Compiling a list of The 100 Prettiest Cars Of All Time sounds like a fairly straightforward task. Until you ask Chris Bangle to cast a vote…
AutoBild Klassik, one of the leading German publications in the field, is currently celebrating its 100th issue with a list naming the 100 most beautiful cars of all time. The jury tasked with naming the entries includes quite a few illustrious names, such as that of Peter Schreyer, Leonardo Fioravanti, Paolo Tumminelli, Simon Kidston, Gorden Wagener, Henrik Fisker and Laurens van den Acker, among others. One name that isn’t included though is that of the most significant car designer of the past twenty years, Christopher Edward Bangle.
This was not due to Bangle not having been invited, but because he deliberately chose not to cast a vote. Which had to do with a second vote, concerning The Ugliest Car Of All Time.
“The jury thus discriminates against the unusual, the untried and the failed. To demonise such – occasionally brave – examples disqualifies those cars as a role model to designers and influences the public in a one-sided manner. This in turn results in a shrunken gene pool of design ideas. That way, car design ends up being an endless, sugary sweet repetition of beauty tropes.
In order to design a car that’s beautiful in a way we have not yet discovered, we need to take risks. Designers and – more importantly – car manufacturers are incredibly risk averse. Nominating the ugliest car adds to this environment of fear.
AutoBild Klassik is a wonderful magazine for fans of classic cars, of which some are peculiar and not pretty at all – but are loved nonetheless. Don’t future readers deserve a similarly copious banquette of design?”
Other members of the jury obviously didn’t share Bangle’s concerns, which resulted in a list comprising these ten supposedly ugliest cars of all time (in ascending order): Reliant Regal, BMW X6, Lancia Flavia Zagato, Pontiac Aztec, Studebaker President, Toyota Mirai, Citroen Ami 6, SsangYong Rodius I, Ford Scorpio II, Fiat Multipla.
Somewhat ironically, Bangle has been among the most vocal critics of current automotive design. Yet it hardly comes as a surprise that he isn’t one to slag off Roberto Giolito’s poor Multipla design.
The author of this piece was a member of AutoBild Klassik’s jury as well and runs an obscure motoring site of his own, which you may or may not choose to visit at www.auto-didakt.com