The Glare

Driven to Write suffers from heat stroke – for your benefit. 

It’s hardly revelatory of me to point out that in this corner of the Costa del Sol, the ratio of sunshine to overcast is overwhelmingly in the favour of the former – after all, the hint is in the name. No great insight either in suggesting that in the warm glow of a sunbaked afternoon, everything looks more attractive – except perhaps, pale, light-averse Irishmen. The effects of ambient lighting is a subject that has reared its head on more than one occasion on these pages, so if I repeat myself, I can only suggest you write to the editor and see how far that gets you.

Also at risk of accusations of repetition is today’s subject matter. We have I admit featured (and discussed at some length) the virtues or otherwise of Mazda’s (lamentably slow-selling it seems) C-segment contender. The Mazda 3 remains a design which brooks no ambivalence, but in Mazda’s signature shade of Soul Red and bathed in the sunkissed splendour of mid-afternoon Marbella sunlight, not only did the colour come alive, but so too did the Mazda’s fluid surfaces.

So striking was this, that it occurred to me that Hiroshima’s rather laudatory efforts upon the 3’s body styling have probably been wasted amid the Northern hemisphere’s leaden skies.

But by way of illustrating a point, even the nondescript and decidedly ordinary can be rendered remarkable in Andalucía’s roseate glow. This (British registered) X-Type would have elicited no response from your correspondent in its native blighty (no fan of the ‘X am I), yet here, its vibrant red paintwork really ‘popped’ in the warm afternoon sun.

So much so, that I found myself compelled to stop and photograph it for your pleasure. In this light, one could perhaps discern what its designers were trying to achieve.

All images (c) DTW

Which if nothing else illustrates that exposure to sunlight really does have a palpably beneficial effect on one’s mood. Perhaps I ought to spend more time in the shade?

Author: Eóin Doyle

Founding Editor. Content Provider.

9 thoughts on “The Glare”

  1. I think you’re absolutely right, Eóin. Us Northern European’s who take more than enough interest in the weather just don’t get the light as they would appear to do in Sunny Spain. We have too much overcast, flat lighting which hinders any kind of curvature appreciation. The X type, along with the chequerboard pavement does look quite inviting, and that shade of red lends it borderline sex appeal. Bit raunchy forra Sunday morning, I know but true.
    And whilst seeing on a typically overcast, rain filled sky a Soul Red 3 looking good, in this light I’d be weak at the knees. The white backdrop helps, too. Fantastic light and warmth; just what we need – ah, just put the clocks back…

  2. ‘Tis true. For me the best example is the Alfa 156. Under northern skies – even brightened ones – it can look awkward and contrived. In the Mediterranean sun the surfacing, shards, and swages all make beautiful sense.

    I suppose this is why the big carmakers set up styling studios in place like Catalonia and California.

  3. The light effects caused by the Mazda’s iridescent colour make it look like its side was meant to have a convex contour that was distorted into something partly concave either by an accident or because it is made from a soft material that is bent by the wind. The photo taken from behind the car also highlights the enormous area of sheetmetal above the rear wheels that lacks any visual tension.
    The paint of the X (not the car itself) looks marvelous. It looks as if the car was coated in glass or some other translucent glossy material because the reflections look as if they came from the base material and not the surface coating.

  4. Aargh! Eóin, youve just ruined the new Mazda 3 for me: that rear three-quarter shot, together with Dave’s comment about the enormous area of sheetmetal above the rear wheel, has put me in mind of this beauty, and I just cannot unsee it now:

  5. The 3 is a striking vehicle that is getting on for being too huge. It is to the series of 3s what the 2006 Mondeo is that line: the point where customers thought this is too large for my driveway. And yet there is no smaller vehicle for Mazda customers, nothing unless they drop to the 2 which is neat but too small.
    If the light in N Europe so unflattering, it´d make sense to open a studio somewhere up there so as to account for it, rather than to design for the lovely rays of the warm south.

    1. They used to create rather sensual shapes in Allesley, Coventry.

  6. Last night I saw an Astra H GTC, parked next to a dimly lit butger joint.

    I was smitten:

    The famous, ~2 inch wide shoulder strip/crease was decidedly dark, against the dim lateral light that visually ignited the GTC’s decisively plain sides.

    In stark contrast.

    It became clear that the thus blackened shoulder strip, played in unison with the trademark roofline curvature that extends foreward to vectorise the front fender.

    The effect was disturbingly powerful.

    It’s an amazing occurence when you find out the designers had “built-in” varying lighting scenarios in the shape.

    I always had high regard for the GTC H, but last night was a proper revelation
    and an automotive visual pleasure of the highest grade.

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