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Home > 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.

Beautiful Machines

1958 Chevrolet Corvette
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
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 DB9’s 6.0-litre V12 and shift-by-wire fully automatic transmission do the rest.


Beechcraft Starship
Beechcraft Starship
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
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.


Ford GT40
Ford GT40
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
1967 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 headlights.

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.


Lamborghini Countach
Lamborghini Countach
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.


Porsche 911
Porsche 911 Turbo
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.


Supermarine Spitfire

Supermarine Spitfire
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.





Ugly Machines

1981 Chevrolet Camaro
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
1957 Aurora ugly 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
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 glass.

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.


Honda Insight
Honda Insight
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
MTT Y2K
The MTT Y2K is the words first, and only gas-turbine powered superbike.

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 horsepower.

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.


Plymouth Superbird
Plymouth Superbird
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 this time.

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.


Pontiac Aztek
Pontiac Aztek
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
Sikorsky 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 Aircrane.


Super Guppy 377SG Transport Aircraft
Super Guppy 377SG
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 Panama Canal.

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 Beluga.









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