FISH SCALES

Automobile - - Best & Worst -

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.

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