Vehicle design, and more specifically exterior design, is an art form. Like any art form it finds itself divided along the lines of the bad and the brilliant. While it is true that there will always be varying levels of quality for any product, any seeing spectator can observe that vehicle design as an art form has been going downhill en mass since the early 1970s. What this means for the consumer is that the options available when in search of an artfully designed vehicle are narrowed. What this means for the major auto manufacturers is that the competition, at least in the ways of superior visual aesthetics, is minimal.
This brings us the the theme of today’s post: Quality by quantity and specialization. If an automotive manufacturer designs and sells only a few cars then the design team will have more time and energy to craft a vehicle as a work of art, rather than as a product to be hurried along and mass produced. If a customization, optimization, or aftermarket outfit focus’s on crafting a riding experience in addition to a work of art, then the consumer can only benefit.
Take, for example, the new 2012 Venom GT. The Venom GT is a product of two niche automotive design houses. The first is the UK super sport manufacturer Lotus. The second is the US based after market optimization outfit Hennessey. Lotus is known as the maker of the beautiful Lotus and Exige models. Hennessey is known as the company that made the custom Viper that today stands as the only street legal vehicle to beat out the Bugatti Veyron fair and square in a speed test.
John Hennessey understandably derived some encouragement and inspiration from taking the Veyron down a peg. He says “One day I joked about putting the Venom 1000 Twin Turbo engine in the back of a Lotus Exige. Then I thought, let’s do a sketch and see what that might look like. When I saw the sketch I stopped laughing and really started to seriously think about this idea.”
He continues “I thought to myself, we can build this car with 1000+ hp and a weight well under 3000 lbs. A mid-engine design like the Ford GT will put the weight of the motor and transmission over the rear tires giving better traction. Design as much downforce as we will need to have a car that handles like a kart on the road or race track. At the same time also have a car with the best power to weight ratio possible giving unmatched acceleration. This is how the Venom GT concept was born.”
Not only is the niche of all niche racing vehicles one of the fastest cars on the planet, but it also stands out high among the finest looking performance cars on the planet today.
What is the take away? Great art is not produced en mass, nor is it produced by committee. It is crafted by individual artists.