New Year, New Gear

Hope Christmas 2007 was a good one for you. Had a most pleasant week in the West country doing Christmas stuff; eating, drinking, walking, watching crappy films, eating, drinking, praying for snow. Seems like months ago. Already.

Anyway, Detroit’s here and now. I’m not there, but wish I was. (weird, to wish yourself in Detroit, but there ya go..)

Scrambled’s Detroit design digest – part 1

Like most bloggy stuff, I’ve culled these pics from an array of sources. Some design-related observations follow. Feel free to agree/disagree with any opinions expressed!

Mercedes GLK – precursor to Merc’s BMW X3/LandRover Freelander rival. This looks strangely inelegant to me.. not helped by the old-skool wheels. It’s a lucrative niche to be in, but what’s missing are Mercedes classical proportions. It looks quite Japanese – not a bad thing, but to my mind it’s not that far off a squarer Subaru Forester…I don’t see the progress;



Hummer Hx concept – Love the toy-like proportions. Created initially by a group of fresh student designers (i think from Detroit’s own CCS school) this bad-boy looks great; gun-metal, powerful body/greenhouse ratio; a lot of military detail – this is as cool as a Hummer gets. Stick a clean diesel in this and GM would change Hummer’s image in Europe overnight.


Cadillac CTS coupe and V – The V-series is, of course, GM’s answer to BMW’s M-series and Mercedes AMG arm of high-performance cars. It’s production, whereas the coupe is concept. The coupe is definitely the more resolved of the two IMO. It’s ‘edgy’ detailing complements the relatively simple surfacing nicely. Check out the C-pillar; seen in isolation it would look over-the-top, almost a cartoonish point, but somehow it’s absorbed into the calm overall shape of the car. If they developed the rear-end cutlines on this concept it would make a great American alternative to a 3-series coupe or an Infiniti coupe.


The V on the other hand, makes no bones about the fact that it’s a powerful beast. There’s a lot of ‘mesh’ going on up front…personally I think it makes the car look too busy. But if you’re after explicit power referencing then this is your car;


Compare it with the M5 from BMW;


India’s Tata made history with it’s 1 lahk car , the Nano (1 lahk=100,00 rupees or $2,500 / £1,250). Definitely not launched in Detroit, for obvious reasons, this car is clearly a revolution in personal transport. I guess the Indian market is more interested in mobility and affordability than style, but I think the car looks ok, with one major exception..

Wheel size; looks like the wheels were chosen with packaging in mind. Any bigger and they’d cut into useful passenger space. But they’d look a whole lot better;





But I’m nit-picking; this will open up an enormous domestic market in India and other developing countries. The talk in some of the Western press about the damaging effects of this car on the environment is pure hypocrisy. We’re happy to drive around in our performance cars and slowly talk about emissions targets, while whole countries are growing fast, and wanting simply to get mobile. I think Ratan Tata has revolutionsed cheap transport with this car. And I’m sure they’ll be some aftermarket 20″ rims available soon….



  1. The Tarantulas · January 17, 2008

    Yeah – that Tata’s gonna wreck the planet !! Lovin’ that Hummer tho.. ; )

  2. Steve · November 9, 2009

    Dude, it’s Dodge Challenger, not Dodge Charger, totally different car.

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