Ben Huberman, in this week’s Photo Challenge post says, “Goodbye, straight lines. Hello, curves.” He asks for our take on the term “rounded.” You can read the entire challenge post here. My immediate thoughts went to his opening illustration of a curving road. Then, thinking some more about it, I realized that in days gone by, the vehicles that used those curvy roads had plenty of curves of their own. Cars haven’t completely lost a curvy appearance, though there was a time in the late 20th century when rounded lines all but disappeared from automobile design.
Mid-20th century automotive designers put plenty of curves in their designs. Any relationship to aerodynamics then were totally coincidental. Today’s wind-tunnel designed curves created in the goal of better fuel economy are much more efficient and functional but they have a decided artistic disadvantage. There is only one perfectly sculpted design for maximum aerodynamics. Automobiles designed today all approximate that shape and any deviation from that shape for artistic sake has the disadvantage of bringing down that manufacturer’s total fuel efficiency numbers.
In earlier days, the automobile was a statement of a person’s individuality and prestige. While there are certainly cars produced these days that still speak to that status, the car has become a commodity, a part of daily life. The expression of individuality might only be a personalized plate or a collection of bumper stickers. Herewith I submit for your review a small gallery of rounded edges on classic cars, those with curves designed for artistic flow instead of efficient air flow. On most browsers, you can select an image to enlarge it and to scroll through the gallery.