Today’s puzzle is a little bit of fun. Unlike my previous attempts to construct a puzzle, this one is probably solvable.
The question is as follows: What is the connection between the Opel Vectra “A” and the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph?
This is a great opportunity to point out that in 1998 the Rolls Royce Silver Seraph replaced the SZ-series cars. For once a replacement generation was better and nicer than the one it superceded. The design is attributed to Graham Hull and you can read a pretty interesting look into Rolls styling by activating the blue pixels here.
This drawing is billed as “an early sketch” of the Silver Seraph but it’s morely likely either a definitive styling sketch or a post-facto rendering done with marker and pastels.
The Rover 75 and Jaguar S-Type emerged from the same cultural soup as this car. Critics lambast the Rover and S-Type for their retro-design. The Rolls-Royce gets away scot free – and rightly so for it’s precisely what you’d expect a late 90s Rolls to look like. Although there are plenty of modern construction touches, the context they are set in and and glowingly high-quality of the finish make the elements blend together.
The proportions are exactly right. The SZ series could make the same boast only to be called up on the flat panels. Here it is in a flattering photo from the RAC’s lovely website:
I wonder do designers at studios often make a point of side-by-side comparisons during the styling process? Toggling between the 1980 car and 1998 car does wierd things to both so maybe they shouldn’t.
I could imaging that if you were to style against the background of the 1980 car you could over do things. Or in reverse, the 1980 car looks a lot wider, and lower and alarmingly understyled. Alarmingly? I mean it’s plain bordering on banal.
So, if the stylist is looking at the 1980 car they might be tempted to make the follow-up more richly surfaced and perhaps a bit taller? The 1998 car hides its bulk well (it’s vast) which is partly down to the carefully judged radii. The 1998 car corrects the SZ’s faults.
Integrated bumpers have robbed car designers of a way to express and articulate quality. Look at the way the bumpers of the RR meet the body. That is not the way way it is done on a Ford Mondeo or Opel Vectra “B”. Today, from Hyundai up to Bentley, and from Renault down to Mercedes, everyone’s bumpers meet the body flush, a tiny boring line hiding the material thickness of the metal.
*The Opel is super cleanly styled. Time for re-appraisal, I say.