I’m not talking about Michelle Pfieffer, I’m talking about older cars that are a little bit retro, intrinsically not particularly cool, yet having the potential to become design classics.
Ultimately this is an indulgently subjective list, so feel free to disagree and berate my taste.
Lancia Trevi. The exterior was penned on an off-day by Pininfarina, but the interior and specifically the dashboard, was a work of futurism. This was 1980, and those buttons could take your finger off!;
Citroen CX. Again, an amazing (for the time) dash design, this time backed up by a bold aerodynamic exterior.
Renault A610 Alpine. Competing against 1990’s Porsches, this fibreglass hand-built supercar was destined to sink without trace, but the greenhouse treatment and rear-end was ahead of its time;
Alfa Romeo Montreal. Nothing remarkable about the silhouette, but the simple detail of the slatted headlamps gave this GT a menacing, exotic face.
Oldsmobile Toronado. Living in the UK, the closest I got to seeing this was in the occasional tatty National Geographic ads in my grandparents house. At the time it seemed impossibly ostentatious, and other-worldly. And i always thought the name Tornado made more sense, but what do I know.
Citroen DS. Possibly Andre Citroen’s finest hour, the CX was a technological tour-de-force, with hydro-pneumatic suspension and the option of steering-following headlamps. Still looks cool now.
’66 Lincoln Continental. Etched into my memory from ancient Kennedy-assasination newsreel, the Continental was elegant and square, yet seemed so much more modern than an equivalent Rolls-Royce.
Lancia Gamma coupe/Fiat 130. Taking the 3-box design to the max, the proportions of these cars gave them a sense of purity that today’s packaging just doesn’t allow.
Porsche 911 Carrera RS 1972. Talking of purity, to my mind this is the ultimate 911 shape; lithe, simple, and clean. On any other car a decal this size would mean instant derision, yet the font and the colour coordination were exquisitely done.
Ferrari Daytona 365. Perhaps the ultimate, cough, gentleman’s extension, the Daytona is nevertheless a beautifully proportioned piece of rolling sculpture.
Normal (ie; current century) service will resume soon.