VOLUME 1, NO. 3.
The future, the past and all in between car design
A COLORFUL EXCEPTION IN HISTORY
resist the road ROADS THAT WILL LEAVE
“Karma is an emotional design, but it doesn’t wear its eco-attributes on its sleeve”
Flying Cars ? 36 Yes, Flying Cars
A plane with foldable wings that converts into a car — or is it the other way around?
Tesla Automatic steering and Google
Cars with soul 50
Charming, exciting, quietly brilliant: the cars you don’t expect to love.
esla considers adding T an autopilot feature to be to their future vehicles.
BEST CARS FROM
james bond DRIVES
18 claim dimension
26 roads you will have to drive
52 matter of time 2 || CONTOUR
Martha Barry deputy art director
www.contour.com firstname.lastname@example.org Contour, Subscription Services, PO Box 2128, New York, NY, 51593
Feed your eyes on the future, the past and all in between car design
"Even as a designer it’s not just about design — how do people use it?" "Combining a hardtop with a convertible, Heinz Prechter helped popularize the modern sunroof in North America."
|||heritage features NEW AND OLD
PHOTOGRAPHS BY BRUCE PETERSON (9); JARROD MCCABE (42); ISTOCKPHOTO(26,19,28); SCOTT M. LACEY (31,41)
28 compare generations
31 return the flavor
23 evolution of convertables & popular colors
36 preserve the look CONTOUR || 3
From the Editor
IT'S UP TO
The human connection with cars is complicated, a cocktail of emotions tied to things like steering feel, sound, and design. For us, "design" is a holistic parameter, a car that emotionally connects with us. Car are not merely exist to provide transportation means, more importantly it exists to excite our eyes and mind. Vehicle design for almost over century touched and appeals to very human primarily for it functionality but more specifically for its physical appeal developed for inspiration by inspiration. And while performance is important design is essential in interpreting and capturing the sole of the car. Innovation is also built on hard work and determination, so it's inspiring to recall the example of 25-year-old Croatian engineer Mate Rimac. At one point in the process of designing the world's fastest electric car, he sold all his belongings, just to make rent. Today, he employs 22 people. Chris LaBrooy on the other hand, is a Scotland based artist who understands the principles of automobiles by manipulating car forms into effortless combinations. He innovatively represents the art behind car design. Although the word "innovation" brings to mind futuristic gadgets and sneaker-clad coders, as we assembled our issueâ€”celebrating talents who have revolutionized their respective fieldsâ€” we discovered that even the most groundbreaking ideas can spring from the familiar. Car design provides plenty of exciting, innovative and creative niches for Contour magazine to explore. Including insight into form, concept, design, integrity and visual passion involved in automobile creation; in order to discover the history of cars and report on the exciting future. ||
Justin Tines email@example.com
Chris LaBrooy poetic sculptures resembling a metalheavy ballet or could they be doing the robot?
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Future written by Eric Gallina photography by Anthony James
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Fisker automotive’s design philosophy, sustainability and the start–up company’s long term ambitions Henrik Fisker has quite a varied background. Having worked for BMW immediately following his studies at Art Center College of Design in Switzerland, the acclaimed designer became President and CEO of BMW Group’s Designworks USA and later joined Ford; assuming the role of Creative Director at the automaker’s
London–based design center, Ingeni, and heading the Global Advanced Design Studio in Irvine. Fisker’s design credits include the BMW Z8, the 2005 Shelby GR1 concept and the Aston Martin V8 Vantage and DB9, to name a few. While many people would have been content with the
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Every Karma is built from reclaimed, recycled and reusable materials: Wood trim is sourced from reclaimed lumber, seating foam is fashioned from soy-based bio fiber and the carpet backing is created from recycled post–consumer materials.
professional achievement Fisker’s enjoyed at the helm of the design studios at three major OEMs, the ambitious Dane had his sights set on bigger goals. In 2007, he co – founded Fisker Automotive with longtime colleague Berhard Koehler ( w ith whom he had worked over the course of his career at BMW, Ford and Aston Martin ), and set out to provide a more holistic offering of sustainability
in the automotive sphere. We caught up with Henrik Fisker as he prepared to reveal the Karma to the automotive press in California to find out more about Fisker Automotive’s design philosophy, his views on sustainability and the start – up company’s long – term ambitions. The Karma is an emotional design that’s been likened to sports cars, but it doesn’t wear its eco attributes on its sleeve. What is your design philosophy? “At the end of the day, people like bea utiful cars. And for Fisker Automotive it’s about designing desirable cars for the future that are also environmentally friendly. For us, that doesn’t mean designing vehicles that are awkward just to be different. The Karma is definitely different than other cars but in a beautiful, attractive way. And that was our aim: to get people to see the automobile as a beautiful, attractive product. I think that we’ve achieved that.” What are your thoughts on green car design? “I don’t know if there really is a ‘green’ car design. I think that’s a strange word. It’s
“At the end of the day, all people like beautiful cars”
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like saying: ‘should diesel powered cars look different than gasoline powered cars?’ Probably not. If you’re an established brand you have to make decisions within your brand, but the fact that we’re a new brand means we have to make different cars. If you ask me as a car designer, I don’t think [ green cars ] need to be differentiated to the point where they alienate people, to the point where [consumers] don’t feel comfortable with it. I think the whole point for any company should be to make desirable cars that sell. “We have a unique opportunity as a new car company to define ourselves as a brand. We incorporate some environmentally friendly features into our design without trying to hide it, such as the solar roof – it’s accentuated by a special graphic designed to make it look good. The reclaimed wood used in the interior doesn’t have gloss or lacquer on it to make it feel more real. But I don’t think it’s beneficial for the sales of the cars to make them look specifically eco– friendly. You want to appeal to a large amount of people. “What you really need to do is pursue a design that is more beautiful than a conventional car but still forms a bridge from the conventional car. If you don’t have that bridge I think you may alienate too many consumers. I think that’s probably happened with some environmentally friendly designs.”
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“ What we want to do is appeal”
Featuring the largest solar glass roof ever designed or a production vehicle, the Fisker Karma harnesses energy from the sun to extend the driving range for up to an additional 200 miles / 322 km annually.
What is your stance on the use of sustainable materials in the Fiska designs? “That’s really about being sensible and smart. I think the car industry in the future needs to be sensible and smart and still create the great excitement that we love about our cars. I don’t think its just about showing off some sort of exciting environmentally sensitive trend, 12 || CONTOUR
Can you tell me a bit more about the reclaimed it’s really about making wood and the EcoSuede materials available in sure that we make all the Karma EcoChic models? our cars in the future in the most sustainable “This was about using materials that are way possible. A car will either recycled or "animal free". One of the reasons car companies go to Brazil always take resources to cut down wood is because you can’t to make, but if we can take some of the cut down some of the types of trees low hanging fruit and be smart about it, [found in vehicles today] because they not waste things that are not necessary might be protected. If you take wood that and still make exciting cars, that’s the has already fallen — i n this case from the whole idea behind Fisker. What we want bottom of lake Michigan or from the to do is appeal to the consumer that has California fires — t hen you get the type adopted a lifestyle where they still want of wood you want without cutting down to have fun and have beautiful things but any trees.” in a responsible way.”
“ We incorporate some environmentally friendly features into our design without trying to hide it”
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| Concept You’re employing everything from wood trim sourced from reclaimed lumber, seating foam fashioned from soy – based bio fiber and carpet backing created from recycled post–consumer materials. It’s really an admirable mission for a vehicle manufacturer. “You have to find a balance in everything. It’s not going to happen from one day to the other. You have to start with a few things. For instance, our command center
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eliminates the construction of plastic buttons. There are a lot of things that we can look at and move forward with. We have set ourselves a goal to be the most environmentally friendly automotive company in the world when it comes to how we design and manufacture our vehicles and what we stand for as a brand even when choosing our dealers. Our dealers use solar signs and are told to use
local materials to build the dealerships. I think there’s been a rush in these last years to almost over – emphasize the design aspects in an awkward way, where things are painted green and talked about as if they’re environmentally friendly, but we have to be honest. Even as a designer it’s not just about design — how do people use it? How do you build it? How do you create it? And at the end of
“We have to be honest. Even as a designer it’s not just about design”
A low, wide stance and raised front fenders offer the driver a unique view of the car's design. A new aerodynamic diffuser under the rear bumper helps cool the electric drivetrain.
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“We have a lot of interesting designs , we’ve already shown a few of them and that’s enough for now” the day you’ve also got to sell it. So all of these things have to come together. Our goal is to convince the consumer that an environmentally friendly vehicle that uses environmentally friendly materials and powertrains can be more exciting than conventional cars today. Not just as exciting, more exciting.” You’ve said that your biggest challenge was building the infrastructure. Now that you have that infrastructure, what are your plans? “We are concentrating on making Fisker Automotive a strong individual company. We have already designed several of our next models and we’re working on a business plan to finalize exactly when these cars are going to be introduced. But it’s clear that as a car company we have to have an expanded product line and that’s something that is part of our overall strategy. As you know, we’ve shown the Surf — we haven’t shown the Nina yet, but that’s part of our plan and future product portfolio. What about the Sunset model? Has that car been discontinued? “No, we have plans to offer a convertible as well.” In some circles there’s been growing skepticism about Fisker's long– term prospects. What are your goals for the company? “We haven’t changed our vision or strategy to have five to six vehicles coming out within the next five years. That vision and strategy is still full on. You’re always
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Horsepower 260 hp Torque 260 lb-ft Engine 2.0L Ecotec in-line 4 DOHC Transmission 1– speed direct drive
0‐60 5.9 sec Top Speed 125 mph Weight 5300lbs Drive type rear — wheel Turning radius 20.6'' EcoStandard 4dr Sedan
The team's inspiration was also led by the understanding of the principles of order, and the harmony of opposing structures, textures and elements.
going to have skepticism from people, and sometimes people try to force your hand to show what you have. We’re not going to do that. We have a lot of interesting designs and models that we don’t want to show — we’ve already shown a few of them and that’s enough for now. We’re concentrating on the Karma, which is selling extremely well. We’re delivering cars every single day to customers both in the US and Europe and we’re still planning to have six models in the portfolio in the next five years and selling over 100,000 cars.”
The Karma was developed in such a short amount of time – from nothing to production in four years’ time. But six vehicles in five years is a massive undertaking for a small company. How do you plan to achieve that? “We’re going to build the cars on two platforms. When you look at the Surf, that’s a good example of a vehicle that’s built on the same platform and using 80-90 percent of the parts of the Karma. So when I say six new vehicles I’m not talking six new vehicles from the ground up, but vehicles that are based on the first vehicle on each platform. The reason we can do that is because we are concentrating largely on a shared powertrain between the two platforms with some variation. Most other car companies will have multiple powertrains and gearbox combinations, which is very expensive, takes a lot of engineering and takes a lot of testing. We just have to test one. So when you talk about another vehicle like the Surf or the Sunset you’re talking about a different type of vehicle— a different style, set up to drive slightly differently—but essentially everything underneath is the same as the Karma.”
So the Nina is going to be all– new, from the ground up. Is it going to be a BMW 3–Series competitor? “The Nina is a completely new vehicle from the ground up but we haven’t said it’s going to be a 3 – Series competitor. It’s going to be closer in size to an Audi A5.” Tesla’s recently revealed the Model X SUV, are there any plans for a competitor in Fisker Automotive’s range? We don’t want to announce that. But before we knew anything about [ the Model X ] we had already done our plan. We don’t react to anything that Tesla is doing. We don’t want to inform our competitors of what our plans are for the next three or four years, but we are planning to do vehicles that will define their own segments. We’re not going to follow anybody else into their segments. You can see it with the Karma and with the Surf. We’re going to be unique with every future vehicle we come out with.” ||
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written by John Stone photography by Tim Wallace
When BMW unveiled the Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupe it represented a change in direction for both the famed Italian design house and the German automaker. BMW and Pininfarina are two of the most tradition-swathed names in the motoring world. Each is a byword for cutting-edge technology, style, dynamics and aesthetics. The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé is a one-off and represents the exclusive interpretation of a luxurious
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BMW Coupé as seen through the eyes of Pininfarina. And while BMW has done show cars with Italian carrozzerias in the past, most notably with ItalDesign and Bertone, it hadn’t reached outside its own design department in some time for projects that could eventually lead to production models. Working in close
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| Concept consultation, the two design teams have created a new automotive persona brimming with character and ready to join the high-end luxury class – typically BMW while sporting the distinctive signature of Pininfarina. With the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé, the BMW Design team took up exclusive design aspects such as luxury and elegance and fed them into a creative exchange with long-established specialist car designer and manufacturer Pininfarina. In this elaborately created one-off, the renowned companies BMW Group and Pininfarina joined forces to bring an idea to fruition: “The appeal of this collaboration with Pininfarina is that you get another, very different and special angle on facets like luxury and exclusivity,” notes Karim Habib, Head of BMW Design. “The Italian company, after all, has always been a byword for these criteria in particular, demonstrating time and again its keen sensitivity and exceptional finesse in these areas. In Pininfarina we have found the ideal partner to lend shape to this vehicle concept.”
“Design team took luxury and elegance and fed them into a creative exchange”
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“The result of this cooperative venture is far greater than the sum of its parts,” says Fabio Filippini, Head of Design at Pininfarina. “When two such traditionrich and experienced brands join forces to turn a vision into reality, something utterly new and exciting emerges. From start to finish, this project was defined by a mutual respect for the identity of the other company.” CONSUMMATE ELEGANCE The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé adds a new dimension to the BMW claim to exclusivity. This painstakingly created one-off captivates the viewer at first glance. Liberal surface areas and taut contours are the distinguishing elements of an elegant car body. Typical BMW proportions – a long wheelbase, stretched bonnet and set-back greenhouse – imbue the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé with imposing dynamics even when stationary. At the same time the car exudes balance and harmony: BMW values such as technology, dynamics and precision are complemented by the skilled craftsmanship of Pininfarina to create a very special holistic experience. “The BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé has an extraordinary impact. It expresses hallmark BMW values such as luxury and sheer presence in a highly elegant form,” says Adrian van Hooydonk, Senior Vice President BMW Group Design. “I admire
The bipartite kidney grille is made of matt-sheen aluminium, while behind it an identically shaped part in high-gloss black adds visual depth and makes for an exciting contrast of materials.
the reductive clarity and precision in Pininfarina’s design. Their expectations for the end result have been just as high as ours, and their understanding of design perfectly complements the BMW design DNA for a vehicle of this kind.” DYNAMIC PRESENCE With its broad, wheel-focused stance, the front of the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé radiates sheer presence and dynamics. The hallmark doublekidney grille and the road-focused headlights with their suggested twin circular look reveal at a glance the family bond with BMW. At the same time the distinctive Pininfarina elements have been interpreted with Italian finesse to lend the front end a special flair. The trademark BMW kidney grille forms the central element of the frontend design, and all surfaces and lines take their bearings from it. It symbolically points to the engine at the heart
of the vehicle, its size reflecting the power of the V12 unit nestling behind it. The “kidneys” are angled towards the road, citing the typical BMW “shark nose” and lending the front end an even more dynamic look, particularly when seen from the side. Viewed up close it discloses highly accomplished detail work: the front part of the bipartite kidney grille is made of matt-sheen aluminium, while behind it an identically shaped part in high-gloss black adds visual depth and makes for an exciting contrast of materials. Above the kidney grille the bonnet stretches across the front of the car, its subtle contours appearing to emanate from the BMW emblem and lending the bonnet a dynamic elegance. The flat headlights underline the road-focused look associated with a BMW and round off the “face” of the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé. Their dynamic contours are in perfect harmony with the CONTOUR || 21
“Convex taperings on the side add a dynamic elegance and give the body a tautly athletic shape”
classic BMW twin circular look in an interpretation that leaves them open at the top. The use of LED technology creates a technically premium impression while adding a striking depth to the headlights. ELEGANT SCULPTURE The designers at BMW and Pininfarina set particular store by creating the right proportions. The car’s surfaces display the elaborate form language of BMW while being sculpted with a clarity that is hallmark Pininfarina. Within a powerfully present silhouette, convex taperings on the side add a dynamic elegance and give the body a tautly athletic shape. At the same time the reduced, precise contours stretch the vehicle and underline its exclusivity with
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a contemporary touch. The high shoulder line extends almost horizontally along the entire side of the car, imbuing the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé with stature and presence. Above it the long roof line flows elegantly into the rear to define the short tail end. Below the shoulder line, a striking countersweep to the roof line emanates from the Air Breather behind the front wheel. Ascending towards the rear, it lends the back section of the car a light and dynamic appearance. All the lines have been designed with keen sensitivity: as they trace their course they become stronger or weaker and, through the changing play of light and shadow, show off the surrounding surfaces to their best effect. Numerous details accentuate
the elegance of the side view. The matt-sheen embellishment behind the front wheel adds a stylish accent as it integrates the side indicator. Another signature BMW detail is the Hofmeister kink – the eye-catching forward bend in the window graphic that is perfectly integrated into the surrounding play of lines. Behind it the V12 logo indicates the powerful engine within the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé. Pininfarina lettering in the side panel points to the definitive role played by the Italian design company in creating this vehicle, with the Pininfarina logo above it indicating that the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé was also built by Pininfarina. The exclusively designed 21-inch wheels perfectly augment the sporty,
elegant statement made by the BMW Pininfarina Gran Lusso Coupé. Five trios of graceful yet powerfully sculpted spokes display a strong visual depth through the application of matt-sheen aluminium, black and black chrome. As such the wheel design blends an elegant multi-spoke style with the sportiness of five-spoke rims. SOPHISTICATED STANCE The elongated side profile leads to a slender and elegant tail end. Striking horizontal elements imbue the entire rear end with a very broad, flat impression. At the same time, the generous surface design of the rear lends it a powerful presence. Between the surfaces, precise contours and horizontal lines break up the rear aspect, resulting in a clever interplay of light and shadow that partitions the entire design and brings it alive. An eye-catching detail is the transition from the roof to the rear lid: two elaborately shaped struts extend the roof pillar towards the rear, ensuring an elegantly fluid transition of the roof line into the tail section. Extending from the sides, the tail lights embrace the rear end in a single sweeping gesture that brings the side and rear together visually. The tail lights reveal elaborately detailed workmanship and lend the BMW L-shape a slender, almost filigree interpretation. They are set – jewel-like – within highgrade trim in matt-sheen aluminium. A particular highlight is their open design, allowing air to flow through them. ||
From the driver’s seat, all driving-related functions and controls are slightly angled towards the driver to be within optimal ergonomic reach.
“The tail lights embrace the rear end in a single sweeping gesture that brings the side and rear together”
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BEST CARS FROM
Written by David Brown
Aston Martin DB5
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ISTOCKPHOTO(DB5); AP IMAGES(DBS)
FIRST seen in the 1964 film Goldfinger, the venerable DB5 is arguably the car that’s inexorably associated with James Bond. A luxury grand touring car produced between 1963 and 1965 that came powered by a 282–horsepower 4.0– liter engine, the DB5 packed such then — upscale amenities as reclining seats, wool pile carpets, electric
windows, chrome wire wheels, full leather upholstery and even a fire extinguisher. The DB part of the car’s name stands for David Brown, who owned Aston Martin throughout much of its post – W WII glory days. Bond’s version featured such essential secret– agent accessories as a front-firing machine gun, passenger–ejection seat, smoke screen, oil slick
dispensers, a bulletproof barrier, revolving multinational license plates and front and rear retractable ramming arms. It also came with extendable wheel hubs that could disable an adjacent vehicle by slashing its tires. The durable DB5 also saw
duty in Thunderball (1965), GoldenEye (1995), Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) and Casino Royale (2006); it was even
used as the basis for the spy character Finn McMissile in the 2011 animated film Cars 2.
Aston Martin DBS top Danial Mahli, www.MahliPhotography.com. above Michael Gauld, www.MotorVis.com
ANOTHER old-school British–club–like car, the original DBS was featured in 1969’s On Her Majesty’s Secret Service — the only
film in which George Lazenby portrays 007.
Daniel Craig’s ride of choice as Bond in the 2006 version of Casino Royale and the subsequent 2008 installment, Quantum of Solace. Unlike the gadget–laden DB5 above, the Aston
Martin DBS featured in either film stands on its own merits without being retrofitted with assorted armaments. Both elegant and aggressive, the current DBS is Aston Martin’s
Essential secret-agent accessories, a front-firing machine gun, passenger-ejection seat, smoke screen, oil slick dispensers.
flagship model and offers a stunningly modern take on its predecessor’s old–money British sports car styling. Available as a closedroof coupe or Volante convertible, the DBS packs a hand–assembled mid–mounted 6.0–liter V12 engine that brings a full 510 horsepower to the pavement. In Casino Royale, the car performed a recordbreaking seven–roll stunt maneuver after which it was cannoned into the air. Three models were reportedly destroyed during the filming.
A LITTLE ABOUT 007 ▪ Ian Fleming Asked why he chose the name James Bond, Fleming replied: “I wanted the simplest, dullest, plainestsounding name I could think of. James Bond seemed perfect.” He had seen the name as the author of a book entitled Birds Of The West Indies on his bookshelf. ▪ The first American paperback edition of Moonraker was retitled Too Hot to Handle and the first US paperback edition of Casino Royale was retitled You Asked for It. ▪ Ian Fleming also wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang but it's hard to see that being remade as a 007 thriller. ▪ Fleming also wrote The Diamond Smugglers, a non-fiction account of smuggling in Sierra Leone.
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BEST CARS FROM
“Equipped with unique features like radar-guided stinger missiles and remote control pads on the keyfob„
Lotus Esprit AS seen in 1977’s The Spy Who Loved Me , the lowslung Lotus Esprit served double duty as an on–road sports coupe and a compact submarine. Roger Moore’s 007 takes the Esprit deep below the surface to engage in a reconnaissance of the villain’s underwater facilities. As if that’s not enough, the Esprit was also handily equipped
with anti–aircraft missiles, which Bond subsequently uses to blow a helicopter out of the sky. For its submerged skills the cinematic version of the vehicle earned the nickname “ Wet Nellie”. Meanwhile, the road— going version of the wedge – shaped Esprit was manufactured from 1976-2004, with the first generation, dubbed S1, being the
model featured in the film. It came powered by a rear–mounted 2.0-liter engine that generated a modest 140 horsepower in its U.S. configuration. While it
wasn’t a particularly fast car, the lithe and lightweight Esprit madeup for a lack of power with its tenacious handling abilities.
top Danial Mahli, www.MahliPhotography.com. below Michael Gauld, www.MotorVis.com
BMW Z8 NOTED automotive stylist Henrik Fisker designed this sleek high–performance roadster that had a brief production run from 1999 to 2003. This is the same Henrik
Fisker who would later form his own automotive company and create the Karma plug–in luxury hybrid. In the real world, the Z8’s chassis and body were fabricated from lightweight
aluminum and it came powered by a blazing 400–horsepower V8 engine. Unique features included novel neon exterior lighting touches. In The World is Not Enough (1999),
Bond’s replacement should he die or be taken off a mission for insubordination. ▪ Richard Wasey Chopping illustrated many of the original covers of the James
Bond boos, including the iconic Man With The Golden Gun. ▪ Kingsley Amis wrote a Bond treatment in 1968 called Colonel Sun.
Pierce Brosnan’s Bond gets his Z8 equipped with unique features like radar-guided stinger missiles and remote control pads on the keyfob. In the film it winds up being sliced in half in Azerbaijan by a helicopter that was fitted with treecutting saws. Apparently Q couldn’t think of everything. ||
a little about 007 continued ▪ The inspiration for Dr No was Sax Rohmer's villain Dr Fu Manchu. ▪ In different movies, 002, 003, 004, and 009 have been killed. Agent 006, believed
killed, returns as the villain in GoldenEye before he’s disposed of. Besides Bond, only the unnamed 008 proves to be a skilled agent. He’s mentioned several times as
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evolution of wind in your hair
CONVERTIBLES PHOTOGRAPH BY ISTOCKPHOTO
by Anthony Johnson Summer is officially here, and with it comes dreams of open-air motoring. Whether it's enjoying a lazy drive on a winding two– lane or cruising to a local drive-in, summer and convertibles go together like lemonade and ice tea. Today, the market expects the hottest cars to come in a roadster variant, whether you're looking at a fire–breathing Lamborghini
Gallardo ora polite Volkswagen Eos. But it wasn't always like this. How did the droptop become the body style of summer? To uncover the answers, we track the evolution of wind-in-your-hair driving back more than a century.
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Evolution Of Convertibles
HORSE-DRAWN ERA In 1886, vitually all automobiles through the end of World War I were based on the horseâ€“drawn carriage. Carl Breer sought to apply aircraft design to the automobile and developed the 1934-1937 Chrysler Airflow that employed aircraft technology.
1896 OPEN CARS
Ford Quadricycle The earliest vehicles didn't have roofs, windshields, doors, or side glass. But as electric motors and internal combustion engines became more powerful, cars sprouted surreylike fabric roofs and primitive folding tops.
1905 FULLY ENCLOSED
ART-DECO ERA Art Deco and later the Streamline Moderne era transformed the automobile from a box on four wheels to streamlined cars that employed functional design and resisted unnecessary ornamentation.
POST WAR ERA The Airflow failed to catch on with the public, but it set the stage for Streamline Moderne styling to thrive from 1936 to 1941 with a no-nonsense form-follows-function philosophy.
PHOTOGRAPHS BY AP IMAGES(1896, 1934, 1939); ISTOCKPHOTO(1905)
1934 TOP AWAY
Peugeot 601 Eclipse The self-storing roof structure disappeared behind the driver's compartment into a space revealed by the reverse-opening rear deck.This Georges Paulin design set the general design standard for retractable hardtops.
Osceola Coupe As drivers were spending more time on the roads they needed protection. The closed body was so popular that Cadillac made it standard in 1910.
1939 POWER OPERATED
Plymouth Convertible The innovation made raising and lowering the top (done manually before) a much faster and less labor-intensive operation. Also, the Plymouth was a relatively inexpensive car, so it helped to expand the market for droptops. CONTOUR || 31
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Evolution Of Convertibles
EARL AND EXNER GM's Harley Earl and Virgil Exner were the most influential designers of the era. They engaged in a decade-long battle to best each other with more elaborate tailfins. Earl saw the tailfin as a marketing ploy to attract buyers. Exner believed fins improved the road handling of the car. Exner was not far off. The fin eventually evolved into the rear spoiler to control the rear end at high speeds.
1950 FABRIC TOP
Nash Rambler Convertible Cars through the 40's tended to have problems with window sealing. To ease those issues some carmakers turned to full-frame doors and a folding fabric top. Rambler retained its doorframes and B– pillars, acted as a track for the convertible tops.
1961 NO BULGE
PHOTOGRAPHS BY ISTOCKPHOTO
1968 ROOF HOLE
Mercury Cougar Combining a hardtop with a convertible, Heinz Prechter helped popularize the modern sunroof in North America. In a few years the entrepreneur inked a deal with Ford Motor Company for the 1968 Cougar, the first American car with a sunroof.
Lincoln Continental Continental convertible used a complex mechanism that stowed the fabric top in a compartment concealed beneath the vertically opening rear decklid. The design eliminated the typical bulge created by a folded top, preserving the crisp lines Engle penned.
2013 GLASS ROOF
Lincoln MKZ The glass panel runs from the windshield header rear to the top of the backlight and from side rail to side rail. The flowing appearance adds excitement to a typical sedan's roofline. The translucent panels let light in to brighten interiors.
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World's Most Popular Car Colors
ccording to clinical psychologist Holly James, “ We are drawn to a certain color because we want that attribute in our life.” While certain color attractions may lie in our subconscious, consumer research proves the point that buyers are definitely drawn to products whose colors in some way reflect their interests and values. This holds true for the car industry as well. At least 77 percent of all car shoppers say that color is an important factor in whether or not they will purchase a car. Another 31 percent claim that they are willing to pay more for a vehicle in a color they prefer. Car dealers need to take note because a startling 39 percent admit that they will walk off a lot that does not have the vehicle they want in the right color.
Red Grey Silver White
Color Trend Worldwide NORTH AMERICA
White concepts show matte finishes and tri–coat applications. Silver / Gray evokes the sparkle and glitter of Hollywood. Red have hues ranging from yellow to blue and from sport to luxury. Blue stands for nature and is considered to be a soothing element. Green evokes sustainability but in the automotive color world, green plays only a minor role.
Silver, White, and Blues and Greens a Color Palette Inspired by Ecology. Silver is seeing huge changes. The sheen of the up-and-coming eco – efficient technologies is nothing like the technical silver of yesterday.
White, specifically pearl white, is extremely popular in the Asia / Pacific region. In the Asian culture, white stands for purity and innocence. In addition to this traditional image, white evokes luxury and has become popular as a classic color.
North America Color Popularity
Cars painted in hues stand out and get talked about more because they are so rare.
Green is seeing a resurgence in lighter and more vivid tones like the Apple Green.
Metallic finishes have spruced up gray and made it something far different from the flat boring hue it used to be.
Use of beige and brown in home decor has helped popularize the colors on cars. These earthy tones are associated with luxury.
Silver took hold in consumer electronics during the early–to mid–2000s and consequently rose in popularity within the auto industry. It connotes luxury and quality, thanks in part to Apple’s influence with its whitecolored computers, iPhones and iPods.
23 % WHITE
Blue is one of the few popular chromatic colors. It’s popularity is on the rise in Europe and the color has been in vogue for a few years, in the United States.
16 % SILVER
“Red is historically important color for North America. They’re part of our American heritage.” Nancy Lockhart, DuPont.
10 % RED
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The Mercedesâ€“â€ŠBenz 300 SLR is a colorful exception in the racing history of the brand. It is based partly on the technology of the successful Grand Prix car,
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but also has the body of a road racer. It secured major victories for the brand in 1955 and did its part to establish its fame.
Return the Flavor
Return the flavor Phillip Driscoll
he Mercedes Benz 300 SLR was planned for the 1954 season, and the company already had entered it in the Le Mans 24 – hour race, but then withdrew it at short notice — the car wasn’t ready yet. As late as September 1954 a prototype hit the track in Monza for a couple of test laps, with a dry weight of 860 ki-
lograms including two spare wheels in its luggage compartment. Even Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the silver racing roadster was a premium product — as robust as a tank but as agile as a jungle cat, as eloquent Mercedes Benz 300 SLR driver John Fitch put it in his autobiography, Racing with Mercedes. Its internal designation 96S
Rome wasn’t built in a day, and the silver racing roadster was as agile as a jungle cat
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||| Heritage When the decision was made mid-way through 1951 to build a new Mercedes road-going sports car, Rudolf Uhlenhaut was there to give the project —known by the abbreviation SL (Sport
Light) — the necessary impetus. His was the engineering mind behind the space frame, made by welding together filigreed steel profiles, which supported the engine, transmission
and axles. He drew on the knowledge gained in the design of a tried-andtested invention which has itself acted as a kind of supporting framework through the history of motor racing.
In Le Mans, the silver two-seaters caused quite a stir with unconventional braking aids
already indicated its close family relationship with the contemporary Grand Prix Silver Arrows, upon which it was indeed modelled in most respects. Its 2982 cc engine, with two millimeters more bore and a stroke increased by 9.2 millimeters, was the most powerful version of the W196 R’s eight–cylinder inline unit and delivered296 hp (218 kW) at 7400 rpm. The recommended engine speed, output and tank size changed according to the characteristics of the forthcoming race, from a sprint event such as the Eifel race on the Nürburgring over 228.1 kilometers to a marathon like Le Mans. As of yore
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forty years earlier, the basic concept of a one piece unit combining the head and the cylinders was left untouched, the two cylinder blocks with four combustion units each being made of silumin, a lightweight high– strength aluminium alloy, instead of steel, unlike the W196 R’s engine. At a readyfor-installation weight of 235 kilograms, this engine sported surprising stamina. One specimen was tortured on the dynamometer at racing revs for 9800 kilometers plus another 32 hours. Only its oil rings were exchanged after 5945 kilometers. Canted to the right at an angle of 57 degrees, it was installed into the SLR chassis four degrees closer to the horizontal than in the W196 R’s, though
ground clearance was a great deal higher than the single–seater’s, in view of the gruelling circuits on public roads that were part of the championship cycle. It was fuelled by a mixture of 75 percent commercial petrol, 15 percent methanol and ten percent benzene. Almost untouched, though fine – honed for the special requirements of, for instance, the two Italian races, was the W 196 R’s wheel suspension with double wishbones at the front and a swing axle at the rear. The lavishly ramified space frame of the sports car, 60 kilograms light, had, by contrast, been derived from the 300 SL of 1952, a latticework of tubes 25 millimeters in diameter and one millimeter in wall thickness, above
Return the Flavor
It is truly remarkable that Mercedesâ€“Benz was able to compete for the World Sports Car Championship
all along the sides below the doors, and with stronger braces in the area of the suspension. After all, there had to be space for two, and Ludwig Kraus, the engineer responsible
less than a decade after World War II ended, considering the destruction of their factories.
for the chassis, and his team had to allow for the parameters laid down in FIA Appendix J, specifying two doors and the passenger compartment dimensions. In spite of this,
the driver sat with his legs straddled over the clutch tunnel, as in a Grand Prix racer. The detachable steering wheel was located on the left side, unlike its Jaguar or Ferrari CONTOUR || 39
opponents’, although the latter were better equipped that way for European circuits which were driven in clockwise direction. Only in the Mille Miglia, two of four drivers were actually accompanied by navigators: red – bearded English motoring journalist Denis Jenkinson supported Stirling Moss. Hans Hermann was accompanied by Fangio’s mechanic Hermann Eger. Fangio himself and Karl Kling preferred to embark on the race alone. A strange job fell to the lot of the second man
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on board: he had to sound the horn if necessary since the wizard at the wheel had his hands full keeping the car under control. In Le Mans, the silver two– seaters caused quite a stir with unconventional braking aids. Via four push – buttons, a dash of oil could be squirted on the respective brake drum when one of the brakes locked, something that happened quite often to vehicles of all brands. And actuated manually by the driver, an air brake was erected from the
Return the Flavor
SLR’s rear into the air stream when required. The effect was remarkable: the car had been restrained as if by some invisible rubber strap, John Fitch remembered, and Moss pointed out that the air brake — while still on its way down into rest position definitely increased traction when accelerating out of the corners. The device was used once again in the Swedish Grand Prix (for sports cars) at Kristianstad in early August, which did not count towards the world championship. For the journey
to that race, guest driver Count Wolfgang Berghe von Trips arrived in one of two enclosed SLR versions which Uhlenhaut had developed for future long-distance races. They were never used in competition. Hellishly loud, they mainly served for the personal transport of the racing department’s boss, and so got the nickname Uhlenhaut coupé. It was no wonder that, at that time already, Uhlenhaut’s hearing had been severely impaired. ||
Mercedes-Benz 300 SLR (W 196 S) ENTERED RACING 1955 ENGINE eight-cylinder in-line
four-stroke petrol engine with direct injection DISPLACEMENT 2982 cc OUTPUT 310 hp (228 kW) TOP SPEED over 300 km/h
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California Spyder project was one of the rare Scaglietti bodied road going Ferraris
alifornia Spyder was motivated by U.S. distributors Jon von Neumann and Luigi Chinetti who convinced Ferrari to create a performance convertible named after their best market. The California Spyder emerged with supercar performance and became highly desirable due to its limited availability. Sharing its drive train with the legendary 250 GT that won the Tour de France, the California Spyder was a car to get excited about. It had the same 140 mph performance and the same competition chassis as the Ferraris lapping the race tracks. Therefore, it only made sense to equip some examples with competition engines and aluminum bodywork to race at Le Mans and Sebring.
Choice of Body Style and Drive Train Our customer cars will carry a hand-crafted all-alloy body constructed in our Italian workshops and mechanicals 42 || CONTOUR
to the exact factory specifications as the original cars. Our clients can select from the individual unique body styles and mechanical drive trains of this series.
Design Developments California Spyder bodies were hand-crafted by Carozerria Scaglietti who built most of Ferrari's competition bodies at the time. Their design was largely based of Pinin Farina's 250 GT Cabriolet Series I but used
a new upright rear headlight. Some cars featured more functional uncovered, rather than fared-in, headlights. The overall design, especially with covered headlights, was often described as more rakish than the much more subdued and luxurious 250 GT Cabriolet. Inside, each Spyder car had a no-frills interior and a small heater was the only luxury. Behind the seats, a fabric top was installed which was tidy, and well proportioned when
Preserve the Look
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||| Heritage In 1959, Ferrari debuted the shorter California Spyder on their stiffer short wheel base (SWB) chassis. These cars were superior as they had disc brakes, a more powerful
engine, and a less bulk. Each California Spyder car was special, and some examples came with competition-spec engines or the very rare factory hard top. While
upright, but was made with no inner liner. Distinguished by chassis length, it is important to mention that the Spyder was made in two distinct series. The first series was built on the 250 GT Tour de France frame including a wet-sump version of its V12 engine.
A Drop-top Version of the Tour de France After its introduction in the 250 GT Europa of 1955, the Gioacchino Colombo designed three litre V12 engine went on to power a host of road and racing cars for almost a decade. It was particularly successful under
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the California Spyder is considered a production car, it's safe to say that no two were alike as all of them were finished to meet the customers' demands.
They were available from the factory with a very hot competition engine and a hard top.
the bonnet of the long wheelbase (LWB) GT racers, which after the 1956 victory were nicknamed 'Tour de France' or 'TdF'. In down tuned form it powered Ferrariâ€™s first 'production car', the 250 GT Boano Coupe. When the stunning 250 GT Pinin Farina Cabriolet was launched, the 250 GT line-up appeared to be complete. Lucky for Ferrari enthusiasts, two of Ferrari's most important distributors, Luigi Chinetti in New York and John van Neumann in California, convinced Enzo Ferrari it wasn't. What they wanted was a drop-top version of the 'TdF'. Chinetti and Neumann felt that there was a market for
a racer for the road, which the luxurious Pinin Farina Cabriolet did not fill.
The New California Spyder Designed by Pinin Farina It would have been easiest to have Pinin Farina design and body the new cars, but they were too busy with the Cabriolet production. Instead Scaglietti was chosen to execute this new California Spyder, which was designed by Pinin Farina. Scaglietti was mainly responsible for the bodies of Ferrari's racers and the California Spyder project was one of the rare Scaglietti bodied road going Ferraris. Except for the competition specials,
Preserve the Look the bodies were constructed from steel, which was easier to use and cheaper than the aluminium used in the 'TdF' bodies. All Californias used the same design, except for the headlights, which could be ordered open or covered. As requested by Chinetti and Neumann a full competition chassis was used for the California, similar to those for the 'TdFs'.
These Spyder Competiziones did well in the GT class and tied all California Spyders to a sporting
When the Short Wheelbase (SWB) chassis of the 250 GT was introduced in 1959/60, it was also adopted for the California Spyder, with minimal change in exterior design. Even more important was the choice of engines available for the California. Apart from the regular road spec V12, Ferrari offered the 'hot' competition engines as well,
which were good for well over 250 bhp. Over the years the engines evolved and the Californias were always equipped with the latest specification of the Colombo V12.
Record Breaking Value Ferrari's gamble paid off, not only was it a sales hit, but the alloy- bodied competition specials were also
pedigree. Today these cars are the most prized Ferraris on the road.
Each car will be hand-crafted in our Italian workshops by local artisans to the original factory specifications and ready to thrill its new owner quite successful. Already very desirably, the value of these fabulous machines has risen quickly in recent years and in August of 2007 two LWB
examples sold for nearly $5 million. It got even better at RM Auctions' 2008 Maranello sale where a finely restored example changed hands for a record breaking amount of $10 million. Although more a result of a bidding war than a reflection of the current California Spyder market, it will no doubt affect future sales.
This is a rare opportunity for passionate enthusiasts to take delivery of a unique car that was produced in very limited numbers, has a timeless design, and unique historic significance. Each car will be hand-crafted in our Italian workshops by local artisans to the original factory specifications and ready to thrill its new owner. These automobiles are being constructed using the customerâ€™s Ferrari donor automobile, or a Ferrari donor car from our inventory. ||
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Published on Jun 17, 2014