When I presented the Faction yesterday, I thought I would refresh readers’ memories about some of the other Ingeni-era cars.
The Ford 24/7 sprang to mind. When I checked up I encountered the fickle and fragile nature of memory: the 24/7 appeared in 2000, quite some time before the Ingeni studio opened. Let’s look at it anyway. It’s a nice coincidence that we are scraping about in the annals of car design just as the LA Motor Show is also on these pages.
Let’s go back to the cars’ unveiling (there were three variants). At the time the motoring press jeered at the 24/7’s square looks (someone even call the 24/7 ugly). Ford clearly pointed out that the shapes were supposed to be simple so as to direct attention at the technology. It seems that only lately is the view coming around to see the cars in their true light. Even if Ford claimed to have left the exteriors unstyled they really meant minimally styled (which is still a lot of work). Only the uninformed think that a boxy car actually is boxy. In truth, it’s rather lovely.
The interior photos are the ones that really matter but I would like to contrast this with the current batch of concept cars.
You’ll notice that the interior is a bit more styled, despite their best efforts. The bit that is right is that there is a lot of attention paid to controls that are not related to HVAC and driving. Rather beautifully, all of that is reduced to an oblong from which the steering column sprouts.
Notice that the steering wheel looks very Citroen with its single, albeit broad spoke. The rest of the lump of dashboard is some manner of touch-sensitive interface. While it is obvious with hindsight that using the
whole surface means a lot of it is out of reach, the alternative provides too little space for controls. What we have now is essentially the same old interior designs but with a daft slab awkwardly inserted into the landscape. Ford were trying to get at the idea that whole interior (or at least the dashboard) would need to be re-considered in order to accommodate the connectivity and interaction that Ford’s prescient designers had in mind. But despite this lesson, the actual evolution of the touchscreen has featured small screens fighting to space in conventional layouts, with some exceptions so today we get this, technogothic:
What I have to do is to find some more of the Ingenic cars – but this detour was worth the time.