Design Analysis

New 2017 Fiat 124 Roadster Breaks Cover at LA Auto Show: The question is if it’s better or worse than the Miata…

November 20, 2015 in Design Analysis / guest contributor / Italian / Japanese / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

4Story by Wallace Wyss

Most of the automaker’s cost for a new car is in the development. Fiat wanted to get into sports cars again, two seaters, but didn’t want the huge cost of developing one from scratch.

So the result, the new 124, is based on the Mazda MX-5, one of the most highly developed sports cars on the planet, not in terms of displaying cutting edge wizardry but in consistently offering plain and lightweight driving fun for the money. It’s been around for generations so Fiat, by basing their car on a known entity, can count on a fun to drive car. Continue reading →

A WOMAN DESIGNED THE NEW 2016 ACURA NSX: and neither one is exactly too bad on the ‘ol eyes…

September 15, 2015 in Design Analysis / guest contributor / Japanese / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

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Her name is Michelle Christensen.

A former student at Art Center College of Design, the 34-year old blonde started at Honda in 2005,  doing non-sporty cars, such as the RDX crossover and a refresh of the RL sedan. But surprisingly for those who think all sporty car designers have to be hairy chested knuckle draggers, she got the lead designer role.

The aim, though unstated, was to provide Ferrari-like handling and performance at a lower price, probably one half  that of a V8-powered mid- engine Ferrari.

I am happy they didn’t try to mix in too much of the old  NSX heritage  because that car, though modern from the windscreen forward, looked like a custom Firebird from the back. She told a reporter though that the new car “has the same soul,” she went on to say… Continue reading →

The New Rolls Royce Silver Dawn Convertible: A Design Critique by Wallace Wyss

September 8, 2015 in Design Analysis / English / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

The idea of having a smaller convertible than the huge Phantom is a good idea. The Phantom is fine as a luxury conveyance but even with four people on board the car is so big that the people look like 4/5ths scale–lost in the splendor of it all. The car is daunting.  It is almost embarrassing to drive a car that large.
The Silver Wraith, on the  other hand   is smaller and lighter and represents a car aimed at a different age range (hopefully younger), and something which has some more sporting potential considering its size. This is just the beginning of the new model, and I think considering what Bentley is doing with high performance models it behooves Rolls to explore that territory later on with a separate model from the other Silver Dawns. But I think the new Silver Dawn will be so popular they don’t need a Hi-Po model for a year or two because they will have trouble just manufacturing enough to meet demand. Here’s my critique on the styling, based on seeing a pre-production prototype  in a invitation only preview conducted in a small  garage  at Pebble Beach.

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Video: Harry’s Garage takes a 1980 Jaguar XJ-S H.E. V12 on a photo shoot to Monaco

July 29, 2015 in Design Analysis / English / General Discussion / Video

Ever thought about a 1980 Jaguar XJ-S H.E. V12 before? Well, neither had we before watching the latest Harry’s Garage video above, where he talks about the car utilizing his vast wealth of knowledge while taking a 1,000 mile drive to Monaco. The plan was to take it there for a photo shoot to recreate scenes from the original factory brochure, the story to appear in the upcoming September edition of Octane Magazine. His personable manner has a way of persuading us into wanting to buy every car he has featured so far, this guy knows his stuff!

Tom Tjaarda: The American Designer who Affected Italian Design

June 30, 2015 in American / Design / Design Analysis / guest contributor / History / Italian / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

5A Feature Story by Wallace Wyss

In 1970 when Motor Trend flew me, their ace reporter who could speak Michiganian, back to Dearborn to see a new car called the Pantera, they introduced me to the car’s designer– a tall well mannered gentleman from Ghia Carrozzeria. I was expecting an Italian but this man turned out to be Tom Tjaarda (pronounced JAR-DUH) who grew up in Birmingham, MI about three miles from where I grew up. But he had been in Italy since 1958, working first for Pininfarina and later Ghia. Every once in a while when I read his latest comments on design in the Sixties and Seventies in a British magazine, I like to look back at some of his designs to refresh my memory. Here’s my comments on some of them, way too late to influence the production model but still a reaction from someone who comments on design in books and magazines…
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From Another Perspective-More Photos From This Past Sunday’s San Marino Motor Classic!

June 17, 2015 in Concours Show / Design Analysis / General Discussion / guest contributor / Reader Submission

Robert Saber from the Motor Press Guild (MPG) was kind enough to send us his pictures from this past Sunday’s San Marino Motor Classic show. Always nice to see a show from several different perspectives. Enjoy them all on the following page, and see what he has to say starting with this Morgan KNP-5…

KNP 5––Possibly the most appealing, at least to me, car in the show. There’s just something so honest about old Morgans, and this one in particular… 

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Bentley EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept Car Design Analysis, a Humble Opinion by Wallace Wyss

June 12, 2015 in Concept Car / Design Analysis / English / Featured / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss


I like the Bentley Continental GTC convertible and wondered where they can go from here but now I know, now that they have unveiled the EXP 10 Speed 6 Concept car at the 2015 Geneva International Motor Show. This version is more “selfish” than any other current Bentley in that it’s a two seater sports car, not a four seater.

The name “Speed” is to harken us back to the prewar days when there was the Speed 6 and Bentley was competing at LeMans.

In my most humble opinion (which it always is, of course), the first thing I’d do before this model hits production is to drop the name “EXP10” as no one realizes Bentley had a tradition of EXP prototypes. They also call it the “Speed 6” in honor of Bentley that won LeMans but naming a car a “6” when it actually has a V8 could be confusing to newcomers to the marque.

The following page discusses my design analysis, beginning with my first take of the front end based on available images…
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“ENTOURAGE” CADILLAC IS THE STAR OF THE MOVIE: A Design Commentary by Wallace Wyss

June 7, 2015 in American / Design Analysis / guest contributor / Movie Car / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss


During Monterey Car Week back in 2011, I was invited to the preview of this car at a country club owned by Clint Eastwood in the Carmel area. I was blown away by the car’s boldness, but saw some impractical features that would have to be dropped before production. Still, it was a bold move to put Cadillac ahead of Lincoln in terms of showing their thinking for the future. What follows are my comments based on my first impressions…
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The New Maserati Zagato Mostro- A Design Analysis by Wallace Wyss

June 4, 2015 in Design Analysis / Featured / guest contributor / Italian / Reader Submission / Video / Wallace Wyss

I would say there’s only two places to roll out a new Italian sports car design–Pebble Beach and Italy’s annual Concorso d’Eleganza Villa d’Este. Maserati chose the Villa though, and who knows, Pebble 2015 is still ahead of us as of this writing.

This year it celebrated 100 years of Maserati and Zagato chose this event to debut the Mostro powered by Maserati.

Zagato’s new car is meant as an homage to the 1957 Maserati 450 S Coupé Zagato “Monster”, a car that had a British aero expert do the calculations for body shape but which didn’t finish the 24 Heures du Mans in ’57. Zagato and has had a working relationship with the trident that dates all the way back to the early 1930s. The ’57 car was later purchased by an American buyer and used for the street. According to Zagato, the 400-hp 450 S remained the world’s most powerful front-engined race car into the 1990s.


That ’57 was so ugly (and yet beautiful) that is how it got the name “mostro” which means “monster”. The new Zagato car has a similar race car converted for the street look.

Here’s my take on the new car, based on photos:  Continue reading →

The 2016 Camaro: A Leak of Photos Gives Us a Chance for a Preliminary Design Analysis by Wallace Wyss

May 18, 2015 in American / Design / Design Analysis / guest contributor / Wallace Wyss

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Say it ain’t so, Joe, that I came across the 2016 Camaro a few months ago and didn’t notice that it was much different than the current Camaro . Now that sneak pictures have leaked out I am embarrassed to say that there it was right in front of me at the Art Center concours and I didn’t realize it was the next gen model. But I was intrigued by the headlamps which seemed to have a crystal fogged glass bar about a foot long on each side, a very high quality piece of glass or plastic. I couldn’t figure out how it looked when lit up but now, in the spy pictures snuck out of the preview in Detroit, I have more of a clue. Let me say first that the 2015 and before last gen Camaro was a robust American musclecar design but as soon as the new Mustang came out with a leaner look ahead of the windscreen and also what I am calling “crystal block” taillights, it made the 2015 Camaro look old. Of course I realize the new gen Camaro was designed as long as three years ago but it is coincidental that both the Mustang and Camaro were already neck and neck competitors but now with the restyling of the Camaro it is back in a more competitive position vis-a-vis the Mustang. So here’s my take based on what I’ve seen…
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Design Analysis of 2016 Aston Martin Vulcan: A Let’s Play Boy Racer Car, by Wallace Wyss

April 1, 2015 in Design / Design Analysis / English / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

I think somebody over at Aston Martin design studios is watching a little too much Star Trek. On the other hand, the new prototype does really look like something you would see on a StarTrek set, hence the name of some alien species from sci-fi fits. I’m a little lost on what the purpose of the car is. Is there really a market for “track only” cars that costs millions? Apparently yes, as witness the Ferrari FXX K and the McLaren P1 GTR. And it’s not like they’re going to make hundreds. They said at Geneva only 24 would be made. And similar to the Ferrari FXX, you are offered the opportunity to work with the factory people to “tailor their track-day experience through a graduating scale of detailed power and dynamic performance adjustments”…
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Design Analysis of Lincoln Continental Concept: Close But No Cigar, by Wallace Wyss

March 31, 2015 in American / Concept Car / Design / Design Analysis / English / General Discussion / guest contributor / Reader Submission / Wallace Wyss

I had thought Lincoln, as a Division of Ford, had lost its way. I thought we would never see a car as significantly Lincoln as the four door Continental of the Sixties, but now with the new car they showed at the NY Auto Show there’s hope. It’s not the actual car that will be offered in 2016, but let’s hope it’s close…
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