Re: Designer Of The Century... ?
A thought-provoking question, Kubrick. I've been pondering it over the last couple of days and in doing so taken a journey through the history of automotive styling.
The first thing that came to mind was, which century? If we're talking 20th century design then all the greats come to mind (and in respect to your guidelines will not be namechecked here).
The 21st century becomes much harder, because it's becoming increasingly rare that a new car is credited to the actual design team, rather than to the director of the department. Also, as is happening in the other forms of art, fame becomes increasingly fleeting, and modern designers may only enjoy the limelight for 1 or 2 cars before disappearing.
With this in mind, I've decided to put forward some relatively-unsung designers/stylists for discussion. Not perhaps in the running for the top spot, but worthy of mention & debate.
I'll start with Ercole Spada, the Italian designer credited with many of Zagato's coupes for Aston Martin, Alfa Romeo and Lancia in the 1960s. It was his work with BMW, where he was credited with the E32 7 series and the E34 5 series that brought him to my attention. Cars from the 1988-89 period stick most in my memory because that was the time where I really got into reading about the industry, and the E34 has always impressed me as a beautiful rendition of a contemporary sports-saloon.
His work at IDEA tempers (or indeed, Tempra's) my praise - I note the Alfa 155 on his CV, and thinking back to those late-80s/early-90s Alfas those were not great times for the brand in comparison to the post-156 era (Pininfarina's 164, the GTV/Spider and the ES30 Alfa SZ being honourable exceptions in my book). But I did like the Fiat Tipo 5-door hatch - in its space-efficiency, split-level dashboard and shape it seemed to be trying something new that cars like the Escort, Astra and Golf of the time weren't.
For Ercole Spada's career highlights, my personal picks after some web research are:
- Aston Martin DB4 GTZ
- OSCA 1600 GTZ
- Alfa Giulietta SZ
- Alfa Giulia TZ/TZ2 (although the debt to the 250GTO is heavy indeed)
- Rover 2000TCZ
- Alfa 1300 and 1800 Junior Z (when you look at these you can understand why I was disappointed by the MiTo)
- Ford GT70 concept
- BMW E34 5 Series
Batty, as our resident Lancia afficionado, what are your thoughts on the various Zagato-d Spada cars? (Flavia, Flaminia, Fulvia)? I prefer the Fulvia coupe to the fastback Fulvia Sport, and the Flavia photos I found were not flattering. The Flaminia Sport seems to lose some coherence towards the C-pillar? But looks good from front 3/4 view.
I'll admit I'm on shakey ground here with the various 60s-70s cars, relying far too much on unofficial fansites for much of the background info. So constructive corrections and further insights are welcome.