Attempting to unpick a feudal line.
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?
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?