What are the concours classics of tomorrow? Three design chiefs speak out
What are the characteristics that will lead to a modern automobile being revered in the way that a Ferrari 250 GTO or Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing is today?
In 60 years’ time, will we see a Bugatti Veyron or Aston Martin One-77 vie for the title of ‘Best of Show’ at the automotive beauty contests in Villa d’Este or Pebble Beach? What are the characteristics that will lead to a modern automobile being revered as an icon, in the way that a Ferrari 250 GTO or Mercedes-Benz 300 SL Gullwing is today? These were the key issues discussed at the 2015 Credit Suisse Classic Car Forum in Pebble Beach.
The key to success
All three designers were unanimous in their opinion that while there’s no cut-and-dried answer to the question, correct aesthetics could well be the only key to success. Marek Reichman of Aston Martin was convinced that in 20 to 40 years’ time, modern supercars such as the Aston Martin One-77 and Bugatti Veyron will be considered real classics. According to Reichman, it is always the cars that young people have admired while they are growing up that become desirable classics in later years.
Each generation has its dream cars
Bugatti designer Achim Anscheidt agreed, citing the fact that every generation has its dream cars – and the older you get, the more you rave about them. But Anscheidt went a step further, suggesting that at a concours in the year 2075, you might see a well-designed ‘daily driver’ such as the current BMW 5 Series. The Bugatti designer also sees an opportunity for luxury SUVs from Lagonda, Lamborghini, Bentley or Rolls-Royce to one day sit on a concours lawn.
It's only a question of time
Meanwhile, a question from the audience asked whether modern cars really have a long-term future as classics, given the use of electronics and technology: problems that you don’t have with an Aston Martin DB5 or Bugatti Type 35. This question was clearly answered by all panellists with a firm “Yes”. Louis Fabribeckers, Achim Anscheidt and Marek Reichman all stated their conviction that restorers will adapt to new circumstances. The main challenge, they believe, is in creating a timeless design with a beauty that will be appreciated by future generations. Whether the designers of our time are up to this task, only the future will tell.
Photos: Dominic Frase