August 03, 2006

Sexy Car Redux

As you no doubt recall, I had a post earlier about some Brit magazine's list of sexy cars, some of which I agreed with, but the majority--not.

In a nice little surprise, my new issue of Automobile arrived yesterday, and lo and behold--their cover story was about the 25 Most Beautiful Cars Ever Made.

Now, "beautiful" is a slightly different set of criteria, at least to me, than what makes a car "sexy," but nevertheless, it was interesting to see that of the list I made up of cars that I like--

Jaguar E-type
Lamborghini Miura
Ferrari 365 GTB/4, S/4 Daytona
'63-'67 Corvette
Ford GT40
Mercedes-Benz 300SL
Maserati Ghibli
Lotus Elite
and a late addition of the Cord 810/812

--every single one of them was in the Automobile list, with the exception of the GT40. They also managed to grab a few from the other list that I thought deserved attention, such as the Bentley Continental, and my suggestion of the 1940 Lincoln Continental.

Pretty nifty list of other cars in the Automobile article--I can't remember them all, but there were the ones mentioned above plus the Jag XK-150 (which I'm not particularly fond of), the Jag XJ-6 (which I am), the 1963-65 Buick Riviera (almost bought one of those long ago), the various Chrysler Airflows, the slab-sided 1961 Lincoln Continentals (stunning, but not quite sexy in my mind). Anyway, I didn't have a disagreement with any of them, but one niggling little detail caught my eye.

IN the blurb abuot the Ferrari 365GTB/4 Daytona, it was mentioned that its design influenced many different cars, including the Rover SD-1 and the Chevy Monza. Well, I might give some credit for the Rover's front side-marker light that sweeps back toward the front wheel, and the shallow groove along the side, but actually there is another Ferrari that is much more of an inspiration for both of the cars, expecially if you look at the vertically slatted B-pillar and the upward sweep of the sill of the rear quarter window--the 365GTC/4.


Here's an unfortunate looking Chevy Monza Spyder for comparison--

monza spyder.jpg

Interesting thing about that name--it had a lot of fond memories to it based on Chevy's Corvair Monza Spyders of the early-'60s. Monza meant sporty turbocharged power, and Spyder meant convertible top. The later model Chevy of the same name was strictly a coupe (which made the Spyder part sorta silly) and all of the blazing power of other mid- to late-'70s cars. I.e., precious little. Which made the whole "Monza" part seem a bit silly, too. That, and the fact that under the skin it was the same as a Vega.

But hey, it was the age of disco.

Posted by Terry Oglesby at August 3, 2006 08:46 AM

I noticed the 1958 Chevy was absent from the list.

Posted by: jim at August 3, 2006 08:55 AM

As was the Pontiac Aztek.

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 3, 2006 09:01 AM

Did the '58 Chevy inspire the look of the Edsel?

Posted by: steevil (Dr Weevil's bro Steve) at August 3, 2006 09:08 AM

There has always been a lot of cross pollination amongst designers of every sort, which is why so much from certain eras looks alike. Things rock along for a while, then someone tries something new and it catches on, then everyone else piles on the bandwagon. Sometimes it's a good thing, such as smooth lines and the racy looking long hood, short trunk type of styling, and them sometimes it's something like tailfins or fake woodgrain. Both of which, incidentally, were covered in the Automobile article in a sprinkling of small sidebars entitled "What Were They Thinking?"

An interesting article about the Edsel and its styling can be found here, which is a reprint of an article by Eugene Jaderquist found in True's Automobile Yearbook 1958 Issue Number 6. As you can see, the title is "Why the Edsel Will Succeed."

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at August 3, 2006 09:21 AM

The Monza looks like the drawing we used to do in jr. high TRYING to get the feel of the Daytona.

Looks like some of those same kids wound up in GM's design studios.

Posted by: southtrek at August 3, 2006 09:47 AM

You are probably unaware that many 1975 Monzas had an optional 350cid V-8 and was a Corvette killer priced at $5100. You must know Vega's were routinely raced, right? Anyway, I drove a '75 for 10 years (about $510 a year?) and after adding a Holly carb and Hooker headers, it was a very nice ride. Especially compared to the price af one Ferarri. Chevy was not allowed to put small block V-8's in Monzas after 1976, I think.

Posted by: Chris at April 16, 2007 06:25 PM

Thank you, Chris, but as an aside, it's usually a bad idea to assume the level of knowledge other people might possess. The '75 350 Monza was a California/hi altitude only jobber that had a roaring 125 horsepower. There were two (2) that managed to leave the factory with a 4bbl model of 350 that put out an estimated 140 or so horses. 305s were available for 1976-1979, and they had either 140 or 130 hp. A 262 was available in '75-'76 that made 110 horsepower. The cars weigh around 3,000 pounds, which isn't that chunky, but still there's still not a lot of engine there for that much weight.

Yes, I do know Vegas and Monzas were raced.

I'm also very glad you enjoyed your Monza.

And finally, my point was that the Monza wasn't styled after the Ferrari Daytona, but after the GTC.

Thanks again for stopping by!

Posted by: Terry Oglesby at April 16, 2007 08:33 PM