"In just a very few years in the mid ’50s the most beautiful sports cars ever made appeared: the Lancia B24, the MGA, the Lotus Elite. Why? Any design reflects the psychological reality of those responsible. Designers in the ’50s could entertain the prospect of driving fast and free. Their response was to doodle and then shepherd into manufacture sports cars. Our psychological reality is rather grimmer. This is why designers today doodle utilitarian vehicles. This is why the sports car will soon be dead." – Stephen Bayley
While I agree with Bayley’s assessment of the influence of culture on design – the culture of a designers is inescapably embedded in the designed object – I differ as to the outcome. Yes, our society is more militant and afraid than it was during the romantic era of automotive design, but I don’t believe the sports car will die out completely as a result. Instead, it will become a low-volume, niche product for a small and dedicated group of gearheads whose primary interest is in the visceral and behavioral elements of the automobile – they want know what it feels like to be connected to steering, the gearshift, and the throttle. All those people who bought sports cars merely for their reflective, I-want-to-get-laid value (i.e. Corvette owners) are now buying Hummers and will buy whatever is au courant.
Critics have been moaning about the impending death of the sports car for quite some time. Professor Ferdinand Porsche expressed this counter argument over 25 years ago:
“Even in the unlikely event of the car disappearing one day from the road, we will still have the sports car. If we take the horse as an example: as a working animal it is practically non-existent, but in the field of leisure and sport there are many more horses today than ever before.”
It’s common today to hear about “horse people”, individuals who structure their lives so that they can slake their passions for the animals. Perhaps the same will happen with sports cars.
The end of sports cars?
metacool: Will Sports Cars Die?
Diego Rodriguez doesn’t think so and I agree.
Instead, it will become a low-volume, niche product for a small and dedicated group of gearheads whose primary interest is in the visceral and behavioral elements of t…