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Cars That The Designers Should Have Been Shot For

November 5th 2007

Never one to sit on the fence when it comes to motoring opinions, Nick lets rip on the automotive design fraternity.

WARNING - Very Offensive...but so damn entertaining we had to publish it!

I know that it’s said that to truly appreciate brilliance you need to have mediocrity to compare it against, but lets face it, we all know that Nicole Kidman is gorgeous - we don’t need to look at Ann Widdecobme to confirm it. It’s the same with cars so I would like to give you my "Widys"

VW Micro-bus
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
VW Micro-bus - Air-Cooled
"Oh no" I hear the hippy surfer dudes out there cry, "you can’t be serious man, it’s a classic". No it’s not, it’s crap. It’s slow, smelly, hates corners and me, I’d buy the lot and give them all to the ministry of defence so our brave lads and lasses in the armed forces could bomb, strafe, shoot and generally blow the bloody lot of ’em into the scrap they deserve to be.
VW Beelte
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
VW Beetle - ALL versions
Yes you fun-loving hippies, it’s another one of your faves. I have a very good friend of mine, Pete, whom I love dearly (not in a Broke Back way you understand), but he has this bloody great blind spot over these Teutonic scuttling moving road blocks. It was designed by Mr Porsche for his mate Adolf so he could get his fun-loving mates mobile and look where that got them, Poland! Pete’s was called Fernela and I hated it as much as he loved it. He was in tears the day its wheel fell off and it was pronounced DOA. He has now seen the light and drives an Audi. I hated those Herbie movies as a kid, they drove me mad. All those non-car kids at school really thought a beetle could go faster than a Ferrari/Jaguar etc, they wouldn’t listen. I tried to get it through their thick football-only heads that it was like Iceland beating Brazil in the world cup final. I can’t tell you how annoyed I was when VW announced that the beetle was coming back. I weep when I see the "new beetle" as it reminds me of those air-cooled, ill-handling heaps and all those wasted hours in the school playground arguing with my fellow detainees.
Nissan Micra
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here

Nissan Micras - All Versions
This is my nemesis car (we all have one). I don’t know what I’ve done to them over the years but they have it in for me. They are always at the front of a long snake of slow moving cars on your favourite road; they are the one car coming towards me that stops me overtaking on the first straight for miles; you find them badly parked taking up two places in the crowded car park when I am late for an appointment. I had one in London once that plagued me for miles; it was a Mk1, silver and black, and no matter how I drove, it always got in the way. It used the bus lanes, went the wrong side of the keep left signs, straight on at right-turn traffic lights, yet when the road was clear in front it slowed to 20mph, AHHHHHH!

The MKII, cute and cuddly? No. What were those Nissan Designers on? For pity’s sake they even gave it teddy bear alloys! Do you remembers those adverts, "you can in a Nissan"? I wanted to add "but you shouldn’t". Then it became "ask before you borrow it", the strap-line should have been "ask before you buy it, you might need counselling"

MKIII - Swap cute for butt ugly. Then it got even worse, they cut the roof off and painted it pink! Can’t blame it all on the designers though, you can see the limp-wristed hand of the marketing team in that one.

Porsche Cayenne
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
Porsche Cayenne / Range Rover Sport / Mercedes ML AMG / Range Rover Supercharged / Audi Q7
Unlike my two esteemed colleagues on this site I don’t share their love of the Urban 4x4 and at the top of the 4x4 tree is the "High Performance SUV". In fact, I blame these over endowed sheds with the death of motoring. You see, before Porsche decided the world needed an SUV to propel the Gold Sovereign wearing population of Essex to Bluewater at 150mph, the tree huggers had left the motoring enthusiast alone to get on with our love of cars. Yes they blamed us for some of the worlds ills but they didn’t have a target that Joe public could latch onto and become a focus of all their bile. Did the designers / marketeers do it for a dare? Was it a result of a piss-up at a Stuttgart Beer Keller? Marketing team to the engineers (adopt outrageous German accent and slur your words) "I bet you can’t make an SUV do 155mph und 0-60 in sub 7 seconds". "Oh yes we can" came the reply. Then, marketing team to the designers - "can you make it look like the bastard child of a 911 and a hummer?", "Yes we can" was the unfortunate reply. Now every company wants a "High Performance SUV". Remember you company-car lot out there, just because you can doesn’t mean you should.
Lexus LS400
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
Lexus LS400
I have sneaking admiration for Toyota and their uber-brand as they have taken on Jag/Merc/BMW/Audi and made them raise their game. These cars are fantastic examples of how, by focusing solely on the end game, you can miss the point. The Lexus LS400 is perfect in so many ways, everything about it should tick all the boxes but it just doesn’t with the real enthusiast. V8 Engine - where’s the roar? Rear-wheel drive - understeers. Full leather - feels like plastic. It’s a whole lot of great engineering that is less than the sum of its parts. It’s a sad sad shame.
Bugatti Veyron
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
Bugatti Veyron
I know this car is seen as the ultimate, but I can’t help but think that, like Lexus, VW missed the point. It was all about the numbers; 1000bhp, 252mph, 4 turbos. It was as though Mr VW wanted to win at Top Trumps. And this was summed up tragically in the way they took a Veyron to the Bugatti Owners hill climb at Prescott and broke the hill record; they stamped on the history and tradition of the name. Evo magazine had it about right when they said "on the way to the top of the mountain they forgot to take in the view"
Ssangyong Rodius
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
SsangYong Rodius
The first time I saw this I thought it was a joke; no car can be that ugly. They must have been very very drunk when they signed that one off. I can’t imagine that someone walks into a show room and spends their hard-earned cash on this monstrous carbuncle. It’s offensive and should be banned from the roads. How many accidents has this caused either by shock, or the viewer laughing hysterically? It’s best summed-up by a mate of mine who described it as a "20 pinter"
BMW 1 Series
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
BMW1 Series
’Kin Ugly. A real minger; a Chris Bangle joke that a lot of people seem to want to buy! Why for pity’s sake? Don’t give me that crap about build quality, the Ford focus is as good. Its space is very poor due to the rear-wheel drive, which brings me to the next point. "Its rear-wheel drive gives optimum handling"...excuse me but that’s bollocks; the majority of owners first introduction to oversteer will be on a wet roundabout as they disappear backwards through the hedge. Go on, admit it, it’s all about the badge, you bought it because it says BMW!
Seven Clone Seven Clones
I am not going to list them all, but you know who you are. I don’t understand why people go and see tribute bands, it doesn’t make sense to me. They are obviously very talented musicians as they can recreate a facsimile of the sound you hear on the CD/Radio/Record, but why don’t they make a living as themselves? As for the people who pay to see them...why? You have the records, listen to them, watch the DVDs. It’s the same with Lotus/Caterham 7 clones. The engineers behind these (poor) copies are quite obviously cable of producing cars so why do they have to produce clones? Why not produce an alternative like the stunning Atom or the Brookes retro-looking racer. Please don’t defend your cars when we meet by telling me how expensive the Caterham is. The majority of "clones" I’ve driven are crap. The kits are poor - the amount of parts you have to source is close to criminal and I suggest that, in real terms, the real deal is cheaper. With Sevens now well below £8k second-hand you have no excuse, and if you want to build a car build a real 7.
Caterham SV
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
Caterham CSR
Caterham SV & CSR
Now, as the more astute amongst you may have realised, I am a card carrying member of the Lotus Seven Club and I’ll fight any man who says that the Seven is anything other than great, but I really feel uncomfortable about the SV & CSR version of the Seven. Yes, I know the population is getting bigger and the Seven was designed 50 years ago by a flawed genius of restricted height, but please, why does it have to be so wide? To me it looks so wrong and what’s more it feels wrong. I am no lightweight, at 13 Stone and 5’11", but I fit, and I’ve bigger friends who get in the standard chassis. They said the CSR would be quicker with the new rear suspension but I’ve yet to see a CSR that’s faster than a standard car with the same engine. Yep, it's a lot faster than the Exige around Angelsey circuit but I bet the new R400 would be quicker still. I would love to see a new Caterham that was either slightly longer than the current car or a mini Le Mans track day special that could emulate what Mr Chapman did with the 11 and 15 all those years ago.
Aston Martin V8 Vantage
image sourced from www.wikipedia.com
GFDL Licence here
Original image here
Aston Martin V8 Vantage (Current Model)
Because it makes me very sad that I am poor and can’t afford to buy one. No car has the right to be that ’kin gorgeous and sound so ’kin fantastic. Mr Henrik Fisker you should hang your head in shame for leading so much of mankind into temptation.

Nick

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