WE’VE ALWAYS CHAMPIONED purity and simplicity in car design. The simple shapes seen in John Cobb’s land-speed record car or in the SOCAL Special, the first hot rod to achieve 200 mph, are seductive but do not really relate to usable road cars. Still, smooth and simple shapes such as the Jaguar E-type, traditional rear-engine Porsches, or even the VW Golf—which creator Giorgetto Giugiaro insists was a simple transformation of his De Tomaso Mangusta GT—are agreeable and essentially timeless. But when we see cars with surfaces so faceted and complex that they look like they were assembled from small pieces of flat stock in a kindergarten class, we aren’t impressed. And there are a great many such cars available now. Toyota/Lexus, in its admirable desire to acquire some style, has done well in some models, far less so in others. Simple panels assembled in a harmonious way can be extremely satisfying. Consider the beauty in arrangements of scales on fish. Then imagine a drunken fool trying to reconstruct a disassembled fish. There are cars that look like that today.
Unlike Jaguar’s classic E-type, the complex body shaping of the Toyota FT-AC “Adventure Concept” can be called many things, but “smooth” certainly isn’t one of them.