makes a great car?
When people talk about 'great cars' what exactly do they mean? Great
cars can come in all shapes and sizes, from ultra exotic Ferrari's
to the lowly Beetle, so there is obviously no exact formula to which
a great car can be built.
Legendary cars do all have one thing in common, and that is something
unique which sets them apart from the competition. Whether it be astounding
performance or a huge fanbase, they all have their own instantly recognisable
The first steps to a great car car be started by any number of people,
great reviews by motoring journalists, word of mouth by owners, intense
media publicity, high profile movie roles, or just by capturing the
Almost every model from companys such as Lamborghini, Ferrari and
Porsche could in some way be considered a great car, but it's the
real icons of motoring such as the Testarossa, Countach and 911 that
stick in everyone's mind, Why?
was one of the most excessive and angular Ferrari's of all time. The
car was specifically geared for the materialistic 80's and many designers
consider it to be one of the most vulgar Ferrari's of all time. But
to this day say 'Ferrari' to anybody and almost inevitably the Testarossa
is one of the first models to spring to mind. It is it's uncompromising
excess that makes it a great.
epitomizes Lamborghini's outrageous design philosophy, ridiculous
rear views, completely unreasonable ergonomics and radical wedge proportions
were the traits which helped to guarantee the Countach's place in
the automotive hall of fame, there is nothing quite so impractical.
Porsche on the other hand has formed the legendary 911
over decades, refining and remodeling the car into one of the most
sensible and competent supercars on the planet. The 911's greatness
was assured by it's long running sales performance, relative accessibility
and natural good looks.
But what about cars like the Volkswagen Beetle? This car has all the
ingredients. First of all it was designed by Adolf Hitler, hardly
a good start. It has a very basic air-cooled engine, and it was designed
to be so common and basic everyone could have one. Well, here is where
it differs from most cars. The Beetle was so popular and affordable,
and its inbuilt simplicity which allowed for many modifications, proved
to be its major attraction. A huge fan-base has built up around the
Beetle, following its surfer-cool street cred image. This is a land
where performance is not an issue, customisation and laid back simple
hippy fun is.
So engineering, style, performance, personality and charm all play
a part in creating a great car, you don't need all of them, but you
do need at least one.
But what about a story. One of the the most important ingredients
of a great car is a good story, one which people can relate to or
find interesting, and therefore remember forever.
The story of the Ford
GT40 immediately springs to mind. The GT40 was a great
looking car but it's the David and Goliath story, beating Ferrari
four times consecutively at Le Mans during the late 60's is one which
many have heard, and it is one of the GT40's defining features. The
story completes the car.
Great cars can happen spontaneously, the Countach, or slowly over
time, the 911. So what of future icons? Unfortunately modern companies
are increasingly influenced by profit margins and bureaucratic red
tape, this is true of the automotive world more than any other market.
Big company's love setting a products lifespan to sell the next model
a few years down the line, hardly an environment conducive to producing
legends. However, some manufacturers, especially the smaller ones,
rely on superior quality as one of their major selling points. To
start lowering their standards, to far, would be stock market suicide.
So it's decided, there is no formula, predictions are erratic and
there will always be some 'great cars' on the rise. We don't know
exactly what they are yet. But it is us, the public, who eventually
Where do ugly cars come from?
Retro or Rehash?
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