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Thread: Stop stylists from ruling our car design!

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    Default Stop stylists from ruling our car design!

    Isn’t this a strange topic? If not stylists, who design our cars?

    Before answering these questions we’d better to understand today’s stylists. Those artists were graduated from Royal College of Art or Art Center of Design or blah blah blah, live in houses with lots of artistic masterpieces, drive Ferrari Dino 206 or Mercedes 300SL to work, without much knowledge about mechanical engineering and aerodynamics. Their ultra-imaginative minds love to create concept cars with 20-inches wheels, windscreen with 15º inclination, bubble glass roof without any rollover protection, gullwing or scissors doors, or cars without B-pillars. Some concept roadsters have half-size windshield, letting the occupants enjoying 150mph air flow as breakfast. Some stylists gave 20mm suspension travel to an ultra-low sports car and called it "Bentley Hunaudieres". Some borrowed all the useless features from a classic car and called it "New Beetle".

    Because of their skin-deep knowledge about cars, their "masterpieces" usually have to be greatly reshaped for space, ease of access, safety or aerodynamic reasons and ditches many production-impossible element. After the process, their cars become unexpectedly ugly, too ugly to link back to the original sketches.

    And then you say: Doesn't the Audi TT look terrific?


    Well, from the bold fat proportion and high shoulder line it seems to be a safe design being able to accept all the practical needs. In fact it isn’t. The TT has a drag coefficient of 0.35, the highest of its kind I heard for more than a decade. For such a high performance car you must expect a low aerodynamic lift generated, but the TT once again let us down with its 418N / 567N front and rear lift measuring at 120mph, versus Volkswagen Golf’s 19 / 340N. No wonder Germany magazine Auto, Motor und Sport reported severe high-speed stability problem during a comparison test against TT’s close sister, Audi S3 and VW Golf 4motion. Among the trio, TT is the most powerful and the fastest, it should generate the least lift!

    Thanks to American stylist Freeman Thomas, who also designed the New Beetle. He gifted the TT an unforgettable shape having a large area liftback in an inclined angle of 30 to 40 degrees, which generates the most unstable air flow according to aerodynamists. The liftback curve smoothly towards not only the tail edge but over the swoopy boot lid towards the ground ! This increases the effective area the aerodynamic lift acted on.

    I can imagine what the aerodynamists from Ingolstadt thought after their first sight at the show car in 1995 Frankfurt motor show. I can imagine how they debate with Mr. Thomas in the management meeting whether to re-design the car. I can imagine the stylist won the battle, but this was also the battle against real drivers.

    This is why I shout "Stop Stylists from Ruling our Car Design !"

    Considering its Golf-root, with just 89mm taken out of the wheelbase, the TT should have provided sounded comfort and convenience. But reality is completely different : those who tested it reported horrible visibility all round, thanks to the unnecessarily high shoulder / bonnet / boot line and the unnecessarily low roof line. Also thanks to the roof, mind your head when you’re getting in or out. The rear seats should have been suitable for teenagers, but the swoopy rear window actually limit passengers to 150cm of height (as stated in the warning label). I can’t remember how old when I was 150cm tall. Here you see how an imaginative stylist wasted a good material.

    Go back to the history, you’ll find most of our favourite classic designs come from engineers, e.g. the Beetle was designed by chief engineer Ferdinand Porsche, Mini by Sir Issigonis, Jaguar SS and XK by Sir William Lyon, who also led the team designing the beauty of the Century, E-type. The 911 was penned by Ferry’s son, stylist Butzi Porsche, but it followed the shape defined by Ferry’s own 356. In these cars you see perfect combination between style and function, if somewhat bounded by contemporary technology.

    The stylist era started by several Italian studios, namely Pininfarina, Bertone, Zagato and Ghia. Instead of designing mass production cars for car makers, they made money by building special edition on platforms supplied by car makers, enclosing those platforms with

    bodies designed, engineered and built by themselves. Therefore they were called "coach-builder". The coach-builders did not really involve mass production design or have their own mass production line until well after the World War II, by then, they were already experts of car engineering so that they knew how to design a beautiful shape without sacrificing practicality. Look at the latest Alfa GTV and Peugeot 406 Coupe and you’ll understand.

    Sure, there are guys like Marcello Gandini who have no engineering background and having uncompromising character, but their services are usually bounded to exotic supercars. It is GM of the 50’s brought us the styling gimmicks to everyday cars - super long boot, conical rear lights, aircraft-style vertical rear wings etc. - to distinguish its wide range of similar products. Styling became a matter of fashion.

    During the past decade, many car makers established their own studio, employed several to a dozen fresh-graduated stylists. As a result, imagination has been replacing coach-builder’s experience and reflected in modern car design.

    Today’s stylists have to deal with more practical constraints, not only because of the demands feedback from the market but also because of the advance of aerodynamics research and the popularity of platform sharing. Stylists must have basic knowledge of aerodynamics and work closely with engineers. Studio having their own wind tunnel would be even better, such as Pininfarina. Without putting aerodynamics into consideration from the beginning, Ferrari 360 Modena would have been never achieved superior downforce yet looks "reasonably" beautiful.

    Mr. Freeman Thomas once criticised BMW’s Z3 and Z07 as "going backward" while his Audi is "going forward". The former statement is in no doubt but the latter is quite questionable, at least from engineers’ viewpoint. What makes a ’86 Ferrari Testarossa looks advancer than the original ’58 Testa Rossa is the aerodynamical shape and the improvement of craft and material. Don’t tell me it is the exaggerate side grilles !

    - Mark Wan.

    http://autozine.kyul.net

    --------

    I have been thinking this all along. I was surprised to find an article that actually brought up some support for my views.
    Last edited by Mikko; 11-22-2002 at 07:29 AM.

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    That Website http://autozine.kyul.net has tons of info!! the archives are insane!...Im Reading up on this huge Essay about the MK1 MR2.... so much i didnt know,really makes me appreciate my car alot more!

    "In June 1984, Toyota unveiled the best sports car it had ever made, MR2"
    "Car Manufacturers give us a well engineered basic car but leave it's real development to us."

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    heheh, yup, It's my favourite auto website. I read there often and there's always a ton more to read about.. argh. I'm trying to find info of the Toyota Supra there but I've been unsuccessful so far. It's all categorized in new and old, etc. Many cars are quite hacked down upon though, so you just happen to have a great car. Good source to find out the essentials for what one can expect from a car.



    One single guy did that all by himself. Mark Wan..crazy Hong Kong guy. I even emailed him once and he said "Thank you for your strange email" as a starter.
    Last edited by Mikko; 11-22-2002 at 07:33 AM.

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    Originally posted by Mikko
    heheh, yup, It's my favourite auto website. I read there often and there's always a ton more to read about.. argh. I'm trying to find info of the Toyota Supra there but I've been unsuccessful so far. It's all categorized in new and old, etc. Many cars are quite hacked down upon though, so you just happen to have a great car. Good source to find out the essentials for what one can expect from a car.



    One single guy did that all by himself. Mark Wan..crazy Hong Kong guy. I even emailed him once and he said "Thank you for your strange email" as a starter.
    I was very suprised that 1 guy made that whole site, (although alot of that info is archived from other sites im sure )

    Yeah i noticed that ALOT of cars are missing because of the "new" and "Classic" categorys....The Article Didnt really mention 1 bad thing about the MR2, and it is a BIG article!.....makes me appreciate my car THAT much more!
    "Car Manufacturers give us a well engineered basic car but leave it's real development to us."

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    Wow, This site is great!

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    great sirw however I had trouble finding info on my mr2
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    Default Re: Stop stylists from ruling our car design!

    Originally posted by Mikko
    Because of their skin-deep knowledge about cars, their "masterpieces" usually have to be greatly reshaped for space, ease of access, safety or aerodynamic reasons and ditches many production-impossible element. After the process, their cars become unexpectedly ugly, too ugly to link back to the original sketches.
    This statement is true. The designers create a "feel" and... hey, if it loses some of the original look due to practicality then they don't seem to care.
    Green, GREEEEEN!!!

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    seems as though we have gone back to the ol' days (50's) in the US when a designer would create a car, then the engineers would have to build the mechanics around the body design. That is not the best way to go about it...

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    Originally posted by hjr
    seems as though we have gone back to the ol' days (50's) in the US when a designer would create a car, then the engineers would have to build the mechanics around the body design. That is not the best way to go about it...
    haha cars from the 50s were insane no one wore seatbelts and instead of the car taking the impact of the crash the drivers took it...
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    that's because the things were tanks. back in the day the thought was the more solid to car, the less damge will be done to the car. unfortunately, they forgot to factor in the fact that if the outside doesn't absorb the impact, whatever is inside is going to, ie. the driver.
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    i dont think the beetle will be going fast enuff to care about lift
    Listen fam, she had a big rack of lamb
    And they caused mad problems like math exams
    Ask my man, her tits caused traffic jams

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    Mr Bond (rice-daddy) - The Audi TT will care though.

    The latest trend is definitely to raise the shoulder lines and have more and more sloped windscreens. Higher dashboards..bla bla. Limiting visibility among other things. Rear seat headroom is often also limited due to sedan shapes that slope too sharply. I can't believe they actually sell a Toyota Yaris/Vitz in Canada and made it into a sedan and call it an Echo. The rear seats on the hatch versions are tiny enough! Bah. Shape over function it seems.

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    Mark Wan has a great site, but his articles are very biased.

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    In what way do you think they are biased?

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    Knowing you, you probably woudn't understand.

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