We are living in THE ugliest period in automobile history

I am obsessed with car design. Passionately, emotionally into it. Cars are a huge part of our lives. We see them constantly - they are everywhere. When not seeing them on the road for a substantial portion of our day, we see advertisements for them and see them in films and on television. They are omniprescent.

I am completely disgusted by today’s crop of new automobiles. They are uniformly bulky, awkward looking, and asymmetrical. The logos on the grills are colossal, particularly Toyota and Cadillac. The door handles are huge and cheap looking. The lines, frequently, are completely off-kilter. And I’m absolutely disgusted by it. The dissonance that it is causing in my mind is a constant source of anguish.

Take a look at my favorite car - the 1971 Mustang Mach 1. This car is a work of art. Look at the way the window gently curves upward towards the rear, and then look at how the nose of the car gently curves downward to balance it. It’s one long horizontal S-shape - sleek, flowing, and beautiful. The Mustang logo is tiny - you know it’s a Mustang from a mile away, you don’t need a giant logo to tell you. The car looks like a knife ready to slice through the air. It looks sleek and fast, but SOLID at the same time, it has a substantial body, but isn’t bulky.

Compare that to the 2005 Mustang. Big rounded fenders. A giant horse logo. A big humped window, a cheap-looking door handle with a big recessed circle underneath (the ugliest-looking kind of door handle since it awkwardly mixes rectangular and spherical shapes.) The body is too “chunky” looking, too bulky, too tall and not long enough to counterbalance it. It just looks horrible. It makes me literally sad that such a beautiful, unique car design, the Mustang, is going through these horrible incarnations. Even the old, boxy late-80s 'Stangs were not so obnoxiously quasi-futuristic as these monstrosities.

Oh, baby! The Mustang isn’t even the tip of the iceberg. Behold, the Nissan Pathfinder Armada. This is the ugliest SUV ever designed. It literally looks like two different vehicles smashed together. The rear of it looks like a combination of an H3 and a 2007 Escalade, more bulky-ass cheap looking SUVs despite their gargantuan price tags. Look at how the two rear windows are completely askew, their lines clashing like Rome with Carthage. A humped curve, then a straight lined rectangle with rounded edges - a more awkward, unsightly, asymmetrical design never existed. Even the roof rack is in two differently-sized pieces. The fenders are a horrible rectangular shape and are raised almost to the level of the damn windows. This SUV looks like it was designed by Picasso. On LSD. Wearing a blindfold.

Audis and Volkswagens look like slugs, bulky and rounded, with cheap looking plastic everywhere and giant ugly door handles. The Chevy HHR looks like an utter piece of shit. The BMW 3-series has a big strip of cheap black plastic running along the side. Even the Chevy Suburban, vehicle of choice for badass black-suited goons with earpieces everywhere, is curvy and emasculated-looking.

I could go on and on but any car people will know what I mean when I say that the styling of modern cars only seems to be getting worse and worse.

Ah, another one of these threads. I loves em.

I agree with you. If I ran a car company (let’s just say Ford, for example), I’d mash the Lincoln and Ford brands into one. I’d also come out with at least 4 to 10 new models.

I’d also pay some big money to get some artists in the design rooms with the designers (if they existed anymore. Don’t get me started.) to come up with things that look unique. Create the next wave of cars that, in 20 or 30 years, they’re trying to mimic. I see going back to retro designs and “updating!” them as cheap. Oh, I get that it’s an homage to the past, but it also shows a complete void in creativity.

Also, you MAKE alternative fuels work. Push the envelope. Make the impossible possible.

Okay, I’m ranting now. I’ll shut up.

Chrysler K car

Scion xB

Just horrible…

Bloomington, the town I live in, has Scion cabs. Ugh.

I basically agree with you except I thought the 80’s were worse than today. It seemed like every car came in only about 4 styles. They all looked like crap.

What period do you consider the greatest period?
For myself it was 1964 to 1969. I love the Pony Cars, Sports Cars and the VWs of the that time.

You mention the new Mustang and the sad thing is, it might be the best looking current car.


Jesus H. Bald-headed Christ, that is one ugly car.

However, I still think the world’s ugliest SUV is the Honda Element, which, in addition to looking like the box the Land Rover was shipped in, has the added feature of having those differently colored body panels, as if while being shipped from the factory it had already gotten into an accident and the body work was done by someone who didn’t have the right color of paint:


Of course, when I say the Honda Element is the world’s ugliest SUV, I of course do not mean to imply that it as ugly as the Subaru Baja. I am merely stating that the Baja is not an SUV. It is, apparently, the El Camino of the 21st century:

I mean, look at that. It looks like somoene fused the ass end of a mini pickup to the forward 2/3rds of a Nissan Pulsar. That is one ugly-ass vehicle. It’s even uglier than the Aztek, which when in yellow looked exactly like a 1989-era Sony Sports Walkman:

A Sony Sports Walkman (scroll down)
The Pontiac Aztek

On the contrary, I thought this year was a tremendous step forward. For years, jelly bean cars were being produced indiscriminatly, and the only difference was the price tag and the logo out front. Instead, these past years I’ve noticed a real attempt at trying things out.

Now, let me reemphasize that: attempt. That Mustang isn’t too great, but it is a step in the right direction. The front looks fairly mean, although the back is awkward. Overall, though, the whole design is fairly bold - when was the last time a Mustang made such an aggressive statement? Sure, it may be underpowered and plastic, but atleast they are trying.

I mean, really, which looks better here?

Now, that Nissan is just crap, and the grill looks like quite a rip off of the latest ugly Hondas.

I prefer the early to mid 70s for American cars and the mid to late 90s for Euro cars. The BMW 8-series is one of the best looking cars ever made, in my opinion.

The best looking new American car right now is the Chevy Impala.

80s were by far alot worse. Like mentioned, K-cars, datsuns, and that whole amc line. The 83 AMC Eagle being the ugliest of the bunch.

I have to vehemently disagree. The car styling in the 80s was boring. The car styling now is obnoxious.

I’d rather have a boring person in the room than an obnoxious one.

Damn, RickJay. You mentioned almost all of mine.
I’ll add the new VW Bug. It looks like an egg on wheels.

Also, the PT Cruiser. Nice on the inside, looks like a friggin’ matchbox car outside. I can’t picture Eliot Ness in one.

I heartily agree that today’s cars are uglier on the whole. Unfortunately, Ugly appears to be an actual marketing strategy. Check this article from MSNBC: link

Doesn’t that just figure? Instead of designing something classy and timeless, these guys are deliberately making ugly cars. We’re stuck with it.

It’s all a matter of taste. I’ve always thought the Mach 1 was a ass-ugly car and I wouldn’t be caught dead in one.

Then what do you like? WHY do you find the Mach 1 ugly? If you’re a Euro guy instead of an American when it comes to cars, I can give you a pass, but preferring modern American cars to the oldies? I don’t get it.

I agree with Seven. I find cars to be pretty ugly today but the Mach 1 is not exactly best in show either. My personal favorite is the 1969 Corvette Stingray

I dunno…for the most part, all 1970s car designs say to me is “screw aerodynamics! We’re just going to weld some matte sheet metal over the bulkiest engine we can find!” Like they just strapped a car around an air intake.

Which, I’ll admit, does work, stylistically, under the right circumstances…like if Steve McQueen is racing it around hilly San Francisco. Or if it’s after the apocalypse, and you’ve stripped the scorched, rusting side paneling off so you can strap on some jagged spikes and a cow-catcher. You can’t really do the same convincingly with an Prius, I will give you that.

Moving thread from IMHO to The BBQ Pit.

Um, no. Instead of trying to design cars that are bland and inoffensive, they are making unique cars that appeal to some people, even if it means many others would find them ugly. Makes perfect sense to me.

Why can’t you have both? You can make classy cars that are still unique. The BMW 8-series comes to mind. Classy as hell, but breaks the BMW mold into a million pieces.

I can’t understand how you’re looking at the picture you linked and ask this question. Why do you find the Mach 1 to be even semi-attractive? GAWD that is one ugly machine… and that paint! One doesn’t have to prefer modern cars to dislike the Muskrat and all it stood for.

Here’s a real car.

I’m not saying the cars today are better than 1964-1971, unless you’re talking about safety, reliability, or mileage. I am saying that, overall, the 80’s sucked. Sure, you can pull out some butt-ugly thing like the Scion or the Aztec, but at least those abominations have personality, not like the junk Detroit cookie-cut during those evil times.
Since you seem to be a fan, I’ll push the dark ages back a few years to the mid-70s and trot out the Mustang II. Even a non-Stang fan like myself thinks that this was a crime against all that was good and pure.

I will say, however, that I sure don’t think we’re living in the bright period in automotive history. Not since the VW Thing have I seen a vehicle as straight-up ugly as that Scion.