‘Peugeot’s e-Legend is fresh but familiar, cool but comforting’
WHEN SOMEONE glides back into the office after a day or two out and reminds you that they were looking at a ‘future electric Peugeot concept’, you don’t instantly spring from your seat to gather around the art editor flicking through the images. No offence, but Peugeots to fire your deep, significant lust on looks alone have been a little thin on the ground since, well, the one I own: the 205. (A 120,000-mile XS that hasn’t run for five years but that will be spotless and restored and driven to the Goodwood Revival before the end of this decade. Honest.)
But the e-Legend Concept is a gorgeous creation. Like Honda’s Urban EV, the Peugeot swerves the idea of the electric car as a progressive, futuristic harbinger of change and opts instead for the proportions of the past re-imagined. Fresh but familiar, cool but comforting, the Peugeot – like the Honda – is an electric car you actually want, rather than one you have to try to convince yourself you want. Unlike the Honda (which goes into production next year), the Peugeot in a buy-able, drive-able form is years off.
Isn’t it a worry that the only time an unveiling prompts a standing ovation, it’s clearly been inspired by a car from the past? The last big retro boom (in the late-’90s/early-2000s; Beetle, Ford GT, Jaguar S-Type) is now lambasted as a dark time for car design, but are we really so far from those days?
Ferrari design chief Flavio Manzoni once told me ‘we must never do something that we have already done. Ferrari should not include déjà vu’.
A noble notion, but how long can it survive in the face of buyers more in love with the good old days than ever?
Enjoy the issue.