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Market essentials: Carl Gustav Magnusson, Designer

Swedish-born designer Carl Gustav Magnusson is regarded as one of the world’s foremost industrial designers, and was the Global Design Director at Knoll International for 29 years. Given his impeccable sense of style, we have asked him to select his 10 ideal purchases from the Classic Driver Market…

“None of my choices are particularly popular; they’re often overlooked, but that’s kind of my point,” says Magnusson. Never one to follow the crowd, he owns an Abarth Zagato double-bubble coupé and would be keen to give it some left-field stablemates. “The design of the MG coupé should have taken the tack of the 911: endlessly improve it, and it would still be with us as a great production car.” Meanwhile, Magnusson describes his chosen Facel Vega III as “a beautiful disaster but with memorable attributes”, and also fights the corner of the re-bodied Aston Zagato. “I don't care what other critics think, this re-body is fabulous. One of the reasons some Italian designs are extraordinary is that they were rush jobs not subject to the usual committee filter.” The Caterham would be Magnusson’s track weapon: “At 21,000 euros and only 9,000km, it’s off to the Nordschleife on a budget – the experience would be worth a million bucks!”

He finds the Harley-Davidson racer “a surprising expression of sporting intent by a company best known for making two-wheeled trucks,” and also chooses the Benelli for its “typically Italian madness”. Water-wise, the Einzelbau Runabout would get the nod from Magnusson, while he’d also opt for the Dunhill minaudière: “This superb object of complexity has lost its original functions, which is why it is elevated to art.” His choice of watches could be regarded as art even while remaining fully operational. “The Yachttimer is an excellent machine that is easily readable in bad weather, and can be manipulated even with gloves on in wet, cold circumstances. Meanwhile, with the IWC Kompassuhr, Buzzi Porsche took a very complicated set of components and simplified them, so it could be both elegant and functional. The military green adds to the distinction.”