In an industry full of players old and new, car design is a critical step for a brand to take to set itself apart and establish its own identity. Exceptional ones even go on to become global icons.
Today we will be looking at five of the most recognisable car designs that have graced our roads, and captured the collective imagination of the entire automotive world!
Arguably the most iconic sports car ever designed, the 911’s elegant silhouette has successfully endured the test of time - 58 years, to be precise. The Porsche’s curvaceous curves have remained largely the same with each iteration, and never deviated from the original blueprints. They also share key elements, such as the circular headlights (with the exception of the 996 generation from the early 2000s), and a rear-engine configuration.
Even though much of its recipe remains the same, the 911 still manages to capture the hearts and minds of millions across generations with its recognisable looks and stellar performance. A proper timeless classic, this is.
The Mini is another example of good design that lasts. Penned by Sir Alec Issigonis and first sold in 1959, the Mini Cooper has amassed a loyal following all over the world with its excellent use of compact space and excellent driving performance, qualities which live on today.
Though it was initially created as an economy car, the modern Mini has become more of a lifestyle product or fashion symbol. Its characterful design is often paired with loud colour combinations, which have been popularised in films and TV shows like The Italian Job and Mr Bean. And thanks to BMW’s ownership, the Mini is now seeing a Renaissance with no signs of slowing down.
A majestic yacht on four wheels would be the best way to describe the Phantom. Very few are able to match the sheer opulence that is displayed by Rolls-Royce, and even fewer have stayed in the game for as long as this British company. Their flagship Phantom model was revived in 2004 after BMW’s takeover, and has gone through several evolutions since then.
However, Rolls-Royce was firm on retaining their signature design, and a good move that was. Critical styling cues were lifted from past iterations from the early 20th century, such as the flowing lines at the rear and the iconic metal front grille, the latter of which is said to be inspired by Rome’s Pantheon temple. So unique, in fact, that it’s still present today across the entire RR lineup.
America’s most popular pony car since 1964. The Ford Mustang possesses several unique design cues, such as an aerodynamic fastback silhouette, a sharknose-esque front fascia, prominent driver-centric gauges and a double-brow dashboard design. This allows the sports coupe to look aggressive, regardless of whether it’s packing a 5.0 litre V8 or a more sedated 2.3 litre four-banger.
The Mustang has gone through numerous changes over the decades, and even deviated wildly between the 70s to 90s. Thankfully, Ford returned to its roots in the early 2000s and penned future Mustangs based on the original fastback. A commercial and critical commercial success, the automaker has not looked back ever since. Not the same could be said about the Mustang Mach E crossover, though...
When one thinks of Italian cars, images of angry red Ferraris or bright yellow Lamborghinis are usually evoked. And strangely, the Fiat 500. It’s not entirely shocking, though. Just like the Mini, the 500 started out as a humble economy car. Even the iconic canvas top was incorporated in a bid to save cost.
It has since grown to become a full-fledged fashion icon, with its evergreen and versatile rounded design. Even pop culture staples like Gucci and Barbie have collaborated with Fiat to create special edition 500s. With its attractive yet inoffensive looks winning over fans from all facets of society, it's not hard to see why Fiat refuses to axe this model, even bringing it into the electric age.
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