Yeah, the Mini too

I didn't mean to imply that last week's "Who does retro right?" post was about any and all car manufacturers that are pulling off the retro thing. It's just that those three cars are soon to be in the same segment and needed to be compared. The Mini stands alone. Just like the cheese.

The redesigned Mini in 2001 is so much bigger than it's father, it's hard to believe that they pulled it off. When you see one on the road, you marvel at how much it looks just like the old one. Well don't stare at them for too long or you'll be disappointed how poorly your memory serves you.

Don't get me wrong, there are so many details that are so beautifully executed that the details themselves are great examples of retro design. The roof line, mirrors, wheels and instrument panel are careful modern interpretations of the originals. The headlights are filled with turn signals and projection beams, but are simplified to an oval (which viewed from straight on, are circles). A white roof, racing stripes and grille mounted driving lights are among the other details that are inspired by the car's heritage.

There's really nothing that I don't like about the design. All the details are well thought out, even though so many of those details designed themselves. So the only criticism I can give is that there's nothing ground breaking about the aesthetic. It's been done before. I think it was called the Mini. And that's why designers typically don't like retro designs. Retro designers get credit for beautiful interpretations of classic designs, but the argument can be made that it's only half as difficult to redesign a car as it is to design something from scratch.


who does retro right?

Finally, the big three here in the states are competing again in the pony car market. Ford has had all the fun since the release of the redesigned mustang in 2005 (model year). Now, every Tom, Dick and Harry has one. I was afraid of that. So, fashionably late to the party, comes the Chevy Camaro and the Dodge Challenger. Now, just to be clear, I'm not going to go over horsepower, suspension, gas mileage, or any other details that will help you decide which car is right for you. I'm just talking aesthetics here. It's kinda my thing. Who has succeeded in faithfully capturing the spirit of the original classics in new sheet metal?

We'll start with the Ford Mustang.

It's hard to pin down exactly what year in the late 1960s that this new generation of Mustang came from, and that's the idea. There's really nothing about this car that I don't like. Except that every Tom, Dick and Harry has them. I've already mentioned that. But, being that there's so many of them out there, we've seen how the aftermarket has made nearly every GT out there unique. Scouring the net for images of late 60s Mustangs, it was very hard to find one that was stock.

I give this a 9.5 in honor of the olympics.

Next, let's look at the Chevy Camaro.

It's easier to put your finger on the 68 or 69 model year, except this is a much more modern interpretation of the classic. I applaud GM for pushing the envelope on this, but why mess with a winning recipe? There were sketches floating around the web of what the Camaro might look like that were just as exciting as the Mustang, but the final product is polarizing. No one seems to be indifferent, and I for one am not a fan. It looks squished, and has some angles that seem to be arbitrary.

I'll give it a 8.7. It scores low marks in "badass"

Last, but not least, the Dodge Challenger.

Again, it's pretty easy to see that the Challenger is the offspring of the 1970 pictured here. Both cars score huge marks in "badass". Staying true to the concept as both the Mustang and the Camaro did, (don't split hairs with me here people,) the Dodge has really muscular lines, and fantastic design cues from the classic.

I give it a 9.8. Retro, badass, and great attention to detail makes the Challenger the gold medal winner.


Chevy Aveo. Really?

this is the Chevy Aveo. it's a subcompact that appeals to... um... well, nobody.

i think this is how the conversation went.
"we need a more fuel efficient vehicle for our line up."
"how about an H4?"
"no, something smaller. we need more than 30MPG."
"what red blooded american wants a car like that when they can have a truck?"
"good question. how about we make it as ugly as we can, and that way, no one will buy one and we will have the numbers to prove that americans don't want little cars."
"great idea."

well i couldn't help but to offer some suggestions. the changes below have made it a little more aggressive and purposeful. note the wider c-piller like the new vw rabbit and gti. the front gets chevy's new huge grille, and the feet get bigger. this isn't a sports car, but why can't it look like the little brother of a sporty compact?