December 07, 2019 By Carl S. Cunanan

Editor’s Note

How did we get here, and where are we headed next?

On our cover is an SUV that’s a coupe. And it’s not the first. And it is not the most unusual configuration of an SUV either. I thought convertible SUVs were rather off until someone reminded me about the basic jeeps. So we need to stop thinking the way we used to. Also, with the way the world is in terms of addressing more specific needs and desires in order to woo a consumer that demands individuality in an increasingly templated world (all our phones pretty much look alike), many companies need to specifically target consumer needs and wants. Not necessarily a bad thing. Might actually be good.

Many years ago, we set up a photo shoot that happened to combine a set of classic American muscle cars for one session and a set of modern European sedans for the next. As our pro photogs went around their business, I planted myself in a field where all the cars would pass, and where I would be out of frame for the pros, to work on my panning shots. As the cars began to drive by and I saw silhouette after silhouette frozen in my viewfinder, I began to realize something. All the old cars were different, and all the new ones looked pretty much the same.

This makes sense of course, aerodynamics are far more understood now, and there are physical realities that need to be addressed. Still though, the differences were really getting down to the details. I used to wonder who in the world would buy an SUV that was just sleeker? After all, they wanted the truck in the first place, right? Wrong. Perhaps more than ever, expression of self is important. And thankfully, we are seeing more than just visual differences.

All this happens, of course, within templates. Cars and car design and production have needed to become more modular to be able to become more flexible and more viable. Building in templates, in turn, allows certain play. Some cars are designed for different body styles to be able to be used with ease. Some are designed only to use certain engine sizes, which in turn allows the use of different and sometimes refreshing shaping and space use. One of the most interesting things about the use of differently positioned electric motors, for example, is that you have tremendous flexibility of design and then, use. And weight distribution.

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