Ascendant Class

Attempting to unpick a feudal line. 

Hyundai Dynasty.  (c) wikipedia

On one hand the formal limousine has always been a potent marker of social superiority, yet simultaneously a place within which to shield oneself from an often hostile plebeian gaze. After all nobody purchases, borrows or otherwise purloins a luxury saloon with the notion of hiding one’s ego from the madding crowd, one’s average plutocrat hardly being of the shrinking violet tendency.

This makes the design of the limousine something of a delicate balancing act. Serious enough to suggest material attainment, elegant enough to establish aesthetic discernment, yet sufficiently opulent to send out the required semiotics of superiority, the obtainment of a visual receipt for the outlay is therefore one imagines, a prerequisite.

After all the line between gravitas and pratfall is often wafer thin. Here in the West, we like to pat ourselves upon the back over our perceived sophistication and visual literacy, but others see with different eyes. Because sometimes a blunt instrument is preferable.

Certainly, sophisticated isn’t the first adjective that immediately hijacks one’s mind when confronted by Hyundai’s 1996 flagship. Or was it? Because between this, the Grandeur and the Equus (twinned with Mitsubishi’s Proudia of recent memory) it’s rather difficult to establish a definitive pecking order. Who was first among equals?

(c) commons-wikimedia

Is there much to say about the Dynasty apart from to comment upon its styling, which was a curious melding of styles, amounting to something a good deal less than fascination. A smattering of Toyota Century here, a pinch of Mercedes W210 E-Class there, one can possibly even see dark foreshadowings of Jaguar’s X200 S-Type around the heavy-handed nose treatment.

What all of these designs perhaps share, despite their disparate backstories is one common characteristic. All of them carry within them a sense of failed Grandeur. The Hyundai at least has the excuse of meeting its brief,  even if we don’t necessarily understand it. But have we ever considered that perhaps we weren’t meant to?

Author: Eóin Doyle

Co-Founder. Editor. Content Provider.

3 thoughts on “Ascendant Class”

  1. Apart from that awful front end, of course, there really is not a lot to say about the design of the Dynasty. Its formal style is 1990’s generic and entirely interchangeable with its Asian peers mentioned by Eóin. I think these designs were influenced by the once ubiquitous 1990-97 Lincoln Town Car:

    Can there have been a senior business executive who visited the US in the 1990’s but didn’t travel in a Town Car at least once? I did so many times in New York. The underpinnings may have been primitive, but the Town Car coped admirably with that city’s famously pot-holed and uneven streets. The soft leather seats, generous space, and the privacy afforded by those enormous C-pillars made the Town Car a very agreeable carriage. Did senior figures from the Japanese and Korean car makers return home thinking “We need to build one of those.”?

  2. Barring the Lexus LS, I’ve never seen any of these leviathans until this site has introduced them to my world. I’m starting to get a liking for them, of only for their distinctive looks and total individuality. Should I seek professional advice? Or spend the afternoon gazing over such fractured yet somehow enticing, looks?
    What have you done to my tiny mind, Mr Doyle?

  3. it would be interesting to know the sales data of these cars, even the Thesis lance can be considered something like that and I really have no idea how many private individuals have bought it in Italy, in my opinion we are talking about cars where the driver is not an optional but an element of the series.

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