“The most beautiful car in the world” and “the most beautiful car ever made” are two variations of a quote attributed to il Commendatore, Enzo Ferrari. From the man whose name graces what many would consider the sexiest and most beautiful cars ever made, you would expect this praise to be about something penned by a name like Pininfarina, Scaglietti, or Bizzarrini.
Nope. The designer was a bloke from Norfolk named Malcom Sayer, whose work at Jaguar shaped the C-Type, D-Type, XJ13, and the car you see here: the E-Type, also known as XK-E in North America. Although, I would like to point out that I suspect Mr. Ferrari was talking about the MkI version of the car, which featured lovely headlight covers and a dainty front end. However, the MkII you see here was at least more true to form than the MkIII, which featured an even larger front grille opening than the MkII, plus ungainly fender flares and a host of other ugly details. At least that one got a V12.
People complain a lot about the design of modern cars, and they usually have a point. Modern cars are designed as much by a wind tunnel and safety regulations as they are by an artist’s imagination.
But you know what I say to that? Not everything can be an E-Type.
Which means that not every car can be the most beautiful car in the world. People criticize modern cars as if they should be as beautiful and delicate as an E-Type or Ferrari 275 or Miura, which makes no sense. What I consider a really great looking modern car, like the kouki Subaru BRZ you see here, might not really be “beautiful” in the traditional sense of the word, but I still think it looks very cool in a different and modern way.
Not everything can be an E-Type, even low-slung sports coupés. Don’t get stuck into one idea of beauty, because there are legal reasons (mostly related to safety) that many design aspects will never see the light of day again. Instead of pronouncing everything made after 1967 (the first year the USA’s National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act was in effect) to be garbage, let’s consider modern design in the context of when it was designed and released.
Because not everything can be an E-Type.
Cupertino, California. 7 AM.
Being just a couple days after the summer solstice, it was already warm, bright, and sunny when we met up to begin our trek over the Santa Cruz mountains.
But once we cleared those mountains and arrived at the ocean, it was refreshingly cool with a thin layer of fog.
Apparently Lloyd got a Nomad, and this was my first time seeing it.
Pretty serious business in there.
No big deal, just a 250 GT Lusso. This car actually sees regular road use, as it should be. If you have a Ferrari, drive it! Be like this guy!
Warren brought out a cool ’78 Vanagon Westfalia, which is unfortunately automatic. Talk about a slow bro. And that’s Bryan’s new DWA Project Car E46 as well.
In concept, the roof stripes on the Cayman seem like they would be super obvious because they are close to your eye level. In reality, you don’t even notice them until someone points them out.
The FWD monster. Rob has built his EP3 into a full-blooded Civic Type R clone. Not only does he have the CTR goodies on the outside, and the suspension, and the staggered wheel setup with R-comps, and a gutted interior with cage and buckets…he just got done with a K20A2 Type R swap as well, so now it has the power to match the aggressive looks. He’s at the track every month too, so it’s pretty much a home run in my book.
It’s not all super racer bois either; check out this pair of clean Z’s.
Tim was there in his E30 sedan, with his little doggie in tow but also…
The E30 Car Bar! On this occasion it looks to be serving up mimosas, a fine choice for a cool morning. All manner of spirits and brews have been seen in the trunk of this car; many good times have been had at ye olde E30 Car Bar.
DWA meets always seem to attract a cool variety of cars.
You don’t see lame, generic late model stuff here (I parked my BRZ on the street!).
Even if you do see new sports cars, you just make different assumptions. I didn’t meet the owner of this Guards Red GT3 Touring, but among the DWA crew I tend to think “ultimate sports car” rather than “Resale Red poseur” like you would at the Treasure Island or Santana Row meets.
Of course, no one could be more of the opposite of a poser than Gen, who drives this ’73 RS and everything else he owns The Way God Intended. “Good Pace”, indeed.
Drew rolled in with the freshly fixed Nordica Volvo V90, aka VOLOLVO, but unfortunately, he was out-Volvo’d.
By this AWESOME rally-spec 242 that approximately everyone at the meet pictured themselves chucking sideways with a huge armful of counter-steer and smashing of rev limiter. Sadly, I wasn’t able to get any other shots of it. There were people around it every time I checked back on it, although I did get a shot of it leaving:
Remember when BMW’s looked good?
I’m not trying to comment on the state of modern car design, just pointing out that older BMW’s (especially with non-US spec bumpers and lights) were truly beautiful vehicles.
There’s something about the humanism of round headlights that we’re missing these days in automotive design. Everything nowadays looks a bit…squinty.
Renault 2CV’s are just fascinating. FWD and air-cooled, with pretty much the bare minimum of power to get you down the road.
There were a few notable cars in the overflow lot, like Peter’s 993.
BMW’s seemed to rule this meeting, although there was a pretty wide variety of different models out there.
But again, DWA is all about variety. That’s what makes these meets fun.
This is just pure sex on wheels. I love these slightly later Alfas (as opposed to the earlier “step nose”), and the colors and quality of this one were just out of this world.
And of course, that lovely Alfa engine is paired with twin Webers.
The 510 next to it was no slouch either.
Carbs and exhaust on the same side and single cam are all detractors, but at least the oil change is easy!
Ruben showed up in his GT3 RS.
And a couple friends also drove his 964 out as well.
My favorite color for the Nissan Figaro. What a quirky, amazing car.
The 250 GT Lusso got its fair share of attention, as you would expect from one of the most beautiful cars ever made, which is worth more money than every single other car that showed up to the meet combined.
But I also managed to capture this moment where it was just another car. A crowd of people who couldn’t be arsed about a $20 million classic Ferrari.
Another classic Ferrari showed up, this highly regarded 308 GT4. Apparently these are a much better driving experience than the more beloved 308 GTB that Tom Selleck drove in Magnum P.I.
Why does this look work in a way that it never would on a modern sports car, like perhaps a 350Z or BRZ? Do the modern cars just need more time to age to this level, or is there something special about that particular era of the 70’s and earlier that lends itself to this aesthetic?
Two ways to camp very, very slowly. Despite my love of JDM and manual transmissions, I think I’d pick the Vanagon in this showdown.
Man, the USA was really saddled with horrible bumpers that ruined the lines of beautiful cars. It’s amazing how much better an E28 looks with “Euro” lights and bumpers.
Now here is a super rare sight: a Renault A110!
And it was red, when it almost seems like they only made them in blue.
Art sold his B5 S4 on Bring a Trailer, and it went for a fair price. Not a steal for the winning bidder, and not really a great result for the seller. Goes to show that not everything on BaT is overpriced and overhyped. Although, does it show that BaT is getting oversaturated? Are people keeping up with the non-stop barrage of auctions they post now?
At these meets, there’s a tipping point where a mass exodus happens. Personally, I would want to take this energy into a drive that leads to lunchtime, but I had to go to work. Hey, it’s a weekend after all. Stay safe out there.
|tommyfyeah on Dad Car|
|tokyorad on EASY Does It — Emeryvill…|
|Jordi Fortuño on Make It Your Own: Art’s…|
|hushypushy on Make It Your Own: Art’s…|
|Jordi Fortuño on Make It Your Own: Art’s…|