What Would a Car Designer Sketch if There Were No Rules

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Think all cars look more or less alike? Thank government for that, and then show a little gratitude, because that aesthetic uniformity has saved hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of lives.
The same regulations that helped automotive-related deaths on American roads drop 40 percent from their 1970 levels have also bred a certin sameness. Car design, once a venue for wild personal expression, is now a game of variations on a theme. A combination of aerodynamics requirements, fuel-economy mandates, crash-test standards and even airbags and computer sensors have conspired to create anonymity on dealer lots. Add in bottom-line pressures from corporate taskmasters and you end up with a parade of beige, mass-produced envelopes that can expand or contract to fit two to seven people. Some have roofs, others don’t. Yawn.
But what if a car designer answered to no one? Not a regulator, not an aerodynamicist, not a bean counter… nobody. Would tailfins make a comeback? How about boattail speedsters? What about Talbot-Lago’s famous Teardrop? Would the stylist go Google Car cute or custom-Jeep butch? Would we get The Homer?

The Drive caught up with Alfonso Albaisa, executive design director for Infiniti, to get his take on a pie-in-sky question.

For more on my interview with Alfonso Albaisa at the 2016 Detroit Auto Show, click here. 

Photo By Abigail Bassett

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Abigail Bassett is a full-time freelance journalist, content creator, and television, video, and podcast host whose work has appeared in publications like TechCrunch, Fast Company, Inc. Magazine, Forbes, Fortune, Motor Trend, Shondaland, Money Magazine, and on CNN. Her passion is telling unique stories that change the way we see, interact with, and relate to the world. She is also a Yoga Alliance Registered 500-hour yoga teacher.

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