Fifty Cars that Changed the World (Design Museum Fifty)
Everything around us is designed and the word "design" has become part of our everyday experience. But how much do we know about it? Fifty Cars That Changed the World imparts that knowledge listing the top 50 cars that have made a substantial impact in the world of design today. From the1908 Ford Model T to the 1998 smart car, each entry offers a short appraisal to explore what has made their iconic status to give them a special place in design history.
awkward to climb in and out of, too low, and with poor visibility – a sickening recipe. The definitive London cab was designed in 1956 by Austin body designer and draughtsman Eric Bailey, apparently because the in-house ‘stylist’, Dick Burzi, wanted nothing to do with it. Bailey referenced current Austin saloons and Anglo-American looks in the fender and body sides (he had just finished work on the Austin-made Metropolitan made for Nash in the United States), but the principal design driver was
was entrusted to former Bertone designer Franco Scaglione (1916–93) and was a little odd, the front end reflecting, perhaps, the Chevrolet Corvette Sting Ray. Even a loyal company history admits that ‘approval of its styling was by no means unanimous’. But on the road the 350 was really good and, cleaned up stylistically by Touring of Milan, allowed Lamborghini to do what many have tried but few have achieved – to create an enduring new supercar brand. Too futuristic? Too American? Too odd?
sport-utility vehicles (SUVs) into status symbols for city centres, his Range Rover established a new, popular vehicle segment. But its success prompts the question as to why inspired products, committed engineers like the Wilks brothers and a talented successor in King were unable to create and sustain the type of industrial auto dynasties that the Porsche and Piëch families achieved in Germany. It’s hard to resist the conclusion that, by the 1970s, the milieu in Britain was just too
seats, perfect for many families of modest means, and thereby anticipated the new typology of ‘people carriers’ by more than 20 years. The new Multipla completely reversed this idea. By the 1990s long three-row ‘van’-type people carriers were commonplace, so the challenge from Paolo Cantarella – at the time managing director of Fiat Auto – was to accommodate six people in comfort in a new short car under 4m (13ft) long. Designer Roberto Giolito and his team came up with a unique variant – a
owed much to Ettore Bugatti’s eldest son, Jean (1909–39), who was talented, active and not as stubborn as his father about adopting necessary trends from the mainstream auto industry. In fact, Jean Bugatti was in effective control of the factory from 1936, for Ettore, embittered by a strike and growing communist militancy at the factory, had largely decamped to Paris where he worked on his new and successful railcar business and his own design of racing aircraft. Jean Bugatti would no doubt have