Weird car designs are missing in today’s auto industry
Is it just me, or has all the fun been sucked away by the auto industry? In previous decades, a car’s unique design was something to be celebrated. Cars were an extension of personality and were meant to make a statement.
A little before my time, it wasn’t just fish that could have fins…cars too. And chances were taken. Some models succeeded and some didn’t (I’m looking at you, plastic, bloated AMC Pacer). Overall, back then, there seemed to be more of an adventurous, risk-taking atmosphere.
The eccentric and the strange were qualities to be celebrated. The VW beetles and insects were accompanied by a small flower vase built into the dashboard, perhaps as a reminder to celebrate life. VW buses and motorhomes had looks that challenged you to have fun, and Porsches looked like they were built for speed.
These days, at least in the US market, SUVs still dominate, and they’re pumped in standard colors of white, black and gray — many makes and models don’t stand out from their competitors — very vanilla. These living rooms on wheels are the daily bread of American automakers.
I hope that with EV innovation, automakers new and old will take more risks. Love it or hate it, the design of the Tesla Cybertruck isn’t boring. Elon Musk certainly doesn’t have it all figured out, but his idea that the production car should be even better than the concept is correct. Too often we get excited about a concept vehicle only to see our dreams dashed when the production car is revealed.
And don’t get me started on the Honda “e” and the fact that this sexy little sled isn’t available in the US market because Honda thinks it won’t sell here. Well, BMW took a chance with the Mini and this one sold really well and doesn’t look half as fun. And talk about weirdness, the Honda “e” has an aquarium mode for its massive all-screen dash. Odd? Yes. Practice? Not funny? Absoutely.
This lack of uniqueness might be why classic car conversion companies like Michael Bream’s EV West are doing so well. You also get your unique classic design and your clean, everlasting power source. A great option, but not cheap. Listen to my podcast conversation with Michael for more on this topic.
There is hope. New EV makers have an opportunity to leave convention in the dust. Fisker will eventually unveil its Pear project. Legendary designer and Fisker CEO Henrik Fisker said he would take risks with the vehicle and use it as a platform for new ideas. Some may love it and some may hate it, but at least it probably won’t be the same old same old!
I hope that with the arrival of the new wave of electric vehicles, we can celebrate the pleasure of traveling and having adventures and our vehicles will have more personality. And while we’re at it, I’m also going to take a small dose of weirdness.
By Stuart Ungar
Do you appreciate the originality of CleanTechnica? Consider becoming a CleanTechnica Member, Supporter, Technician, or Ambassador – or a patron on Patreon.