Point, Counterpoint II

By coincidence there parked side by side an example of Bruno Sacco’s era and that of Gorden Wagener.

Can you name the model?
Can you name the model?

To be fair, Sacco had nothing like the rules to follow that today’s designers do. Wagener’s team have CAD and rapid prototyping to speed the iterations and so work through the options. If only the shut-line around the grille didn’t dog-leg at the lamp the newer might be acceptable.

And here’s the counter-example.

1981-1991 Mercedes SEC
1981-1991 Mercedes SEC.

The SEC interior is delightfully akin to top-quality public transport. It’s plainly expensive and designed to endure rather than to look pretty.

Author: richard herriott

I like anchovies. I dislike post-war town planning.

16 thoughts on “Point, Counterpoint II”

  1. GLC? I think all current Mercedes products are an eyesore; the C Class possibly being the worst with its droopy boot.

  2. This afternoon I suffered the ungratifying sight of a GLE “Coupe” (C292, for those bothered) in AMG full oaf trim with bells (or at least an egregiously noisy exhaust) on. Unlikely to have been bought with the proceeds of honest toil.

    Is there any car currently on sale which is more potato-like? Wagener has been set several high benchmarks, on present form he falls well short.

    A puzzling name too – whenever I see it I think he ought to be well down the mid-week bill at the Grand Ole Opry.

  3. Whenever I see or, in particular, hear Gorden (sic!) Wagener speak, I can’t help but imagining him returning home to Essen every once in a while, where accidentally meets a former classmate, who greets him with a punch-like slap on the back. (Apologies to the non-German speakers)

    Jupp: ‘Boah, hömma, Goaden, du hast dat ja echt voll drauf mit den Autos! Früher, da haste doch auch imma so geile Schleudan gemalt, ne? Bei der Frau Antwerpes, im Geschichtsuntaricht, ne? Ich weiß noch, so’n Manta mal, dem haste so ‘ne Nase wie’n Formel-1-Renna drangemacht, ne?’

    Gorden: ‘Öhm, wie bitte? Kennen wir uns?’

    Jupp: ‘Maaaaaaan, Goaden!? Jupp! Ich hab’ dir doch den Gsi-Grill dammals füa dein’ Coasa besorcht!’

    Gorden: ‘Bitte? Sie müßen mich verwechseln.’

    Jupp: ‘Jetz hab’ dich ma’ nich’ so! Ich find’ dat doch total geil, was du so mit den Daimlers machst: SLR, Hammateil! Und CLA Shopping Breck: mit AMG-Paket is dat ‘n Granate!’

    Gorden: ‘Ähm, ja, danke. Ich muß weiter. Kennen Sie zufällig einen Burberry-Laden in der Nähe? Ich benötige eine neue Krawatte.’

    Jupp: ”n wat?! Also die Pommesbude am Hauptbahnhof, die gibt dat noch!’

    Gorden: ‘Ich mache gerade ‘ne Low-Carb-Diät.’

    Jupp: ?!?

    Gorden: ‘Ich muß weiter.’

    Jupp: ‘Allet gute, Goaden! Laß’ dich nich’ untakriegen, deine Autos sind geil! Essen is’ stolz auf dich!’

    Gorden: ‘Ich bin hier nur auf der Durchreise!’

    1. Thanks: is it somethink akin to Essex man meeting Sir Jeremy Carr-De Signeur, gentleman stylist at Rover-Royce?
      My folk German’s a bit weak; I’m more adept at Hannoverian radio Cherman.

    2. It’s something along the lines of Kevin from Sheffield, having done good, returning home and trying to make it clear that he’s now a posh gentlemen.

      Wagener’s public appearances, as well as his styling, do appear ever so insecure, despite/because of the kind of superficial bravado they’re trying to exude. I don’t think he’s one to embrace one’s humble roots, though that’s obviously merely a guess.

  4. Car design doesn’t attract very many upper class people? Julian Lotus-Designer and Goertz are two of few. Gorden [sic] Wagener’s roots eluded me. I can’t criticise him for his change of style; I spent my University years trying to look like I was in Oxbridge (when I was in Bristol’s daughter city).

    1. I frankly don’t care about the background of any car designer, it’s just how they present themselves that’s making it an issue. Gerry ‘I’m Gerry McGovern’ McGovern, for example, is making it an inescapable point that he’s ‘stylish, in a classy way’ these days, which isn’t ‘confident, in nonchalant manner’. He was a lot more amusing actually when he looked like The Midland’s Favourite Fabio Double in the ’90s.

      And Gorden (sic) has raised quite a few eyebrows with his brash behaviour, such as stating in a book on the influences on car designers that he is his own role model, rather than name-checking Gandini, Giugiaro, Farina, Bertoni, et al, as all of his peers did. Those who are shouting the loudest about being oh-so-self-assured are typically people who are, to some degree, ashamed of themselves or their heritage. And Gorden is bearing the insignia of his Ruhr upbringing in his very name.

  5. It’s about pretence. Kurt Vonnegut said to be careful who you pretend to be as that is what you become. What should Gerry “I’m Gerry McGovern” McGovern do, though? Dress down a bit? Class is a tricky thing.

    1. Correction: Vonnegut said you are who you pretend to be.
      It could be a matter of appropriateness, the kernel of taste. Saville Row suits don’t belong in the car design studio so much as strident shirts or something unobtrusive from Boss. Or separates: trousers and a jacket with or without a tie.

  6. I’ll merely refer you all to the Brown Bag manifesto, from der Pferdemunde: https://www.mercedes-benz.com/en/mercedes-benz/classic/mercedes-benz-is-my-life/

    “Thinking long-term was as much part of Sacco’s approach as the rejection of “bells and whistles” and the refusal to follow style trends. He firmly believes that, taking into account development time, production period and service life, the styling of a Mercedes should stay current for around 30 years or, better yet, it should be timeless.

    “Vertical affinity” is a principle from the Mercedes-Benz design philosophy presented in 1980. It states that new models must never make their predecessors appear outdated. The second main pillar of the philosophy is “horizontal homogeneity”, whereby particular design features such as radiator grilles, headlights and taillights should look similar across all model series.

    In other words, a Mercedes-Benz must always be recognisable as aMercedes-Benz. And although, as Sacco will concede, philosophies are susceptible to change over time, the principles of this one still apply to this day.”

    Gorden (sic) should have that tattooed somewhere on his body, or put it to music and sing it to banjo accompaniment as a worthy addition to his signature Grand Ole Opry repertoire; the heavy metal hommage with a tinge of Krautrock “Das Beste oder nichts”, and the humorously sentimental “My Mom and Pop couldn’t spell for shit”.

    1. While I cannot speak on Robertas’ behalf, I personally belief that Gorden [sic] is too insecure a stylist to show a genuine willingness to honour Mercedes’ design heritage. He so obviously wants to be perceived as a ‘strong’ stylist that he’ll follow any current trend and exhibit an almost utter disregard for the traditions of Mercedes’ styling, just to prove that he’s the way forward. His ill-judged refusal to name any design heroes of his only serves to stress that point.

      As does this video:

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