> Beautiful and Ugly Machines
Not all vehicles were created equal. Some were blessed with
beautifully executed design, gorgeous to behold, they have become
almost like functional pieces of artwork. Others. Well they
were just plain ugly. Below are listed a selection of what are
the two extremes of beautiful and ugly vehicles.
1958 Chevrolet Corvette
The Chevrolet Corvette story began in 1953. The Corvette
was Chevrolet's first go at fiberglass
bodied cars, a feature which carries on to this day.
The original Corvette was penned by legendary designer
Harley Earl, however it was Bill Mitchell who redesigned
the 1958 model.
The 1958 Corvette was the first year to use the quadruple
headlights, and the 1958 car also featured additional
air vents behind the rear wheels.
Although unrecognisable from its predecessors, the modern
Chevrolet Corvette remains the staple diet of American
sports car fans.
Aston Martin DB9
The Aston Martin DB9 is a thoroughbred sports car with
GT levels of comfort and refinement. The DB9's design
philosophy is uncompromising, and brings together everything
that makes a sports car great with that unique Aston
Martin character borne out of craftsmanship and use
of the finest quality materials.
The DB9 displays magnificent styling while allowing
the occupants to relax in a sumptuous, fully equipped
cabin trimmed in the finest quality materials. Featuring
a superb Linn audio system, just select Drive and let
the DB9s 6.0-litre V12 and shift-by-wire fully
automatic transmission do the rest.
The Beechcraft Starship is an unorthodox canard style
aircraft. It was intended as a luxury small aircraft,
and built from composite materials it was very advanced.
It did not sell well though - partly due to its unusual
design, and only 53 Starships were ever constructed.
Designed by Burt Rutan of Scaled Composites, a Beechcraft
Starship was used as the primary chase plane for the
SpaceShipOne private manned sub orbital flight.
Ferrari 250 GTO
The legendary Ferrari 250 GTO was created by one of
Enzo Ferrari's favorite designers, Sergio Scaglietti.
While the Ferrari 250 GTO was more brutal than its predecessors,
its muscle car appeal makes it one of the most collectible,
and expensive, of all classic Ferrari's.
The stunning Ford GT40 came about after Henry Ford II
failed in his bid to buy Ferrari.
In 1963 Ford Advanced Vehicles was set up with the help
of Eric Broadley, from Lola cars. The first prototype
GT40 was finished in April 1964. The car gets its name
from the fact the roof sits just 40 inches above the
road, this feature is also the reason why the doors
cut into the roof - to aid entry.
The GT40 prototype used a 4.2 litre V8 making 350 bhp,
the car was raced and tested at Le Mans, the Nurburgring,
Reims and Nassau. Information gained through these trials
and the adjustments made allowed the team to achieve
an impressive top speed of 207 mph.
1967 Ford Shelby GT500
The 1967 - 1968 Shelby GT500 was the most aggressive
Shelby Mustang of all time.
The fibreglass panels replacing the standard sheet metal
engine and trunk lids were designed by Carol Shelby
and Chuck McHose. The resulting body modifications gave
the car a 3 inch (7.5 cm) longer nose with furthur resccessed
The 428 cubic inch V8 fitted to some cars used two Holly
carburettors, this engine was capable of accelerating
the GT500 to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds and the car
had a top speed of 132 mph.
The Lamborghini Countach is one of the most controversial
designs of all time, to be honest there are just as
many reasons for it to be an all time ugly design as
there are reasons for it to be considered beautiful.
However the fact that over thirty years after its conception
it remains a pin-up favorite ensures its place as a
beautiful, if somewhat unorthodox design great.
The Porsche 911 story started with the 1964 901/911
prototype, a car designed to continue where the Porsche
356 left off.
The new car was intended to be faster, more luxurious,
spacious and have improved handling characteristics.
Part of the beauty of the 911 comes in the knowledge
of its unconventional engine positioning. The extreme
rearward placing of the engine is something no other
mass manufacturer has attempted, never mind perfected.
The 911's DNA remains unchanged to this day - part of
the reason why the car is included in the most beautiful
designs of all time.
The first genuine Supermarine Spitfire prototype flew
on the 5th of March 1936, after previous Supermarine
prototypes had failed to meet Air Ministry standards
for a new fighter.
The first mass production Spitfire MK I's were delivered
to squadron 19 in August 1938. From this aircraft 40
variants were derived, with upgrades of MK and various
different configurations including, fighter, advanced
trainer, photo reconnaissance, air sea rescue, and a
version for the Fleet air arm.
The Spitfire MK1.A was powered by a Rolls-Royce Merlin
III engine putting out 1,030 horsepower at 16,250 feet
giving the aircraft a maximum level speed of 362 mph
at 18,500 feet.
1981 Chevrolet Camaro
The 1981 Camaro was the last year of the second generation
Camaro, a line which began in 1970. The previous generation
ran from 1967 - 1969.
The gothic styling of the later second generation cars
was vulgar to say the least, the early cars were far
superior in the design department.
The 1981 Camaro was offered with either a V6 or a V8
and came in three models, the base Sport Coupe, Berlinetta,
and top spec Z28.
1957 Aurora Safety Car
The Aurora Safety car was a creation of American catholic
priest Alfredo Juliano. His design was not graced by
the hand of God.
Designed with safety for passengers and pedestrians
the only concern, the Aurora's appearance was an afterthought.
And the car has been hailed by many as the ugliest vehicle
of all time.
Safety features of this hideous creation include; saftey
belts - rare in 1957, foam filled bumpers mounted on
gas shocks, roll over bars built into the perspex dome
roof, and a telescopic steering column. The Aurora's
rounded windscreen was intended to eliminate the need
for windscreen wipers.
Mil Mi-24 Hind Attack Helicopter
The Mi-24 assault helicopter is manned by two crew seated
in tandem fully armored cockpits with bullet proof front
The Mi-24 entered service for the Soviet Union in the
late 1970's and can carry 8 troops or 14 stretchers.
Since its introduction it has been used by many other
Countries as their primary attack helicopter. The Mi-24's
bulky body and warthog face assure its place among the
worlds ugliest machines.
The eco-friendly Honda Insight electric hybrid car is
a popular hybrid vehicle. The Insight cannot be faulted
for reliability, ingenuity, or engineering.
However the feeble styling, optimised for low drag,
plays into the hands of alternative fuel nay-sayers.
Why can't the Insight have a more 'normal' appearance?
Why does it make everyone who drives it look like a
weakling? Honda has spent a lot of time and money developing
the technology for the Insight, why not put a bit of
effort into the appearance.
MTT Y2K Turbine Superbike
The MTT Y2K is the words first, and only gas-turbine
The Y2K is powered by a Rolls Royce Allison Turbine
engine, a powerplant usually found in helicopters due
to its light weight and profound ability to produce
Unfortunatley, although the Y2K is a spectacular and
competent feat of engineering its styling is another
matter. The dead-fish-eye headlights are unattractive
to say the least, and the bodywork is plain and uninteresting.
However the fact the exhaust temperature is 650 degrees
C, and it sounds like an aircraft on take off helps
make up for the lack luster exterior design.
The Plymouth Superbird and sister model the Dodge Daytona
were the last step of the muscle car race, a race in
which manufacturers Ford, Chevrolet and Dodge took part,
each trying to out do each other for power and speed.
The Superbird was only sold for one year, 1970. Once
the Plymouth Superbird hit the professional race circuit
it dominated so overwhelmingly that restricions were
put in place which excluded it from competition, and
without the publicity of the race track its production
was ceased.There were 1,920 Superbirds built during
The Superbird featured a two foot high rear spoiler
which made little or no difference to the aerodynamics
of the car under 90 mph. The Superbird also wore an
elongated nose section designed to cut through the air.
These features combined are the reason the Superbird
is one of the ugliest designs of all time.
The Pontiac Aztek was advertised by Pontiac as the world's
first SRV, or Sport-Recreation Vehicle, a multipurpose
machine designed to support active lifestyles, providing
plenty of space for hauling bicycles, kayaks, snowboards,
skis and other recreational gear.
Unfortunately the Aztek turned into a pretty hideous
design. Its bulky overweight body looks flabby and un-athletic,
the large size completely overwhelms the wheels and
tires. The front end looks far too busy. And the ridiculous
number of tacky looking plastic bolt-on-bits serve to
further undermine the overall design.
Nice idea, but a terrible design.
Sikorsky S-64 Skycrane
The Sikorsky Skycrane consists of an extremely long
fuselage beam with a front mounted cockpit accommodating
3 crew and 2 jump seats for loaders / technicians.
The gangly landing gear consists of one wheel under
the cockpit and one either side of the fuselage about
half way down the aircraft's body.
The idea is that the Skycrane can straddle any cargo
being attached, or interchangeable pods can be fixed
to the fuselage.
The Skycrane has a maximum payload capacity of 20,000
lbs (9,072 kgs) and has been used by the military, fire
service and as a civilian workhorse.
A Sikorsky Skycrane also featured at the end of the
blockbuster movie 'Swordfish' with John Travolta.
Since 1992 the S-64 Skycrane has been manufactured by
Erickson Air-Crane after they bought the type certificate
from Sikorsky, and the aircraft was renamed the Erickson
Super Guppy 377SG Transport Aircraft
The absurd proportions of the 377SG 'Super Guppy' come
from Airbus Industries.
The Super Guppy cargo aircraft was constructed to transport
Apollo rocket stages from California to Florida, the
only other option would have been by slow boat and the
The cargo compartment of the Super Guppy stand 25 ft
tall by 25 ft wide and extends for 111 ft. This flying
hanger can carry 26 tons of cargo at 265 mph.
Other transport aircraft with similar 'Guppy' designations
include the 'Pregnant Guppy' and the 'Mini Guppy'.
In 1996 the Super Guppy was replaced by the Airbus