Fuel For Thought

Styling Sells

Toyota 2000GT by Cloudforest

Curves, lines, hood ornaments, bulging muscles, fins, turn signals on the hoods. The Golden Age of cars eventually yielded to fuel economy and aerodynamic concerns. And while that’s good, it’s definitely taken some of the character out of the modern automobiles that populate the highways and byways of America.

Exceptions do still exist. Take the Toyota FJ-Cruiser for instance, or even the Hyundai Sonata…with a TURBO no less. The former just about created its very own segment while the latter bursts out from the hum-drum, bread-and-butter mid-sized sedan category.

Then there’s the “OMG, I have to have one” Corvette Stingray. Saw it at the Chicago Auto Show for the first time this year. Hotness bottled up…great American muscle in a sinewy, devilish package.

The Scion FR-S with its swoopy (and affordable) handsome sports car proportions is still the darling of the media, and harkens back to the old AE86, but perhaps it’s more original Z car than anything else. It’s going to take a few years to sort that out.

With heavy benchmarking, and less and less differentiation, styling that stands out still makes an impact. Car companies that recognize the old aviation mantra “if it looks good, it flies good” are making out like bandits. Who will be the next to step out into the spotlight?



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