Beauty is subjective, especially when looking at cars. A Mercedes SLR or Porsche 911 Carrera GT3 would certainly win many automotive beauty contests and most people would agree. After all, sales of the $495,000 SLR held steady last month, while the $112,200 GT3 gained 17.8% over the same period in 2008.
But for anyone who thinks those cars represent all that’s beautiful in the world, others think they look anemic or angular. So what constitutes true beauty?
Certainly not production levels or price, auto experts say. Instead, if the car has an undeniable energy that, frankly, can make even Vladimir Lenin who drove a Rolls-Royce exude seduction from the driver’s seat, then that’s the disarming allure to which car designers aspire, says Quentin Willson, a former host on Top Gear, a car-themed TV show on the BBC.
“These cars are the easiest way to make yourself 150% more attractive,” says Willson, who has written several books about classic and sports cars. “You just sit behind the wheel and radiate this message of casual carelessness.” A model that produces such an effect for Willson is the Jaguar E-Type 3.8 FHC, a swooping bullet with recessed headlights and a beguiling front grill.
“If you look at it from the back, it’s got a pinched waist and thin little tires, and it looks like a woman sashaying along in high heels,” Willson says. “ The front headlights are like the magenta-bladed fingers of a woman–they’re in the shape of fingernails. It’s just all curvy and haunchy and muscular and tense and has this wonderful flow to the body.”