2006 Audi TT Special Edition.
I love eating out. Especially at restaurants that have outdoor seating. When I had my dog Yuki, It would be something we both looked forward to, but the additional benefit is that I get to look at cars go by. Any chance I get to look at cars, of any kind or age, is welcomed.
A few days ago, I went to a local Mexican restaurant that faced a busy 6-lane street (US1 in Coral Gables, Florida) and while I was sitting there enjoying the food and the view, I started to realize that I had found a way to point out what I often speak about when it comes to the current state of modern car design. They have never been better, but they seem to all be generic and built with the approach of adjusting details (grill, headlights, tail-lights and such) and not the over-all personality.
While I was facing the street, I had a window of two car-lenghts, and as cars would drive by at about 30 to 40 miles per hour, they would become a bit of a "blur".
This proved to be beneficial. It was this "feature" that separated the "appliances" from the own-able and distinguishable vehicles.
Too many cars today suffer from lack of creativity at worst and "brand engineering" at best. They are boring and hard to distinguish from each other, most, impossible to identify if they didn't have a logo or emblem stuck on them.
I started to recognize a few however that stood on their own (like them or not), but even the ones that were not as desirable, they at least got points for being true to a personality, and enhancing the identifiable aspect of their brand.
This observation is not meant to create a list of best or worst cars, or cars that are popular, best sellers or even high end. For example, I love Audi, but even they fall to the "sedan" template, and when on the streets, while in my view they are the best (along with BMW) they still have a similarity that all sedans have and is perhaps un-avoidable.
Even the Aston Martin V8 Vantage looks similar to the new Jaguar XK (they were both designed by Ian Callum, who directed design at both Jaguar and Aston Martin). And the Tesla Roadster is practically visually identical to the Lotus Elise since they are based on the same vehicle.
The very few illustrated here make my point in a bigger and more removed way and by no means is a complete list.
The first generation is unmistakeable. One of the most beautiful cars out there - still, and the one that put Audi on the "current" map. The second generation TT is a much better car, but does not have the uniqueness of the original.
BMW M Coupe.
I know that I am cheating a bit here, since the last year for this car was 2002, but I assure you that this car is not on the list because I own one. This is one rare beauty (only 690 produced with the S54 engine), but more importantly, it has a very unique footprint.
Chrysler PT Cruiser.
I'm going straight to hell for this one, but while I hate this car, it does get props for an identifiable profile.
Lots of coupes out there, and this one is quick to spot. The current (2010) Mustang is the best one ever, and on April 17, 2009 Ford commemorate the 45th anniversary of the Ford Mustang. More than 9 million Mustangs have been sold since Ford first introduced the iconic pony car in 1964.
A practical category changer and still one out in front when it comes to looks.
This vehicle has gotten an undeserved bad rap in my view. It is proud to be what it is and no one comes even close. We all complaint that cars and trucks look alike... not this one.
The master of off-road vehicles. Lots of fun and very practical, it's been around for 50 years.
Supercars are always desirable, and most of them are easy to spot, but this car has a presence that is just unmatched, and it's a hell of a car.
The best "retro" comeback of all time. When they say it feels like a go-cart, they mean it. I've had two and it is truly fun (too bad the interior looks a bit cheap).
A bit long on the tooth, it it's "evolutionary" design approach means it it well established and easy to recognize.
Toyota FJ Cruiser.
Practically the only new SUV with personality on the market. A very playful profile gives this vehicle a classic yet modern feel.
One of the best selling cars in the history of the automobile You almost don't even need to have your eyes open to see this one.
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