and who share only the com­mon trait that they have seen “Star Wars.” How­ever, this short­com­ing is not unique to BMW. Oth­ers in­clude the Lexus RX 350L and too many oth­ers. Maybe car de­sign­ers should be banned from the Force. As an aside, in 1984 while I led the Citroën Style team, we de­signed a con­cept car called Eole. Be­lieved to be the first car body en­tirely de­vel­oped by au­to­mated pro­cesses, with no clay model built, it achieved a drag co­ef­fi­cient of 0.18. We felt that aero­dy­nam­ics was the fu­ture, but ev­i­dently we were wrong.

CARL L. OLSEN

West Bloom­field, Michi­gan

The in­te­rior of that Tesla looks like a 1980s bus ter­mi­nal. Oh, and how are you go­ing to re­trieve all the stuff that falls down that huge un­pro­tected open­ing in the dash? I guess it’s a vent, but it looks like gum, pens, pa­per, ChapStick, and any­thing else ly­ing around will get swal­lowed up. I’ll bet there’s a big elec­tro­mag­net at the bot­tom to sweep it all up.

PAUL HORTON

Win­ston Salem, North Carolina

Re­gard­ing the Tesla Model 3 be­ing the De­sign of the Year: It re­sem­bles a Gen­eral Mo­tors 1999 EV1 with a Kim Kar­dashian rear end. It does have a bit more than dou­ble the range of the EV1, so I guess that’s progress after nearly 20 years.

Other than the fact that it’s elec­tric, the au­topi­lot stuff, and the Elon Musk cult, the Model 3 pretty much of­fers what any other car does.

CHUCK GOLDSMITH

Colorado Springs, Colorado

De­sign of the Year? I don’t get it at all. Was there just no other car to give the award to? I’m no hater; the Model S is ab­so­lutely stun­ning. But the 3 looks like any­thing else on the road, and its in­te­rior is just plain bor­ing. Now, maybe the car de­serves a “func­tion­al­ity” award of the year, but de­sign? And don’t even get me started on the nod to clas­sic Pin­in­fa­rina. What is Cum­ber­ford smok­ing?

DAVE FREE­MAN

Seat­tle, Wash­ing­ton

SATUR­DAY MATINEE

Re­gard­ing Arthur St. An­toine’s Fe­bru­ary col­umn: In 1971, I was 13 years old. My friend En­nis called me one night and said, “There’s a movie play­ing down­town that shows boobs, and it’s rated PG!” I replied, “What’s it about?” In­cred­u­lous, En­nis said, “Who cares? We can get in! Get your mother to drive you there, and don’t tell her that part!” I didn’t, and she did. En­nis was right. I re­call ac­tu­ally lik­ing the rest of the movie too. As an adult, I’ve of­ten thought about rent­ing “Van­ish­ing Point” (now re-rated to R) but al­ways fig­ured that my wife would give me a dope slap.

Now I have a valid ex­cuse: “Honey,

I’m go­ing to rent a car movie that comes highly rec­om­mended by a re­spected ed­i­tor of Au­to­mo­bile.

I have no idea what it’s about.”

DAVE MARCHESE

Hum­mel­stown, Pen­ny­syl­va­nia

Write: Au­to­mo­bile mag­a­zine, 831 S. Dou­glas St., El Se­gundo, Cal­i­for­nia, 90245 Email: let­ters@automobilemag.com. Let­ters may be edited for clar­ity and length. Cus­tomer ser­vice: au­to­mo­bile@email­cus­tom­erser­vice.com; 800-289-2886

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