The Rush and the Rush and the Stop

This pleasantly painted Twingo caught my eye in Flensburg.

1993 Renault Twingo exterior

I had a longer look at the interior which had very playful use of colour. The door handles and window winders were highlighted in yellow. Buttons on the dashboard used the same plastic. The doors had body-coloured paint visible with the door cards inset and made of robust plastic. They made the most of economy, it seems. The design is very contemporary for 1993, the year of the launch. This kind of modernism is in short supply today. Continue reading “The Rush and the Rush and the Stop”

Skoda’s Retro Detail

First, it needs to be remembered that in the 70’s and 80’s a lot of cars featured attempts to link the base of the side glass to the base of the windscreen.

2016 Skoda Rapid

These days some cars manage that flow; most don’t try because the vertical offset between the side glass and high scuttle is too much to link graphically or sculpturally. It’s a function of high bonnets and raked shoulder lines.

Continue reading “Skoda’s Retro Detail”

DTW Summer Reissue: Midlife Krisis KA

If you’re going to have a mid-life crisis, at least get a decent set of wheels. 

Image: autobild-de
Image: autobild-de

[We round out Driven to Write’s Kanniversary with this piece first published in November 2014]

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in his forties has a higher than average propensity to some form of mid-life introspection. As we know, the clichéd route to self-actualisation ranges from an inadvisable tattoo, to an inappropriate affair with a younger member of whichever gender he’s attracted to. Some choose to experiment with various derivations of the above. The more conventional opt for a sportscar or convertible. After all, just because you’re in the throes of a life event doesn’t mean you have to be original about it. Continue reading “DTW Summer Reissue: Midlife Krisis KA”

Supersize KA

Did Ford originally have bigger plans for Ka? Evidence suggests they might.

Ford Touring Ka by Ghia. Image: carstyling.ru
Ford Turing Ka by Ghia. Image: carstyling.ru

Following ur-Ka’s launch in 1996, there was speculation that Ford had plans to expand Ka as a stand-alone sub-marque, perhaps along similar lines to General Motors in the US when they created the Saturn brand in 1990. Certainly, the manner in which Ka was introduced to the public suggested this was a Ford for people who wouldn’t normally buy Fords. Continue reading “Supersize KA”

More Ka Thoughts

John Topley penned this rumination on the Ford Ka when it went out of production. I thought you might like to take a look.  

A golden wonder from 1996
A golden wonder from 1996

About the only point where I am not in agreement with John is what he refers to as the Ka’s discordant lines. What makes the shape work for me is that absolutely everything adds up to a strong unity. Amazingly, the alternative design was as wrong as the actual one is right.  Continue reading “More Ka Thoughts”

Theme: Colour – White

In Japan it’s the colour of death. In the west it suggests purity and simplicity. In a building it invokes introversion and despair. White. What’s it like on a car?

Pearly white
Pearly white

White is the new black. In recent years white has changed its social status in cars and gone from being a poverty-spec colour or the choice of Meditterraneans to being, well, just another colour actually.

Continue reading “Theme: Colour – White”

2017 Ford Ka+

There’s a gap in Ford’s range which the Ka Plus is going to fill. We hoped it wouldn’t happen but it did.

2017 Ford Ka Plus: AutoExpress.com
2017 Ford Ka Plus: AutoExpress.com

The Ka Plus is promised to be more than a low-price five-door car, filling a gap in the constellation of price points connecting the Ka to the Fiesta. According to reports the Ka Plus is built on the Fiesta platform which makes the car really a Fiesta Minus, doesn’t it? The design for the Ka Plus originated in 2013, aimed at conservative buyers in developing countries.

The Ford explanation is that the Fiesta is going to be replaced in 2017 and in so doing will Continue reading “2017 Ford Ka+”

Sega to Saga: Ford’s Kompromised Ka

The forthcoming junior Ford represents the model’s biggest creative departure since the original version debuted twenty years ago. But is it really a Ka at all?

Nu-Ka - coming soon. Image: mostreliablecarbrands
Nu-Ka – coming soon. Image: mostreliablecarbrands

The original Ford Ka was a landmark small car. Intelligently designed, if poorly built; it sold strongly despite being saddled with an asthmatic nail of engine and a spectacularly rust-prone body. But in a sector up 10% over the first nine months of 2015, the current Ka held a less than mighty 13th position in the minicar sales table, with the Smart Forfour and Skoda Citigo nipping its heels. Continue reading “Sega to Saga: Ford’s Kompromised Ka”

Theme: Shutlines – The Vanishing A-Pillar

Yesterday, Driven to Write gave you an overview of the A-pillar. Today however, we’re going a little deeper.

Mercedes W201. Image via carsguide.au
The mighty Mercedes W201. Image: carsguide.au

Since we started this month’s theme I’ve spent more time looking at shutlines and panel gaps than is either healthy or rational. Nevertheless, it’s been an absorbing study, giving rise to a number of observations about the manner in which manufacturers have managed these transitions over recent years. From a purely scientific perspective of course, we should really be limiting ourselves to those junctions where at least one of the abutting panels opens, but I’m trusting our editor will let this pass – and lets face it, we’re not about to get into all this again any time soon.

Continue reading “Theme: Shutlines – The Vanishing A-Pillar”

History in Cars: Midlife Krisis KA

If you’re going to have a mid-life crisis, at least get a decent set of wheels.

images_ford_ka_1996_1

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a man in his forties has a higher than average propensity to some form of mid-life introspection. As we know, the clichéd route to self-actualisation ranges from an inadvisable tattoo, to an inappropriate affair with a younger member of whichever gender he’s attracted to. Some choose to experiment with various derivations of the above. The more conventional opt for a sportscar or convertible. After all, just because you’re in the throes of a life event doesn’t mean you have to be original about it.

Continue reading “History in Cars: Midlife Krisis KA”

Theme : Advertising – Who The Fun Do They Think We Are?

Richard’s fine introduction on this topic began with two quotes, both holding a high degree of truth to advertising in general, yet both I’d suggest are not always relevant to that branch of advertising that deals with cars.

VW 2

Edwin Land, who brought us Polaroid, as well as other products of intelligent research, said “Marketing is what you do when your product is no good” but, although Edwin Land was a remarkable inventor, it was easy for him to say that since, for years, his instant film system was the best in a group of one. Car manufacturers don’t have that luxury – if only Karl Benz had employed patent lawyers as good as Land’s we’d all be peering through that silver star on the bonnet. Also the problem is that, essentially, all cars are good these days – it’s a fair time since VW could point to a Korean upstart and state, quantitatively and overtly, that it didn’t make the grade. So you can’t just sell on actual superiority. Continue reading “Theme : Advertising – Who The Fun Do They Think We Are?”