Team Y rounds up four cars (and one truck) that bend the rules of automotive design – for better or worse – while creating a legacy in the name of style and performance.
Sculpted in steel and aluminum and garnished with a pinch of chrome and just the right dose of plastics – the recipe for cars is a simple one. But not everything outfitted as an automobile that can get you from point A to B need look like a tank on wheels, ready to tip over on the tarmac at the bendiest of bends.
Occasionally, you’ll need to train your eyes at the curves of Pininfarina’s best, or some of the latest and greatest from Europe – a haven for automotive design – when you think all is lost in the world of creativity.
Where avantgarde design meets purpose and aerodynamics meet the limits of engineering, this week, we round up some of our all-time favourite designs – from revolutionary ones to the quirkiest of the bunch – that have altered the way we look at cars.
These are cars, make no mistake about it – but they’re all built to appeal.
The Pagani Huayra is as striking to look at as it is outrageous. It’s the byproduct of a design team that isn’t constricted by the limits of automotive production or costs. Built with an equally shocking material called ‘carbon triax’, which is a mixture of tri-axis fiberglass and a mesh of carbon-fibre power bands, the Huayra captures each curve and angle with the precision of a flight engineer.
The result is a hyper-car that looks ready for its aisle in the Museum of Modern Art in New York. With over 800 horses packed and ready to be unleashed by its Mercedes-AMG-derived from 6.0-litre twin-turbocharged V12 mid-mounted motor, it isn’t a slouch either.
It even comes with ailerons (flaps) that lift and drop based on braking and cornering to keep the car grounded at all times. Priced at US$3.5mn (RO1.3mn) apiece at launch and numbers shooting skywards soon after, we’re surprised it doesn’t take off.
Made famous in pop-culture by the ‘Fast and Furious’ franchise and its actor Han Lue, the RX-7 has had its fair share of love and hate. While the latter can be owed to the niggling Wankel rotary motor, its’ design is etched away in Japanese automotive history books. Wide in its stance, yet pleasing to the eye with soft curves, a smiling front bumper air-intake, and a large spoiler, the RX-7 fulfilled every 90s-kids’ dreams.
Plus, the car was also well-priced, attainable, and quick-footed. Little wonder it ended up on most of our walls as posters. No? Just us then? Maybe we should’ve mentioned the pop-up headlamps which add some 1,000 points for ‘cool’
It’s hard to believe that the Jaguar XKE was designed in the early 1960s. Revolutionary when it was first rolled out to the public, the XKE stole the hearts of car lovers like nothing else did in the era. Malcolm Sayer, designer of the iconic cabriolet, found arcs and bulges that no one else quite could – and helped blend the best of British car design with an aggressive sports-car image.
It had the speed to match too, with 265hp (and more in other variants) under the belt and a top speed of 217kph, the sports car still puts on a fair fight to modern cabriolets. Clean XKEs are now worth over GBP250,000 (RO120,000) – which, after adjusting for inflation, is about five times the value of what it was worth when new.
Lamborghini may have been late to the party by a few years, but owning a Miura is much like owning a part of automotive history itself. The Italian marque’s first car is touted as the world’s first supercar.
It’s low-slung, impractical, and a pain to maintain, drive, or even own (given how expensive they are to buy today). But boy, it’s a fine-looking car. Its scandalous ‘Miami Vice’ looks are complemented by its bulbous wheel arches, thin waistline, and the glorious high-revving V12 screamer. The final package is desirable in the same way as it is unattainable.
A well-maintained and restored Miura can set you back US$3.3mn (RO1.27mn) today, which is nearly five times the value of a modern one – that, plus the added stress of zero rear visibility when backing up, a heavy clutch, and a crunchy gearbox that just hates to sync up. At least the V12 will sing its song as you cut through the mountain roads.
We know we’re staking our credibility here with Tesla’s newly-revealed Cybertruck – the brand’s first consumer truck. Everything about the electric vehicle (EV) is controversial – from its design to its construction. While the truck looks like something out of a zombie apocalypse game, others say it borrows cues from the iconic DeLorean from ‘Back to the Future’. We think it resembles a Be’ah trash can placed around Muscat…however, we won’t lie – it redefines the way we look at trucks.
Elon Musk and his team’s latest creation is allegedly impenetrable with its ultra-hard 30X cold-rolled stainless-steel exoskeleton and Tesla armoured glass (which embarrassingly shattered at the media launch of the truck). Still, with a reported range of 800kms on a single charge and towing capacity of 6,350kgs, the Cybertruck is unrivalled in its class. That said, we wouldn’t be surprised if Tesla came back to call the entire press conference and design a publicity stunt given how Elon Musk relies on self-advertising.