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Designer Cars

Something light for Friday.

So we’ve had threads about designers and their clothes, their fonts, their music. Now let’s talk about designers and their cars. Now you may not be a car freak, or care about cylinders or horsepower or whatever. But did you buy a car because of its color? Do you admire an automotive brand because of their design, their logo, or their advertising (AUDI, VW)?

Are you connected to your vehicles based upon aesthetics or some form of self-expression? Are you a bumper sticker nut? Have you drastically altered your car in some way to make them unique pieces or art?

Do you have any stories of particular events that happened while you were in your car? Ok…I’m stretching here.


Thanks to Zoelle for the idea for this thread.

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PUBLISHED ON Dec.19.2003 BY Tan
Andrew Pollak’s comment is:

it doesn't get much better than this.

introducing The Volvo p1800e

On Dec.19.2003 at 11:52 AM
jonsel’s comment is:

In the land of entry-level cars, the Jetta is it. We got a silver one, naturally. I'm getting partial to the new rusty orange that Nissan's throwing around lately. The wife hates it.

I definitely have "car disease." My dad went through a period in the 80s where he changed cars every 2 years. I'm feeling similar autowanderlust. Again, the wife's having none of it!

What's the deal with the same cars masquerading under different badges? GM has done it for years (didn't Cadillac get smacked for trying to sell the Chevy Cavalier as as the Cadillac Cimarron?). Nissan's doing it with the Murano/Infiniti FX45. If I want a luxury car, there's no way I'm buying it if something cheaper looks almost exactly the same. Would you buy a Lexus that looked like a Toyota Camry??

On Dec.19.2003 at 12:12 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

Do you have any stories of particular events that happened while you were in your car?

Perhaps you want to clarify and ask for design stories/events that happened in a car? ;-)

On Dec.19.2003 at 12:14 PM
eric’s comment is:

I moved to New York 8 years ago. not a day goes by that i don't dream of racing my honda on the 110 freeway to Pasadena or swinging that low heavy car around the windy roads north of san francisco and towards Stinson Beach, or even the christmas that i had 20 minutes to make my flight and raced from the Valley to LAX.

I've owned a number of cars and never that ultimate fetish vehicle of choice. whatever it may be.

There were two factors that have made me a life long freak for Saabs. a: in the early Berger James Bond books, Bond drives a Saab through northern icy climates because 'everyone knows it's the most superior snow car'; b: The Salt Lake City airport used to keep a fleet of Saabs with sensors on the bottom of the car. People had jobs in the winter time that consisted solely of racing down the runway at speeds well over 120 mph testing the ice conditions.

i've always liked driving fast and suppose that i expect performance in all aspects of my life. live fast, die young... the saab 9.5 three door will remain the most conventional dream car for me.

On Dec.19.2003 at 12:18 PM
Nick’s comment is:

Cars are shit.

The last time I bought a new car was 1986. It was a Pontiac 6000, and I chose it because it was the best selling car at the time, so it was essentially a default decision, denying any aesthetic merit.

However, I did choose one option, the fancy sound system.

On Dec.19.2003 at 12:28 PM
Paul’s comment is:

The Volvo p1800e

The Saint's car! Sweet!

I love my 2001 VW Golf (1.8 Turbo. ) in a way an avowed anti-materialist like myself finds deeply troubling. (There's Futura on the blue-light spedometer! )

I drive too fast now. Never used to be the case. It's the damn turbo.

Cars are shit, that's true. But mine is THE shit.

On Dec.19.2003 at 12:33 PM
Colin’s comment is:

I'm trying to keep my current car alive until I can get an Escape Hybrid when they are available (hopefully) next summer. Hybrid engine with the space of a small SUV. That's clutch. If that thing is delayed again, I'll probably wind up with a Prius. Of course, this is all moot if I live in a place where having a car is pointless.

On Dec.19.2003 at 12:36 PM
Rick’s comment is:

I have to second the VW Golf. I have a 2000, and I bought it based on looks, the dashboard (glows blue), and the rubberized feel to everything inside.

I love it, but I'm over my car because I'm lusting after the Honda Element.

This is very unlike me. I don't care about cars. But damn, you can HOSE THAT THING OUT! It's like it was designed by designers, not car nerds.

On Dec.19.2003 at 12:38 PM
graham’s comment is:

i love taxis.

never owned a car.

but i wouldn't mind an aston martin db5.

On Dec.19.2003 at 12:49 PM
Tan’s comment is:

sure Graham, why not go for an Aston if you had to.

I've been a car freak since I was a kid -- a disease I caught off my older motorhead brothers. When I was 13, I helped rebuild the heads on my brother's Corolla coupe -- which later became my hand-down ride in high school.

All my life I've wanted to be an automotive designer -- but alas, life had a different route -- graphic design. But I still follow car design religiously. My idol right now is J Mays -- the man responsible for Audi's TT, A4, VW's new Beetle, and now hired by Ford to pen the new Thunderbird, Explorer, new F150, and now, the incredible GT(40).

I've owned just about every Japanese brand -- I'm not what you'd call a loyalist. Good design attracts me -- I don't care if it's a Honda or a Hummer. And good design isn't necessarily exclusive to higher-priced brands. A fun car doesn't have to mean a Ferrari or Mercedes. The $20K Honda Element has more innovations and clever design than a $70K Range Rover.

I currently have an old Miata and a new Passat wagon (in silver of course) in my garage. Love both of them for different reasons. Like Armin and his stuffed animals, I've named every car I've ever had. My Miata is Max, and the Passat is Hans.

It's funny, but both cars have added me and my wife into two fanatic car communities -- the Miata club, and the VW club. We get newsletters, event updates, merchandising, etc. It's very much similar to Apple's community of loyalists. Miata owners still honk and give each other thumbs up on the road, and VW and other Passat owners tend to park next to us at the grocery stores (for door-ding safety, I guess).

> Perhaps you want to clarify and ask for design stories/events that happened in a car? ;-)

ok, ok. Design stories. What did everyone drive in design school? I had that beater Corolla that I'd mentioned. It was great -- dependable, but nothing inside worth stealing. The trunk was sticky w/ spray mount overspray, and scraps of pantone paper everywhere. I loved that thing.

On Dec.19.2003 at 01:24 PM
Mike’s comment is:

I just had to sell my pride and joy this week - an old '66 VW bus. Some people love 'em, some hate 'em, but for me it was a love affair spanning years. The simple design and friendly curves helped me happily forget about not having the mod-cons. Also, driving a vehicle that makes people smile on the street has a profound effect on your day. Within hours of selling it I purchased another design classic; a Vespa scooter :)

I also have to agree on the VW Golf - if I were to buy a new car I would definitely be in one of them for a test drive! Now, where did I put that lottery ticket....

On Dec.19.2003 at 01:31 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Mike, that microbus is just sweet. Did your engine ever catch on fire? It's a well-known fact that for owners of the old Microbus or Beetles, it's not a question of "if" but "when" you'll have a flame-on engine fire. We had a '76 Beetle when I was a kid.

Have you seen the new Microbus that's rumored to be coming out in 2005 or 2006? I can't wait -- it will be the first minivan I'll be willing to own. We almost bought a Eurovan Camper, but VW stopped making them just this year.

On Dec.19.2003 at 01:41 PM
Brent’s comment is:

What did everyone drive in design school?

1971 Red Karmann Ghia. Had 350,000 miles on it when I got rid of it. Coolest car ever.

I have a 60 mile total commute now so a car is basically a money pit for me and not a prize posession. It's sad because I do enjoy cars very much and my folks had some great cars when I was growing up (like this and this {which they still own} and my dad even had that very same Volvo.) One day, I'll own one of these.

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:01 PM
Brent’s comment is:

I forgot, I sold the Ghia to get this. Fastest car I ever had, comfy too.

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:05 PM
eric’s comment is:


Ghia is up there in my top 5. would love to have one to hop around town in. not so great on the mileage.

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:11 PM
Su’s comment is:

Designer cars.

Yup, someone finally did it.

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:12 PM
Brent’s comment is:


I'd love to have one again. There was a ghia cabrio for $900 bucks out by my folks that my dad's kicking himself for having not bought it. In the end it turned out I knew the guy who was selling it and had driven the car. Didn't make it any easier for him to hear that.

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:24 PM
Jason A. Tselentis’s comment is:

Tan, this is a great topic. Since exiting the Apple Store weeks ago, I've been wondering about all the signifiers we crave as designers. Automobiles are a great place to start---an extension of ourselves.

VW seems very trendy. I was at a lunch meeting last week with six other designers. They all placed their keys on the table because they hate when their pockets get crinkled by a load of metal. Four out of six had the fancy VW keychains. It turned into a conversational piece because I sold my VW in 2001, and was not familiar with the new key system. It's very distinguished. VW targets a specific audience, one that appreciates the details.

As the conversation opened up, we all agreed to be motorheads--in a "European" sense. Audi and VW were names thrown out more than once. Volvo's merging with Ford drew some disappointment, as did their redesign. Each person agreed that a logical step up from their Golf or Jetta would be an A4. At least they're realistic.

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:26 PM
eric’s comment is:


i think Ghia to be one of the most beautiful cars ever designed. the tear-drop shape is eternally elegant. My dad had one. There was a Ghia mafia at Art Center. Worst of all, where i got my Honda worked on in So Cal there was also a guy who did nothing but restore old ghias.

i would love to see VW do a ghia reissue in their current trip down memory "lane".

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:32 PM
Aaron’s comment is:

2003 Honda Civic Hybrid.

silveryblue w/ black rubber floor mats

clean & efficient .

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:38 PM
Brent’s comment is:

Design related car story:

My last semester at school, on the day to hand in the final project before finals, my car window got smashed and cell phone stolen. Not so bad, but the thief wasn't the nice kind and broke the driver's side window leaving glass all over the seat and dash. I had the project done early but for some reason dawdled on getting out to school to turn it in, didn't notice the whole thing until about 15 minutes before deadline and I lived 15 minutes from campus (driving). My professor was understanding (although very cautious) and I got it in later. Not all that interesting but it's the best connection I've got.

Eric- A ghia reissue is an excellent idea. The Ghia mafia is great too. The guys that helped me restore/fix mine were two crazy germans named Helmut and Louis. Their accents were right out of a Mel Brooks movie.

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:43 PM
Cheshire’s comment is:

Despite the tiny size of my 1995 Honda Civic hatchback, I have dreams of turning it into a little whale, complete with a big tail on the back and blowhole on top that I can operate from inside, and if I can figure out how to do it, I'd rewire the horn so that it plays whalesongs.

And all because I have a license plate with a humpback tail on it. I love California.

On Dec.19.2003 at 02:47 PM
Armin’s comment is:

My first car was a thing called Atlantic by VW. I don't think it's been sold here in the US. That little car had some spunk! Of course I hated it because it was very uncool. I was the last of my family to own it, so it was a hand me down four times over. Plus it had been stolen once and the thieves took the time to replace the interiors, which were kind of carpety to something altogether plastiquey. By the end of its days it smelled really bad after I took it on a trip to the beach and it somehow inherited a fried-fish smell.

My second car, which kicked absolute ass was a Chevrolet z24, which I think was also never sold here. That car rocked! It was fast and very furious, loudest car I have ever driven. I had that one my last year of high school and all through college. It was awesome, if I could have brought it without so much hassle to the US I probably would have.

When I moved to Atlanta I bought one of the old jettas for $2,500 — I got ripped. It would break down at least every other month and the air conditioner didn't work, so those hot summer months in Peach City were dreadful. When I came here I suckered a classmate of Bryony's from PC to buy it… actually I wouldn't say suckered… OK, maybe yes.

Here in Chicago we don't have a car. Like Graham, taxis are loveable cars. I'd still like a car, but it just doesn't make a lot of sense to have one here in the city.

On Dec.19.2003 at 03:09 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> Eric- A ghia reissue is an excellent idea.

guys, squint real hard, and you'll see that the Audi TT is, in fact, a reincarnation of the beloved Ghia. Similar in form and spirit, but alas, not in price.

> Four out of six had the fancy VW keychains.

yup, I love my VW switchblade key. It's a brilliant piece of design.

> Yup, someone finally did it.

Su -- I love the new Scion xB cube -- I've read that it's been nicknamed Maytag, for obvious reasons. There's an entire class of cube-shaped microwagons for sale in Japan. This cube car is my fave. The US market is always a few years behind the rest of the world in automotive taste. The Honda Element and Scion xB have been on sale in Japan for years. I'm hoping that they'll bring the Nissan to our shores before long. Same w/ these hip Smart cars.

On Dec.19.2003 at 03:09 PM
Christopher Johnston’s comment is:

At this point I still have "Blackjack the Immortal Honda". She's been a trusty steed for many years now but before to long I think she will be heading down that ol' memory lane. As soon as I come into many large sums of money (and a garage) I want to get back into restoration.

First two planned projects:

1968 BMW 1600 ~ What an amazing machine! Paint this kiddo racing green with an off-white stripe down the center, Walnut dash/steering wheel and about 100lbs of DynaMat. hehe (Have to drop that road noise)

As far as design goes I think the late 60's and early 70's BWM's are the pinnacle of class at an affordable price. They use so many design elements which many larger and more expensive car companies used that I think the small compacts that BWM put out at that time (2002-1600) easily rivaled anything that Jaguar or Rolls Royce were doing. It's James Bond on 4 wheels.

1961 Lincoln Continental ~ You can't go wrong with a car that is over 20' long, made of solid sheet metal and has "suicide doors". I would love to trick one out to look almost like the "Green Hornet" car... Black Clearcoat, Green Head/Interior lights, Dark Green Velour Interior. Sick.

The design of this Lincoln to me encompasses the greatness of the United States in the 50's-early 60's. If there are design features built into automobiles that show conservation Lincoln purposely stayed away from them when this car was in production. It's big, it's comfortable and it's gutsy: The portrait of my nation.


On Dec.19.2003 at 03:11 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Armin -- your Atlantic was sold as a VW Fox here in the States. And the Z24 was sold here too. I won't say anything about it being a chick car...oops, did I just say that out loud?

On Dec.19.2003 at 03:13 PM
damien’s comment is:

The first car I bought was a BMW 2002 from a colleague in 1999. As lovely as it was - I grew to long for a more solid car that could drive me quickly out of danger, in case there ever was a need.

So on moving to San Francisco I bought an Audi A4. The details were a joy - from the motion of the cup-holders opening, to the feel of driving the car was fantastic. And in two years I put 60k miles on it - having to drive over 110 miles to work every day and commuting to LA for several months.

I have to admit, as much fun as driving 140mph down some parts highway 5 from SF to LA is, some of the roads in England and Europe are far more fun and enjoyable to drive.

I got to work very briefly with Dan Sturges while at frog who developed an early prototype to the ford thinkmobile. And now - alas, I no longer own a car...


On Dec.19.2003 at 03:15 PM
eric’s comment is:

and another thing, Armin how come all your cars are lipstick red?

Tan, my friend, the TT is a cheap, married-into-the-family cousin to the little Ghia. The ghia had lines all the way into next week. svelt.

On Dec.19.2003 at 03:22 PM
LeAnn’s comment is:

In school I had a 1979 Toyota Corona. Does anyone actually remember the Corona? I called it the flying beer bottle.

Today, I'm driving the most fun car ever, a Mini Cooper. I'm such a design sucker, but when it came down to it, it couldn't be beat in my book. I originally wanted a Hybrid, but my god, has anyone here ever actually sat inside one? The 2003 Toyota Prius has the ugliest design (especially interior) I just couldn't handle it. But I wanted good mileage and I didn't want to lug around a bunch of space that I don't even use most of the time. And, as a kick back to the whole SUV mindset, I love that the Mini scoots around so easily. A friend of mine says parking it is like parking a shopping cart. So....it gets good mileage. The design is fantastic. And it's a whole lotta fun to drive. And the brand statement saying Take Back Your Garage was just so good........Okay okay: I think the branding probably helped me decide.

On Dec.19.2003 at 03:23 PM
surts’s comment is:

I don't own a car, I can't justify it when I want to relocate in the future - though I digress. However my wife owns a white 2001 jetta (she was thinking silver for a while...) it rocks. Full leather, sun roof and cool mags. When she bought an enhanced sound system, I asked her to get one that can hook up with external players. Now we can drive with the roof open and have the ipod rock'n. Sadly for me, it took her a year before she'd let me drive it.

I love the icons inside the car and the design of the manual. Service wise, the vw people treat Tamara like gold and the place is pretty nice to wait when you're hanging out for tune ups etc. The vw mag is also designed well, I enjoying reading it - the design staff deserve a serious discount for vw's imho.

I've observed one of two reactions when you pull up beside another jetta, they either nod in appreciation for you're choice of transportation, or they simply ignore the fact that there's another jetta beside them - or maybe it's just me.

On Dec.19.2003 at 03:25 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

I'm a sucker for sports cars. My first was a hand-me-down burgundy Datsun 280ZX that got me through high school and college. I think I maxed out at 7 people in the 2-seater once. It had all the fancy gizmos including the digital readouts and "the voice". Actually, I didn't much care for the voice, especially when she would repeat over and over that my "fuel level was low." The Zs were plagued by rust problems. When I ripped the emergency brake out of the floor, I had an inkling the end was near. The mechanic's question of "Has this car spent any time up north (in the snow and salt)?" sealed it.

I replaced that with a blue Mazda RX-7 a year after college graduation. Now that was a fun roadtrip car. I used to burn up the interstate through the Alabama bayous en route to New Orleans from Atlanta. Five hours was my personal best.

And then...NYC. Had to sell the car. No personal wheels for 5 years. Painful. I hate public transportation.

The Jetta came with the suburbs. I like the car, although it's far from unique around here. I routinely have to double check the license plate to make sure it's mine before I try to open the doors.

Everytime one of the new 350Zs go by I stare longingly.

I think the Prius is very intriguing, but I can't suppress my need for speed, and don't feel it would measure up.

I've driven on the autobahn in a Saab 9s and it was like a rocket. I also rented a TT for a weekend to go driving around northern Germany and had a major blast. The side sightlines are dreadful in that car, but who cares when everything is behind you.

On Dec.19.2003 at 03:29 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> I won't say anything about it being a chick car...oops, did I just say that out loud?

It wasn't no girlie car where I come from. But that miata of yours… you would get bullied in every other corner in Mexico just because of its tinyness.

> and another thing, Armin how come all your cars are lipstick red?

You know what's funny? I just found those pictures on Google, coincidentally they were the exact same colors that the cars were. Oh, and to respond to your question: both VW's, I had no choice, those were the colors I got; the z24 was my choice — red is cool, Massimo Vignelli and Pentagram can't be all wrong.

On Dec.19.2003 at 04:19 PM
mrTIM’s comment is:

I'm all about my New Beetle. Of course it has less than 5000 mines on it so the shock hasn't worn off yet, but every time I walk to the parking lot I smile, and that's what counts.

Of course I'm still waiting for the Dune Beetle to come out, but who knows if VW will ever fufill that deam...

On Dec.19.2003 at 04:32 PM
ps’s comment is:

my favorite the TT. nothing comes close. then maybe a mini cooper. for a while i liked the defenders by land rover. but these are not what i drive. part of my backup plan when i started my own business was to have a truck so i could drive deliveries, or whatever, in case work was not covering the rent. luckily i never had to go there. in the mean time, my mighty max pickup truck that i got for that reason, is paid for and the past 7 years or so i had not to bother with a car payment. plus, other than an occasional oilchange, there is no maintenance on it. can't beat that. oh, the truck still spots a KNAC sticker, which back in the early nineties was the pure rock station in l.a.

On Dec.19.2003 at 05:24 PM
pk’s comment is:

i so don't get the car thing. i don't even want a car, but chicago's public transportation is geared only to those who live on the red line. i don't, so i drive almost everywhere. it seems like almost every car these days is manufactured purely out of marketing, so i bought based on price and longevity. i have a 1996 honda civic. it's ugly as all hell, same color as a dead salmon, but the fucker's gonna last another ten years. it hauls everything. it gets great mileage. i have no problems banging it around in the city.

next vehicle: a hybrid or hydrogen cell. but only after this one has to be pushed back to the lot for a trade in.

On Dec.19.2003 at 05:39 PM
rebecca’s comment is:

Cars I love:

– the BMW Isetta

– the Citro�n DS series

– the MGB GT

On Dec.19.2003 at 06:14 PM
ryin’s comment is:

2002 golf tdi. i LOVE it.

before that i owned two beetles and a pop-top westfalia. i think that's what we all refer to as brand loyalty.

On Dec.19.2003 at 06:20 PM
Giles’s comment is:

Amanda and I are both members of the Volkswagen family. Glad to see so many others here.

Having said that, it's very surprising that someone hasn't brought up -- or taken to task, depending on their point of view -- BMW's current design direction.

Starting a couple of years ago with the Seven, BMW has been reinventing itself. Witness the new Five and Six, the Z4, and the upcoming One (and Two).

BMW was slammed up, down, and sideways for the Seven's design when it was introduced, yet sales in the US went up. (Shame about the M$-driven iDrive menus, though.) I love 'em, especially the Z4 -- but it's the One that I'm lusting after. (No iDrive there, just knobs.) A 125Ci would be at the top of my list.

Good runner-up might be Volvo's new V50. Check out the center console.

On Dec.19.2003 at 06:26 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Oh man, I have to say that I think the new Bimmers are just hideous. Chris Bangle is the new design director at BMW, and I think his new crop of cars are atrocious.

Sales may not reflect the outrage from BMW loyalists, but all of the new cars have come to be known as "Bangle's Mangles" -- which says it all. Resale value will give a more realistic indication of the public's perception.

I applaud pushing the envelope in automotive design, but there's the new Element, and then there's the Aztek. Bangle's Beasts (another nickname in the press) are parked right alongside the Pontiac in my opinion.

On Dec.19.2003 at 06:50 PM
.sara’s comment is:

Would you buy a Lexus that looked like a Toyota Camry??

jonsel: i wouldn't, but plenty of folks would/do; it's called the ES 300. (; I don't mind the twinning so much. Much as I love Toyota, I'm glad the Vibe exists as an alternative to the Matrix. (They're made at the very same factory out here in Fremont, CA, if you're wondering.) The Vibe's lines appeal to me more than the Matrix's; the way the nose swoops down and the way the cargo hatch door isn't all nasty and Aztek-ish.

Until nearly four years ago, I drove an '85 Tercel (The Frog). I loved that car; light metallic green, 4-speed, hatchback. It finally died in '00 and I ended up in a Jeep Grand Cherokee (Charlotte). Heh. It's not a hatchback, but it is green. (:

On Dec.19.2003 at 07:26 PM
marian’s comment is:

First off, Andrew, the P1800 is one of my all-time favourite cars. I have always wanted to own one, especially as a wagon. Too, too sweet. And it has the B20 engine, yes? Indestructible.

The Karmann Ghia is another favourite (and they will reissue it, they're just torturing us with the wait). Mike, that bus is a beauty (though I've always wanted one with the 21(?) windows).

However, for me no more old cars. I can't bear fogged-up windows, shivering and rattling, a golf-cart driving experience, strong-arm steering and the need to commit Hari Kari every time you get a ding. No more. Though ... OK, I could be tempted by one of these.

My first car was a 65VW beetle, which I posted a picture of in my bio (the one with the peacock painted on it). I used to love fixing it (it was the only engine I've ever really understood). For a while I lived around the corner from the VW dealership, and used to go in all covered in grease to get parts. Once, I was changing the generator, and I was having trouble: the instructions in "The Idiot's Guide to VW Maintenance" seeming not to work. So I went and talked to the VW mechanic, and he was so nice. He said, "No! You can't do it like that, you have to take the fan off." and he loaned me the tools I'd need (including a honkin' big socket wrench) and off I went. That was great.

After my VW died I owned on, then another 74 Volvo, first in Squash Orange, then Tangerine. A Tank. My brother still drives the 2nd one today.

When I first saw the TT as a concept car (the pictures were of a convertible with red leather interior with, i think, white baseball stitching) I wanted one more than anything in the world. There are several Audis and I've drooled over, and generally i'm likin' the new clean and slightly boxy lines as pioneered in the TT and the Beetle. (I hate hate hate the bar-of-soap aesthetics of cars from the 90s. HATE.)

Several years ago my business partner and I went to lease a vehicle (which we shared). She wanted an SUV for some reason, and I wanted power windows (I'm a low-maintenance kinda girl). That led us to the Subaru Forester.

I was so impressed with that car that when it came time to get my own I knew i wanted another Subaru. I hate SUVs though, so I got the Impreza (Outback Sport!). I wanted the WRX, but I just don't drive like that and I knew it would be wasted on me. So it's a 2002, silver over titanium and no-one else seems to agree with me but I think it's a really sharp looking car. It's dark out now but I'll take some pics tomorrow if it's not raining too hard. I got the Sport because I fell in love with the interior. I'll post a pic of that too.

This car has tons of guts and is solid as a rock on the highway, corners like a dream, and of course drives up steep hills! It's a really, really great car.

However ... I think my next car, if I can afford it, and if it isn't butt ugly, will be a hybrid.

Though, if I wasn't morally opposed to monstrous beasts on the road I might be tempted by the VW Phaeton. Oh, and I've always though it would be really, really funny to drive The Penis Car (that Jag E-Type, linked from Brent's post above).

On Dec.19.2003 at 07:49 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> 1961 Lincoln Continental

Chris -- I also love this model, though there's no way it would fit in my garage. It's significant in two other ways: a jet black '61 Continental was Neo and Morpheous' ride in the Matrix movies, and more historically significant -- a white '62 (?) Continental convertible was the car that JFK was shot while riding in.

J Mays designed a new Continental concept car, that clearly takes influence from the '61 generation, including the ultra-cool suicide doors.

On Dec.19.2003 at 07:58 PM
graham’s comment is:

>tan said: sure Graham, why not go for an Aston if you had to.

they're around �70-80 000 second hand. not bad considering what people fork out to proudly ride around perched atop shiny new crap.

car design stopped around 1975, supplanted by toddlers smacking sand into plastic moulds. no class.

>marian said: The Karmann Ghia is another favourite (and they will reissue it, they're just torturing us with the wait)

karmann ghia is v.v. lovely. why don't you look for a 2nd hand? try karmannghia.org (the karmann ghia club of north america).

On Dec.20.2003 at 04:15 AM
Max’s comment is:

>1961 Lincoln Continental

Droooooool! The Lincoln has been my dream car since I first saw one in my teens.

Of course, I would love one of these too in a perfect world.

On Dec.20.2003 at 01:47 PM
marian’s comment is:

is it not sharp?

the upholstery: so... so ... german.

the dash. not gorgeous, but clean.

On Dec.20.2003 at 03:45 PM
Lee’s comment is:

This one leaves me speechless!

But...I'm quite happy driving my '74 bmw 2002:

On Dec.20.2003 at 07:15 PM
nick’s comment is:

I was sorely tempted to buy a 61 Continental, in 1974 (it was cheap at that time, and this was before I got religion), but was shocked at how small the interior was -- and by the fact that the floor had rusted to the consistency of pastry so that you could just stick your finger through it and look at the road.

So. put me down for a 52 Bentley Continental -- love those curves!

On Dec.20.2003 at 07:34 PM
Priya’s comment is:

i have test driven a mini thrice. i am convinced one day it will be mine. (after of course i learn to drive stick shift... gotta be a type S.)

and then when i become a baller, it'll be all about the Maybach. who can resist fully reclining massaging seats, a panoramic glass ceiling, champagne glass holders (to encourage DUI? feh.).... etc. starts at $350,000. ridicurous. (yes, i said ridicurous)

also, this might interest a few people.... check out the little evolution of thier Maybach mark into a 3D-gradient-embossed-UPS reminiscent logo.

On Dec.20.2003 at 09:11 PM
Tan’s comment is:

good call Priya. I'm lusting after a Mini Cooper S as well -- it's a lot of design for the money. But dealer markup right now is still outrageous. The convertibles will be out next year, and I'm hoping that it will drive demand and prices of the coupes down a bit.

A Maybach? Girl -- you've got P. Diddy tastes.

> Citro�n DS

Rebecca -- my grandfather had one. It was technologically way before its time. That Citro�n had an air suspension system back in the 60s. To understand how impressive that was -- it wasn't until the early 90s that another car offered that techology. It was Lexus that developed a comparable air suspension system for its top of the line LS400.

Man, a lot of people are lusting after the older BMWs. As Giles asked earlier -- what do you Bavarian fans think of the new BMW designs (7s, 5s, and the Z4)? Bangle, the new design director, describes the swoops and scoops as "surface excitement". I'm curious how others perceive it.

On Dec.20.2003 at 10:33 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> Since exiting the Apple Store weeks ago, I've been wondering about all the signifiers we crave as designers. Automobiles are a great place to start---an extension of ourselves.

Jason's Apple Store reference reminds me of my experience at the VW dealership where I bought my Passat. All VW dealerships look the same. Very strong brand experience. The architecture is clean, postmodern hip, yet classic and nostalgic at the same time. As far as I know, they're one of only two automakers that has such a consistent, strong brand experience at their dealerships. Land Rover is the other brand.

Lexus, Mercedes, BMW, etc may have a similar feel to their dealerships -- but the size, shape, signage, and layouts are visibly different from store to store. VW's stores, on the other hand, are almost exactly the same -- just like Apple stores.

As a VW owner, this brand experience approach gives me more confidence in the support from the automaker. It also gives the sense that you're not only buying a car, but buying into a culture and community of like-minded customers.

Any other of you have good or bad brand experiences when buying your cars?

On Dec.21.2003 at 12:11 PM
marian’s comment is:

Funny you should say that about VW + Apple. I was thinking the other day that there is something very similar about the branding of these two companies, both in look and execution. I wasn't sure if I had anything to back that up other than a "feeling" but you just gave a concrete example. Of all the car manufacturers VW is the one that really has their branding shit together the way Apple does ... with, I think, Mini hot on their tail.

On Dec.21.2003 at 12:57 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

My VW buying experience was actually not so swell. Maybe it was an older dealership that hadn't been remodeled or the salesman hadn't had his brainwashing, er, training lately. The dealership itself is somewhat rundown and very mechanic/autobody shop in nature. The sales guy was a stereotypical car guy who "would just love to put me in that car." Since I wanted the car anyway, I didn't fight. But he did try a fancy bait/switch with me. Seems my model, the 1.8Turbo w/leather was going to take a few weeks, whereas he had a VR6 w/o leather ready to go. Kicker was he offered it to me for the same price. When I made him do all the math, adding up packages and pricing the cars separately, the VR6 was cheaper! So I took the VR6 for the cheaper price. I'm still upset that I don't have leather seats though.

I had a dreadful experience years ago at a Toyota dealer in Atlanta. I went with my friend to look at the car she wanted to buy. We took a test drive, etc. Then, the salesman proceeded to try to sell ME on the car, competely ignoring my friend. He assumed we were a couple and I was buying the car "for us." Needless to say she didn't buy the car from that place.

Saturn used to have a nice routine where they'd take a picture of you with your new car and all the sales people would applaud and celebrate your purchase. I don't know if this still happens.

On Dec.21.2003 at 04:22 PM
Priya’s comment is:

marian: i agree. i think that line of thinking is what made me not surprised at all to see the 'free pod' promo VW was doing with thier Beetles.... buy a beetle, get a free iPod.

tan: i like it because it's just so over the top and unecessary. i feel it's a concept car except it's really in production. (and the subject of a recent Punk'd with Outkast) realistically if i could afford a nice car it'd be a vintage Jaguar convertible... one that screams "Old socialite from the South", kinda like Ya-ya-esque. am i being coherent? no? disregard.

On Dec.21.2003 at 05:51 PM
ps’s comment is:


you are bringing up brand experience and the alike look of stores to pull off that brand experience. my comment is not car related but i think relevant.....i went to a lecture from piero lissoni a couple weeks ago. (if you are into modern furniture/architecture you know the name) he is the creative behind the boffi( kitchen & bath) brand. he commented that each of their showrooms looks "boffi" but each of them is different based on the "soul" of the building or city that they are located in. he felt that you can communicate and build a brand globally, without losing the local element. when i was sitting there and taking in his presentation, it struck me that that is a big part what i hate about the strong brand experiences - they are the same, no matter if you are in n.y., l.a. miami. kansas. and i think its terrible. but if you keep the local spirit i think it can be pulled off and both brand and community will benefit.

On Dec.21.2003 at 08:51 PM
ps’s comment is:

to follow-up on my post... i think car-dealerships are these places that, usually, are just about brand and nothing else, which i think is unfortunate. (plus most of them don't even create a very convincing brand experience. with exception the brand mentioned in the discussion. ( i shut up now and finish my beer)

On Dec.21.2003 at 08:56 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

they are the same, no matter if you are in n.y., l.a. miami. kansas. and i think its terrible...

It's this homogenization that is what disturbs people so much about branding, especially on a global level. Why visit NYC when SoHo is populated by the same stores (with the same "brand experience") that are in your local mall. SoHo, Midtown, and Flatiron are starting to feel like the same thing with different building heights. What's sad is that it makes travelling and "adventure" safe and far less interesting. If you go somewhere and don't speak the language, you are comforted to know there is always a McD's or Pizza Hut that you know too well. I think Niketown tries to infuse some local connection into their stores. Still, they are quite similar city to city.

I lived in Hamburg, Germany a few years back. On a whim I tried a restaurant called "Texas" which claimed to have "american-style" burgers. It was pretty horrible and not terribly american-style at all. I wondered how many travelers they had pulled in because they were longing to feel like they were away and at home at the same time. I stuck to the local pubs and had much better food. A local schnitzel or brat beats imported Burger Kind any day.

On Dec.21.2003 at 10:18 PM
ben’s comment is:

Try public transit! So my answer is white and red. A Toronto bus.

Having to take the transit everyday teaches people important lessons about society. Get out of your gas-guzzling bubbles guys, transit is the way to go!

On Dec.22.2003 at 09:11 AM
Christopher Johnston’s comment is:

> I also love this model, though there's no way it would fit in my garage.

Tan, I think that is part of the appeal of it. It's one of those cars you have to keep outside and annoy your neighbors by waxing every weekend. haha!

That J Mays concept is decent. I always saw the 50's/60's Continental as the classics and which the 70's quickly killed off. I'm normally not up for "modernizing" classics because they frequently turn out to be sub-standard fiberglass versions of the original that look like someone ran to many "round edges" filters on. Yet if anyone can bring back this classic in the right way,... Mays can. Love the Moonraker interior.


On Dec.22.2003 at 10:11 AM
vibranium’s comment is:

umm...camry. '96. red. ish.

and the wife drives a sienna. '03.

Hmmm....I'M A SQUARE!

On Dec.22.2003 at 10:15 AM
Sarah B,’s comment is:

What did everyone drive in design school?

A 94 Teal Green Escort....oh wait.. I still do! :P I like to pretend it is a Dark Silver/Pewter CLK 420 Benz Coupe - then I drive like a champ. Even a Pathfinder would do nicely for me, in Forest Green!

But I wont knock it, it gets me from place to place, and is saving me on a car payment for now! :)

On Dec.22.2003 at 10:36 AM
jesse’s comment is:

Hmm. You guys would hate me. I drive the speed limit.

And I think the Honda Element looks like a delivery truck.

But I drive a Honda. My last car was also a Honda. Both silver, both reliable and efficient.

I'd use public transit, but, well, we don't have public transportation out hyeer in BFE, y'all.

On Dec.22.2003 at 10:44 AM
Ben’s comment is:

Only one subaru owner? love my outback, the great dark green, with a red bike rack on the top. sporty.

On Dec.22.2003 at 10:56 AM
Tan’s comment is:

> it struck me that that is a big part what i hate about the strong brand experiences - they are the same, no matter if you are in n.y., l.a. miami. kansas. and i think its terrible. but if you keep the local spirit i think it can be pulled off and both brand and community will benefit.

I agree w/ what you're saying. Branding does create homogeneity of experiences, which dilutes a little bit of culture wherever you are.

But the object of retail branding is to create a superficial environment that feels familiar and comfortable immediately for a customer. The end goal is to sell the products inside, so when the brand experience is common and familiar -- customers will focus more on the products. It's about sales and volume, not distractions.

There's nothing particularly easy or endearing about the process of buying a car. It's stressful, arduous, and pain-in-the-ass long. I'm ok with automakers' attempt to making it a slick, familiar, efficient affair.

There's also the factor that online sales of cars are increasing. Dealerships are becoming nothing more than pick-up warehouses. They have to do something to create brand experience loyalty with their customers.


On another note, anyone have a Vespa? They're a little expensive. I wouldn't mind one of these cheaper alternatives ($1799).

On Dec.22.2003 at 11:51 AM
Sarah B.’s comment is:

Subaru - I hear they are wonderful cars, but I just couldnt make myself do it/buy one - all of my professors drove them... I guess they are a bit of a "designers" car for me - since that is what they all drive.

On Dec.22.2003 at 01:59 PM
Christopher Johnston’s comment is:

Speaking of car design... An observation that my Mom and I were kicking around one day: It seems to us that Cadillac (as a company) has been designing vehicles not only for its target market (the more elderly consumer) but also for their next step in life. I don't mean to sound morbid and I don't want to offend anybody but the next time you take a look at (and/or ride in) a new Cadillac Deville ask yourself if it feels almost like an entry level casket. I honestly don't mean to sound strange but both the Cadillac and the casket have quite a few options in common. Think about it. Coincidence?


On Dec.22.2003 at 02:24 PM
marian’s comment is:

if it feels almost like an entry level casket

Very nice. Very nice indeed.

On Dec.22.2003 at 04:03 PM
Christopher Johnston’s comment is:

Haha! Thanks Marian. I didn't mean to creep you guys right out the window,... it's just one of those things I see as painfully obvious.


On Dec.22.2003 at 04:15 PM
ps’s comment is:

both the Cadillac and the casket have quite a few options in common.

i assume that's on top of storing them underground...

On Dec.22.2003 at 04:25 PM
Tan’s comment is:

> the next time you take a look at (and/or ride in) a new Cadillac Deville ask yourself if it feels almost like an entry level casket.

hahaha...you and your mom are more accurate than you think Chris. Here's the unholy union of Cadillacs and funeral caskets.

I once read an article in a car mag about how Cadillacs are the preimminent base vehicle of choice for funeral hearses. This brand, Sayers and Scovill, is the top of the line model -- the Maybach of hearses if you will. Cadillacs are so commonly used for hearses that GM engineers their chassis support points and suspensions to accomodate the extra "dead" weight after conversion.

I'll stop there before I burn in hell.

On Dec.22.2003 at 08:51 PM
Viviane’s comment is:

Some of us live in Manhattan and haven't even considered owning a car in years. The cost of parking is equal to paying for an extra room in the apartment, and with the size of NY apartments, I'd take the extra room.

However, that means that I get to rent or borrow cars. One of my favorites is my uncle's original Mini Cooper, it's about 2/3 in size of the new Mini. It's like driving a shoebox.

Traveling in Europe I was also intrigued by the Smart Cars, which I think are produced by Daimler and which would be ideal for parking in the city, but hopeless when next to an average SUV.

After college I owned an Alfa Romeo Spider Veloce, which was my introduction to driving a stick shift. It had serious traffic light appeal and was great for driving to out of town press checks. Ultimately not the most practical car though...

On Dec.22.2003 at 09:16 PM
Christopher Johnston’s comment is:

>hahaha...you and your mom are more accurate than you think Chris. Here's the unholy union of Cadillacs and funeral caskets.

Tan, that is scary. Hilarious but scary. Ohhh the CattleYacht, where will they take it next?


On Dec.23.2003 at 12:24 AM
Tan’s comment is:

> Traveling in Europe I was also intrigued by the Smart Cars

when I was in Europe, I was shocked at how large a standard VW Golf was in comparison to the average city car. It's all relative -- Smarts and Minis are average-sized over there. I remember when we left Italy, the hotel we stayed at offered to shuttle us to the train station in their "limo". That limo, as it turned out, was just a normal-sized Audi A6. But in comparison to the tiny Peugeots, Fiats, and Citroens on the road -- the A6 was gargantuan.

btw, welcome to SU, Viviane. Glad to see you stopped by :-)

On Dec.23.2003 at 01:54 AM
Maya’s comment is:

I don't know how to drive. I ride a BMX bike. I don't understand what all this car fuss is about. I think designers are just as snooty about bicycles, scooters, rollerblades, and shoes, for that matter.

On Dec.23.2003 at 09:57 AM
Tan’s comment is:

> I ride a BMX bike.

Do your parents know what you're doing online Maya? And hey, what are you doing watching Cinemax? Don't you have some homework to do kid?

On Dec.23.2003 at 11:38 AM
Maya’s comment is:

> Do your parents know what you're doing

> online Maya? And hey, what are you doing

> watching Cinemax? Don't you have some

> homework to do kid?

Huh? My point is that there's a set of signifiers, as someone has mentioned, that's broader than simply the car you drive. Not everyone drives, which may be due to location, finances, handicap, or age. But, it seems fair to say that we all somehow define ourselves through our transportation.

On Dec.23.2003 at 12:55 PM
marian’s comment is:

Tan was teasing you with his "old guy" schtick. Just call him Gramps and everything will work out fine.

On Dec.23.2003 at 01:04 PM
Mark’s comment is:

I swore i would never trade in my bicycle for a vehicle but when road trips became a weekly thing it just made more sence. Managed to hold off till 25 though.

I find I only really like vehicles that are the current design (used to be 5 years for cars and 7 for trucks but the years are closing in) or the really old ones (well, older than me anyways).

cars are nice and I have my fav's but I've always been a truck guy. part small town and part outdoor enthusiast I suppose. a pickup is so useful (just don't ask me to help you move) especially if you like to play in the dirt, haul canoes and bikes, and do your own home renos. I can't image having anything but a truck - i currently have a 02 4 door dakota. I hate the fact that they are pigs on gas mind you, but I rarely drive in town (still use the bike or walk for groceries, videos etc) and have just over 30k in 2 years - all to the hardwear store or to the woods. Never thought I would buy a domestic as imports are generally better designed but who makes a decent import pickup? cummon. tacomas are too small for my 6'4" frame but I'm waiting to see how the larger toyotas, nissans and hondas hold out.

On Dec.23.2003 at 07:26 PM
jonsel’s comment is:

What I love about the Smart car is that it can park on the street by just pulling into a spot meant for parallel parking. They are basically square in dimension. Very, um, smart.

On Dec.23.2003 at 10:36 PM
mitch’s comment is:

well, i started in 1989 with my first car in high school, a 1980 Volvo 240 sedan in a nice mud color. the second car was a 1988 Volvo 740 Sportwagon (loved that car) - the perfect car for my 1st time at college when I was more interested in how many drunken college students would fit into it than I was about style (8 plus a 1/4 barrel keg, in case you are interested). Then a 1994 Honda Accord sedan - also known as "The world's most boring car"

now for my current round at design school I just got a 2003 VW Jetta Wolfsburg in silver (is there any other color?) This way I can fit in with all the rich kids from NY who drive Jetta's (and Ford Explorers - very popular up here - must be the allure of the Northeast I guess)

As far as the "design sensibility" of VW versus other car makers, I think thats really attributed at least as much to thier advertising campaigns as the actual design of the cars - probbly even more so. I mean, a Jetta is no more of a simple, minimal aesthetic than say, a Volvo, but they have the same kind of simple pointed, one trick pony advertising campaign as say, Apple, and thats the reason the two are so often compared. (Doyle Dane Bernbach = Chait/Day? You be the judge) This kind of simple adverts are almost inherently elegant - sort of like an iPod. That, and in the right light my Jetta is the EXACT same color as a G5 tower.

But my absoloute favorite design element about the Jetta is easy: a completely open Sunroof. It goes to the standard 92% open that all other sunroofs go to, but then you turn that dial just a bit more (with a nice audible click no less) you get an entirely open sunroof with no visible glass at all.

On Dec.28.2003 at 09:42 PM
Steven’s comment is:

I guess I have always had an interest in cars. My mother has told me that when I was a kid I would whip around corners immitating the squeal of rubber, then take off down a hallway making the sound of a revving engine.

Among other automotive experiences and interests, I have had a longstanding deep affection for cars from the 40's, 50's, and 60's. I must admit to having a softspot for Cadillacs, from that time period. I have also had the priviledge of owning a few beauties.

My first Cadillac was a 1953 62 series 4-door. Later, it was painted dark blue. Then, in a period of overindulgence, I owned both a 55 (4-door) and a 53, at the same time. This was fun; but a parking ticket nightmare scenario and and and economic black hole. I sold the 53. Here's two other images of the 55: a portrait and a long exposureart photo I took. I eventually sold the 55 when the mechanical requirements became more than I wanted to pay. I then bought a 67 Coupe de Ville, and cruised around in that for a few years. It was totally different experience than the older cars, but still fun. Here's a picture of me clowning around on it. Then there was a 7 year hiatus, until I bought this beauty back in the late 90's. It's a 1958 4-door hardtop extended deck. Here's two other images: (1) and (2). Sadly, I had to sell my beloved 58 this summer.

I do hope to buy another 58, at some point in the future, when it becomes more economically feasable. Keeping these kinds of cars running is a money-intensive, time-consuming, and logistically demanding; but it's really so much fun. They're so over-the-top swanky. I also have flirted with owning a 58 Chrysler Imperial and a 58 Lincoln Continental.

I am also quite fond of motorcycles, especially BMWs. My first was a 72 R75/5, then I had a 93 K75S, and I know have my dream bike: a 96 K1100RS.

On Dec.29.2003 at 02:06 AM
nancy mazzei’s comment is:

that's monte

On Jan.12.2004 at 04:35 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Uf! Pimp car (in the good aspect of it). Very cool.

On Jan.13.2004 at 04:01 PM
What movie?’s comment is:

"The guy buys a new Monte Carlo every year because his name is Monty"

On Jan.13.2004 at 10:48 PM
Paul’s comment is:

A: Queen's Logic. Referring to Tom Waits' character.

On Jan.14.2004 at 04:13 PM
Prize Patrol’s comment is:

Paul- You win! The check's in the mail! :)

On Jan.15.2004 at 12:31 PM
Ellen’s comment is:

I agree with you VW Golf guys. In the market for a new automobile that would satsify a bunch of requirements, I went to the NY auto show and picked out the VW GTI as the best designed, with the cutest body and most groovy interior, best combo of practicality (hatchback) with sportscar feel. Fun to drive with nifty 6-speed transmission. Then the powers that be ganged up on me NOT to buy it: Consumer Reports gave a bad review, mechanic direly warned that it would always be in the shop, husband said it was a car for teenagers. After a rather exhaustive search I wound up with a "pre-owned" Volvo V40 wagon, a lovely vehicle (I'm selling a vintage BMW 325i convertible and an SUV in favor of one all-purpose car). HOWEVER, why is it that the best-designed (looking) car can't be well engineered, too?

On Feb.21.2004 at 06:15 AM
Frank J Quinones’s comment is:

Aesthetics are important to me when it comes to cars, but that's just one of many reasons in buying one.

I'm a car/motorcycle enthusiast. I grew up around that environment. My dad used to collect classics and muscle cars. He's buy some junked up jalopy, restore it to it's original look, drive it for a while, sell it and do it all over again. He also had a motorcylce shop for a while and there were always cars and bikes while growing up. Both my parents own Harley's. So it's just a passion that I've grown up with.

Looks, reputation, quality and performance are the other factors I use in determining what car I'd be interested in. For example, BMW. Their cars are gorgeous. Beautiful, poetic and aggressive lines. Classy, bold. They take chances and explore with design. Their cars are built for the experience. But, my perception is that they don't seem to last as long as Japanese cars. I'd be willing to by a Beemer but I would have to make sure I'd be making lots of money just incase there's a lot of maintenence. Which is why I would opt for a Lexus IS300. It's basically a Toyota and those cars can handle the long haul. My first car was a Toyota and I put that car through hell and back and it begged for more.

Also, I really want to go back to rear wheel drive (or all wheel). So that narrows the field down to only a handful (i.e. Infinity G35, Lexus IS300, Subaru WRX Impreza and the BMW 3 series).

I think most people with money buy the BMWs and Mercedez just for status. I couldn't do that. Screw status and the Joneses. A car (a good one) is like artwork you can use on a daily basis.

On Feb.26.2004 at 08:42 PM
Rob Bennett’s comment is:

Oh I just had to add something here...currently we own a 1999 Subaru Legacy Wagon....quite a nice little car for a wagon, oh and it's a GT for that extra spunk. The dashboard design's major flaw is the cup holder that pull out from the dash, over top of the radio. What a pain. They apparentley got the message quickly, and moved the damn things in the 2000 model.

Most fun car I ever owned had to be my 1977 Karmin Ghia Beetle Convertible, yellow (PMS 190 is pretty close to how yellow it was) complete with the holes in the floor in the back, the turbo that didn't work well in the rain (well the first roof leaked) and ended up being sold so we could buy the wedding dress.

My dream car used to be any MG. Now, I just love the new Z and of course, would love to own a Cooper Mini (perfect for the city). But alas, I walk to work and we don't need a second car.

On Feb.27.2004 at 11:37 AM
priya’s comment is:

for those that live in manhattan: i saw a Mini Cooper ZipCar yesterday. yes yes yes! another excuse to drive a mini! it ain't free ($12.00/hr or $85.00 for the full day) but if you need to do some hard core errands anyway via car it's worth it! ... right? (i might just be blinded by the oh so shiny and pretty car... mmm shiny...)

On Feb.28.2004 at 02:28 PM
mudguru’s comment is:

1970 Karmin Ghia-----fun car-----two door-----conv.top----exc. gas milage---white w/black top----love of our life! Info. 651-301-9426 Bob

On May.01.2004 at 02:32 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

Mmm. Mini. Mine.

On May.27.2004 at 01:51 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Congrats Jon! She kicks ass. I can tell by the hood vent that it's a Cooper S too. Rock on.

It's the designer car right now.

I'm jealous beyond words.

(I'm in the process of buying a new ride as well — so who knows, maybe we'll have twins soon.)

On May.27.2004 at 02:00 PM
Shawn Wolfe’s comment is:

Emek's candy apple red Volvo. So fine.


On May.27.2004 at 02:45 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Man, I want to ride with Shawn… screw that mini.

On May.27.2004 at 02:52 PM
Shawn Wolfe’s comment is:

Not my car. [I WISH.]

On May.27.2004 at 02:58 PM
Armin’s comment is:


so JonSel…

On May.27.2004 at 03:10 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

Try the subway.

On May.27.2004 at 03:27 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

Thanks, Tan. Yes, it is supercharged. I love it. I haven't even had it for a week. Speaking of designer stereotypes... I got an auxiliary jack installed so I can plug my iPod directly in to the stereo.

Now I have to teach my wife to drive a manual...

On May.27.2004 at 03:32 PM
Tom’s comment is:

Here's the muscle I am fortunate to cruise to work in often.

'69 Mustang. 302.

On May.27.2004 at 03:59 PM
Michael Mulvey’s comment is:

Ahhh, I want a car so bad. It's probably the only trade-off that's worth mentioning when living in NYC. As a reaction to my longing for an old classic, I shot this 'exhibit' a few years ago and posted it to my site:

The Combustion Chamber - New York Cars

On May.28.2004 at 10:03 AM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

Nice ride Jon, it's just amazing. Good luck with it, what fun! Tan, get one, you even have to think about it? ;)

I came across this yesterday. Very interesting.

On May.28.2004 at 10:39 AM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

You know what I find amazing? GP fucking S. My father bought an Volvo XC70 a few months ago and it has a built in pop-up navigation system. Having a navigation system in a car changed the way I get from point A to point B the same way the iPod changed my relationship with music. No more anxiety. No more getting lost. Anyone using GPS in the car?

The new Acura TL has built in bluetooth. So geeky cool.

On May.28.2004 at 01:14 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>Tan, get one, you even have to think about it?

I keep thinking the Mini is a tad overpriced. That's the only thing keeping me from pulling the trigger on it.

By the time you get a Cooper S, load it w/ everything including your beloved GPS (I agree) — the sucker is almost $30K. For basically the same price, I could get a Nissan 350Z, a WRX, or for a few grand more, an A4, a certified-used TT Quattro, or this beauty.

And for something completely different, check out this new Crosslander. It's a European brand that competes with Land Rovers — this Defender 90 knockoff stickers for $18K new.

So you see, the Mini has alot to compete with. If only it was about $5K cheaper...

On May.28.2004 at 01:48 PM
mitch’s comment is:

saw one of these yesterday.... wow. just...wow.

On May.28.2004 at 01:59 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

Tan, that is a bit high. I'm probably one of the few that doesn't like the 350Z, to close to the TT and from the back, it's got some refinement issues. I heard the WRX stinks because of it's torque? Mechanically I don't know much about cars but I've heard that a few times now. Speaking of all-wheel drive, I can't see myself getting a car without it, therefore I love Audi's. My father had an A6 wagon and then an A6 2.7T. He looked at the All Road but it was about 7K more then the XC70 and the pompous attitude at the dealer turned him off. Mind you, he and his partner bought four Audi's from him. I don't get it.

I like Saab's too. This sounds great but looks to much like a WRX or Hyundai for that matter. The Volvo S40 and it's wagon sibling, the V50, looks great too.

I fall in love with this more and more every day. The V-Series is just incredible.

As for the the 6 Series? Wow is right Mitch. Even more so in person.

On May.28.2004 at 03:03 PM
Schmitty’s comment is:

My car is nothing special, so please allow me to fantasize.

Bugatti Veyron

Bugatti has a great logo by the way. Anyone else think so?


Also love the logo

Oh well, back to my volkswagen (sigh)

On May.28.2004 at 03:59 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>This sounds great but looks to much like a WRX or Hyundai for that matter.

That's because the Saab 9-2 is a WRX. Same mechanically, slightly different cosmetically.

GM owns shares of Saab and Subaru, so there's some "badge branding" that was inevitable. I think the Saab does look a little better, but it's not worth the $7K premium over the Subaru.

I love the new Volvos too. My wife is aching for a new XC90 in a bad way. It's the ultimate soccer mom-mobile.

On May.28.2004 at 04:16 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>As for the the 6 Series?

I still don't like the busy-ness of Chris Bangle's design. Though the 6 series is the best so far of his redesigns. The new 4 series looks promising.

I read one car magazine that described the new 6 series as the best Camaro that BMW ever built. Especially in convertible form.

Squint a bit, and you can see their point.

On May.28.2004 at 04:33 PM
Lautaro Gabriel Gonda’s comment is:

I have a red '97 Audi A4. It doesn't have that rounded butt that the newer ones have, which is a little too bar of soapy for me. It's my first car. I'm pretty happy with it.

On May.28.2004 at 04:42 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

GM owns shares of Saab and Subaru, so there's some "badge branding" that was inevitable.

Ah, that's why. I knew they owned Saab, but not Subaru. The similarity is even more apparent now.

I dislike the BMW 5 Series design. Looks to Japanese, to squished. Don't mind the 7 Series. And I don't get convertibles.

which is a little too bar of soapy for me.

Ha. That's so true. The A8 and the S4 are beauties too.

On May.28.2004 at 04:54 PM
schmitty’s comment is:

Found this on the internet and just had to post it for anyone who might re-ignite this conversation.

Nothing beats a vintage Diplomat cop car from Oak Park, IL!

On Jun.09.2004 at 10:36 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Just in this morning.

The best reason yet to buy a BMW (or a Mini).

On Jun.22.2004 at 03:56 PM
Kiran Max Weber’s comment is:

The best reason yet to buy a BMW (or a Mini).

Except that you:

1. Have to make five iTunes playlists named BMW 1, BMW 2, BMW 3, etc. and you can only listen to those playlists.

2. You can't use it in a BMW (or a Mini) that has a CD player, CD changer, or a navigation system.

3. Besides the Mini it's limited to only a few BMW series, granted they're the hipper ones but still...

I like the idea, I just thought Apple would have refined it better.

Tan, get a ride yet?

On Jun.22.2004 at 06:04 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Nope, no ride yet Kiran. We just bought a new house and the missus won't let me buy a toy till end of summer.

But just for kicks, I did recently test ride one of these behemoths — an H2.

Don't worry, I'm not seriously thinking about buying one, but it was such a guilty pleasure. It's like driving a cartoon, a larger-than-life caricature of normal cars. I could have driven over Jon's new Mini and not even notice. Heck, I could sling my Miata across the back of the H2 like how those large yachts carry their little dinghies. It's a freaking blast, and if you ask me, a helluva better deal than Escalades and X5s.

Here's a bit of trivia that will make you swallow your tongue. The H2's gas tank holds 32 gallons. Can you imagine the tab on a fillup?!

On Jun.22.2004 at 07:15 PM
vineeta’s comment is:

hey... i luv cars.i dont know much abt car engineering part...i basically am interested in the looks...i wud like to be an automotive designer...is it necessary to be a science student for that...or computer knowledge is only needed??

On Sep.06.2004 at 11:21 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Vin — automotive design requires a significant amount of math and science and a working knowledge of basic mechanical and electronic engineering. Computer proficiency is also essential. From your post, it doesn't sound like you're a calculus or physics expert. Or are you just really young. How old? 12? 14?

Listen, if all you're interested in is tricking out cars and slamming Hondas, then you don't need to be a designer. Just take an auto body class at a local technical college, and find a auto body/custom shop that will train you. There's good money in that industry — just check out the latest SEMA (Specialty Equipment Market Association) show. The automotive aftermarket/customizing industry is a $12 billion/a year business or something like that...

On Sep.06.2004 at 01:12 PM
vineeta’s comment is:


thnx 4 da info...iam a 16 yr old gurl frm india...and iam doin my +2 in commerce line...no science background...and i know calculus (commerce level). as per my knowledge...theres not much demand for this profession in India. but iam so much interested to go in this line...but damn i dont have science...thnx..u cleared my doubt of whether i needed science 4 it it or not. my dad being an engineer himself told me that to decide the outside part of da car u must know the inside wrking first..but that time i was like soo desperate to make this as my goal...i wanted to confirm this ...neways...so wat i can't design cool cars..one day i'll buy the coolest 1 on my own hehehe. byee tc

On Sep.07.2004 at 11:42 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Vineeta, if you're 16 and already know calculus, then a few more years of science and design shouldn't be difficult for you.

You should look into an automotive design program at Cal Arts, the University of Michigan, or other comparable programs in countries and states that have auto manufacturing.

If you want to design cool cars, then you should endeavor to learn to design cool cars.

On Sep.07.2004 at 12:01 PM
vineeta’s comment is:


how do u know so much abt cars,the profession related to cars and designing?

On Sep.08.2004 at 10:34 AM
Tan’s comment is:

>how do u know so much abt cars

Good question. Well, I've been a car nut since I was 6. My older brothers (both became mechanical engineers) taught me the mechanics of cars at an early age — by 12, I was replacing head gaskets and readjusting valves on my brother's Toyota. In college, and up until I had kids, I occasionally raced autocross (SCCA) in a little souped up Honda that I worked on myself.

Like you, I grew up loving the design of cars as well, from Fiats to Aston Martins — it didn't matter. I wanted to become an automotive designer more than anything, so I researched schools all over the US for good programs. But at the end, family things kept me local for college, where there weren't any auto design programs. Instead, I studied chemical engineering (big in Texas) and then eventually graphic design.

My dream is still to one day build my own GT-40 replica. J Mays, the head designer at Ford, apparently has the same dream. But he got Ford to build the new GT. Too bad it's $150k.

On Sep.08.2004 at 11:41 AM
Tan’s comment is:

>You should look into an automotive design program at Cal Arts

I wanted to correct myself. A nice reader (who's an instructor at Cal Arts) pointed out that it's Art Center in Pasadena that has the auto design program, not Cal Arts.

Thanks Caryn — for some reason, I get those two schools mixed up often. My mistake.

On Sep.08.2004 at 05:38 PM
vineeta’s comment is:


thats a kewl dream...hey how old ru?

u have an engineering background so u can always fulfill ur dream..i have a 'commerce' background so i can only dream....neways i'll try my level best to get into this line.lets see.

On Sep.09.2004 at 12:16 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>hey how old ru?

Young enough to still drive a sports car without looking like I'm having a mid-life crisis. But old enough to drive a Passat wagon with child seats in the back on the weekends.

I'm in my mid 30s.

On Sep.09.2004 at 06:07 PM
vineeta’s comment is:


mid 30's is a pretty kewl age...u can do anythin u feel like....16 yrs u dont even get a lisence to drive.

On Sep.10.2004 at 07:21 AM
Dominique King’s comment is:

I think that a hummer2 is sooo cute

On Oct.12.2004 at 05:01 PM
Tan’s comment is:

The random posts on this thread are just too funny. And the frequency too — every month or so it gets revived by a newbie, who quickly vanishes after a post or two. It's like an old car that just won't die.

What are people googling to get here? I'm curious.

On Oct.12.2004 at 07:22 PM
ps’s comment is:

What are people googling to get here?

keywords: tan, obsession, midlife crisis

On Oct.12.2004 at 07:47 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Top 20 queries from yesterday, courtesy of my stats:

(numbers indicate number of queries)

35: speak up

14: design brief

13: smackdown

10: thesis proposals for statisticians

6: walgreens logo

6: david carson

5: new aol logo

5: stefan sagmeister

5: cingular logo

5: chris farley

5: lana rigsby

5: cooper black

4: claude garamond typefaces

4: james victore

4: speak

4: john maeda

4: luba lukova

3: vh1 logo

3: design vs art

3: paula scher posters

On Oct.12.2004 at 09:57 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Got a good deal on a pre-owned IS300. Mini and TT was very tempting, but alas, just as small as my old Miata—and I'm not as svelte as I used to be...


On Dec.09.2004 at 06:56 PM
Don Julio’s comment is:

Keepin' the drive alive Tan?

How long can an old thread live anyway? It would be funny if this were going years from now and all the earlier posts were of outdated cars.

Currently considering a Dodge Magnum or a Chrysler 300 - but how can you get one, be responsible fuel-wise and pass up the Hemi?

On Dec.09.2004 at 08:04 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>How long can an old thread live anyway?


Besides, this thread is the type of Friday fluff we used to have every so often. Designers love cars, what can I say?

>Currently considering a Dodge Magnum or a Chrysler 300

I like the look too, but have a feeling that the design is going to get dated fast. Just like the PT Cruiser, it'll go from cool to clunky in a year or so.

I also considered the new/old Mustang GT. Huge engine in very cool retro packaging. But went to the dealer, and saw the $10K markups and bidding wars. Sorry, but no car is worth that.

On Dec.10.2004 at 12:27 PM
Don Julio’s comment is:

I also considered the new/old Mustang GT.

Same here. Love the more forward front styling - makes me want to drive. Practicality puts it slightly above the TT and Mini.

PT Cruiser seemed dated from the start - no doubt the retro inspiration. I'd have to go for a Beetle before one of those - but I won't. It's just not a guy kinda car. The rag tops in all of these models are a step up. Still looking - but it's trade in time. Maybe vintage is better.

On Dec.10.2004 at 12:39 PM
JonSel’s comment is:

Might as well pull this thread into '05. Here's VW's preview of the re-designed Jetta.

I'm not digging the chrome breastplate or whatever that thing is. I suppose it may grow on me, but the whole thing feels soft and blobby, like a Taurus or something generic. Oh well...I still like my '00 Jetta (and the Mini, of course).

On Jan.13.2005 at 04:43 PM
Michael Surtees’s comment is:

As a Jetta driver (2001), I'm outraged! Ok not outraged, but I'm definitely not looking at that for an upgrade in a year or two. JonSel's description sums it up.

On Jan.13.2005 at 05:19 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

The Jetta, like half the cars in the VW/Audi/Seat/Skoda world, is built on the Golf platform. It appears that VW has dropped mini Passat pretense and made this car look like what it is: a Golf sedan.

The grille of course comes from Audi (A6 & new A4 coming soon). I don't know if you can get it in the States, but the sexiest thing on the Golf platform is the Audi A3.

On Jan.14.2005 at 05:16 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Also, if you want a Mustang, don't buy a silly new Retro copy full of ancient technology, buy a proper old one with ancient technology. They are way way way cooler.

I do miss my 1965 fastback... mmmm

On Jan.14.2005 at 05:21 AM
Don Julio’s comment is:

I also had a ’65, and a ’66 Mustang, as well as a ’65 Chevelle. I'm doing my homework, albeit slowly. I found a ’67 Mustang recently that has potential. But it's nice to have the up to date power, handling and safety features.

If a new design pays homage well to the original, I can find a way to respect that as well. The new ’Stang represents the evolution you might’ve wished for in the 70’s when the Ford design team fell asleep at the wheel.

On Jan.14.2005 at 12:04 PM