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Which were the most beautiful & ugliest F1/GP cars?


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#1 kryptonite

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 11:38

At the beginning of every season, we faithfully download .pdf files to figure out what the season's regulations really mean. We read them carefully. And come away wondering which of the two is more difficult - understanding the new regulations, or taking the double left-hander at Pouhon without lifting off?

Well, this year, I was pretty convinced that Bernie and Co. had successfully managed a set of rules that would ensure that all F1 cars looked like they came out of the same cookie-cutter. But boy, was I wrong!

Qualifying in Melbourne, and what do we see? Beautifully sculpted side pods segueing into a profusion of winglets. Pardon me, but didn't everyone and their grandmoms climb all over the poor Arrows team a few years ago in Monaco for two innocent winglets on their side pods?

And hello? Has Kimi finally managed to convince his aero guys to pay tribute to those brave Norsemen of yore? Well, that air-box mounted McLaren mid wing does bear an uncanny resemblance to a Viking helmet.

All this careful scrutiny of the pics from Melbourne got me thinking. :clap: What if we were to look at all the cars in F1 starting with the seventies, and do a beauty and beast rating? Wicked!

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#2 BRG

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 12:12

For my taste, the BRM P160 is probably the best looking F1 car ever.

I'm going to break your rules and offer the Ferguson 4WD F1 car as the ugliest of all time.

#3 D-Type

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 12:13

Why start with the seventies?

That rules out the two most attractive F1 cars ever - the 1968 Eagle and the 1961 Lotus 21. And the two versions of the 1954-55 Mercedes W196 - surely beauty and the beast?

And why limit it to Formula 1?

From pre-Formula 1 we have the 1920's Voisin. Surely the ugliest ever. What about the Miller 91. One of the prettiest ever. (Yes in addition to Indianapolis and other US races it did run in Grands Prix)

And from Indianapolis we have countless lovely cars and some absolute dogs!

#4 kryptonite

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 12:37

Hey D-Type,

I am not so knowledgeable about non-F1 cars. However, thanks for the info. Let me do some reasearch online and see the bueaties and the dogs.

#5 Rosemayer

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 17:02

Beautiful.

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Not so pretty.

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#6 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 18:05

I'm torn between the Lotus 79 or the 91 as the best looking, as for the worst the list is large!!! but the Ensign MN1, Tecno PA123, March 721X (I think that was the one, Lauda hated it too) Lotus 77, Eifeland, Brabham BT37, etc etc, but I'm a picky bugger!!!! But my fvourite car ever is the Tyrrell 006/2, not a looker either, so go figure!

#7 Reyna

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 18:09

Beautiful: Wolf WR1 and McLaren M9A.

Ugly: Ferrari 312 B3 "Spazzaneve"

#8 f1steveuk

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 18:17

Ah the WR1, actually you'd have trouble picking just one good looking car, I'd have trouble reducing my list to 10, there have been so many good looking cars

#9 Stephen W

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 18:23

Originally posted by Reyna
Beautiful: Wolf WR1 and McLaren M9A.

Ugly: Ferrari 312 B3 "Spazzaneve"


I totally agree w.r.t. the Ugly Bug that was the 312 B3

However I personally would not put either the Wolf WR1 or the McLaren M9A in my list of Beautiful F1 cars.

My Beauties would have to be from the 70s

1) Lotus 79
2) Ferrari 312 T2
3) BRM P153
4) Brabham BT44

:cool:

#10 Gary C

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 18:46

the Lotus 72 !!!!

#11 Gary C

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 18:56

of course, along with ........the Lotus 49 (pre-wings), Lotus 79, McLaren M19A, sharknose Ferrari and yes, the BRM P160 as best looking cars

#12 MCS

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 19:01

Haven't we been here before quite recently? Well, at least in terms of the ugliest F1 car...

Mark

#13 ensign14

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 19:07

Best looking F1 car ever IMO was the Scarab. Gorgeous lines, iridescent paint job...wonderful. Had it gone as well as it looked we would not be talking about Ferrari domination.

Since 1970...Lotus 79.

Ugliest ever was the March 711.

#14 Frank S

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 19:45

Hmph.

Cars is cars. Some are beautiful, some pug-ugly. Really.

But how about drivers?

Who was—or is—the most beautiful racing driver, any continent, any category, any sex?

--
Frank S

No, I'm not ashamed.

#15 ensign14

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 19:48

Christabel Carlisle.

#16 jcbc3

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 19:51

me

#17 TooTall

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 19:52

Danica Patrick has rekindled my interest in the IRL series.

#18 billthekat

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 20:25

The Maserati 250F/1 in its 1954 form has alway been my personal favorite, but even those inflicted with the ungainly Centro Sud modifications are still light-years ahead of about 98% of the cars ever fielded. The 1970s ushered in the era of entire grids filled with butt-ugly GP cars which is my comment on the topic at hand. Perhaps the last GP car that might be called actually attractive was the Gurney Eagle in its 1966 and 1967 form. Indeed, perhaps the only really attractive open-wheeled racing car produced since the start of the 1970s was the Gurney Eagle 72 series.....

#19 Twin Window

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 21:27

While I'm certain that this isn't the first thread broaching this subject, it's fascinating nevertheless.

Rather like the 'one man's meat...' philosophy, isn't it!

Personally, I can almost sub-catagorise designs into 'beauties' and 'horny'.

The Ford F3L has - to my mind - got to be one of the finest shapes ever to have wheels underneath it. Porsche 917s are there too...

The last F1 car which has an almost timeless attraction, for me, is the Jordan 191.

But, hey - there are so many more I could site as 'horny'!

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#20 LB

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 21:50

Originally posted by Twin Window

The last F1 car which has an almost timeless attraction, for me, is the Jordan 191.


Dammit beaten again....The last really good looking F1 car, mind you I love the McLaren's paint job these days. The Jordan was even better prepainted as seen in Autosport.

Lotus 72 obviously, pretty much anything with a Parmelat paint job as well (except the liedown Brabham)

Ugly?
Teapot Ligier
Eifelland
6 wheeled Tyrell, sorry but it was..

#21 Twin Window

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 22:03

Yeah, the Lotus 72. Like you say; obviously. :up:

Honestly, I don't know where to start on either count! Something else which is an intrinsic element for me is the sound of the machinery... A good example would be the Matra MS120 series, which admittedly weren't 'lookers' but - and I defy anyone to argue against this - they were one of THE horniest-sounding racing cars ever.

#22 Ruairidh

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 22:22

Lotus 79 as the prettiest (closely followed by the Lotus 25-33)

Lotus Types 92/93T as the ugliest (although a bunch of the early '70s shed cars like the Lyncar, Token or Amon come close).

P.S. jcbc3 - I like your avatar!!!

#23 Wolf

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 22:33

Billthekat, I was beginning to lose hope of finding a 'soulmate' in respect of 250F- most people I have spoken to prefer latter versions. :up: Admittedly, Eagle with enclosed engine (1966 with Climax) is a bit on the odd side of things, but 1967 car's looks are immaculate.

As for '70-ies cars, I also more or less share the opinion. However, March 711 holds some strange appeal, in a way similar to his 'grand-dad' Vanwall. Yet, some of the '70ies cars are strangely/freakishly beautiful (BT44 in its original guise, Arrows A2, early Tyrells, &c).

#24 Bonde

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Posted 31 March 2005 - 23:19

A "fluffy" subject perhaps, but one that always inspires strong viewpoints. So, I can't resist either. Sorry.

It appears to me that the era where one first fell in love with racing has a considerable impact on how one judges the the appearance of the cars. As with driver talent, it is, IMO, basically an exercise in futility to compare across eras.

And what is beauty? Must asthetics be graceful, ballarina like, or can they be simple, brutal, practical elegance and still appeal?

Would it, from a racer's perspective, not suffice to say that the beatiful cars are the cars that won races, and the ugly ones the cars that did not win races?

Many 'go-faster' bits that actually worked have throughout history not bestowed the lucky car to receive them with added beauty - on the contrary. Are fat tyres pretty? Hardly. Are wings? Nope. DO they appeal to a lot of people? Yes. They look 'racey'.

Then again, maybe it isn't that simple. Maybe motor racing is, to me at least, about more than winning (which probably goes a long way to explain why I would never be considered a racer) - it is also a spectacular endeavor with appeal to all the senses. And let's face an ugly truth - funding of motor sports also depends on its ability to entertain - even if shaped ugly, racing cars are still expected to be well-presented, unless we're looking at demolition derby bangers or such like. Current US dirt-track cars with their mix of old and new, asymmetry and monster ugly wings are aesthetic disasters, but still appeal in some pervese way - and they tend to be very well presented, too (before the race, anyway).

Sticking to open-wheelers:

Aesthetically, I find the the macho brutes of the pre-WW I era appealing; the Duesenbergs and Millers of the Indy era prior to the 'Junk Formula' era I find just soooo pretty; the Mercedes and Bugattis, Auto-Union (C-Type) of the thirties combine functionality with aesthetic appeal from different approaches; the Scarab, Dino 246 and Lotus 16 were each the icing on the old front engined cake in different ways; the original Lotus 25 (skinny 15" wheels, type 21 screen, needle nose, faired-in tail) is to me the prettiest racing car of any period; the BRM P261 not far off; the otherwise rather bulky Eagle scores by its presentation, the looks of its engine and exhausts, and that 'beak' detail; the Lotus 56 was perhaps the cleanest, basic shape to race; the 72 inherited the format for F1; the BRM P160 showed that gentle curves and straight lines could still be combined beautifully; 312T and BT44 confirmed it; Lotus 79 integrated function and shape in a homegenenous way not seen since the 56; BT49 did it again in Murray's strict but elegant geometrical style; BT52 did the same, but with better proportions; Jordan 191 just happened to get everything right with what was available at the time.

My list of ugly racing cars cars is by far the longer one, but for some reason I find a lot of the really ugly ones just as appealing, maybe because a lot of them are just different or original; this pretty much applies to all 1970's cars - and then there are those that I just feel indifferent about: For instance, the 250F: Classic slipper shape, yes, but it just seems too bulky relative to its wheels, and all those louvers look like a rash; M19 is similar in concept to the P160, but somehow gets both proportions and details wrong - to me, it just looks bloated. And so on.

The slipper shape up to and including the 1950s has its own intrinsic beauty, the cigar shape og the 1960s even more so (if one forgives the shape its propensity to generate lift at speed) - the 1960's cigar shape was just so clean and neat. The 1970s were characterized by variation and originality - few were pretty, most were an aesthetic mess but virtually all were interesting visually. For a short while ground effects and its after effects brought some elegeant simplicity back, soon to fall by the bargeboard, winglets and, IMHO, the worst design eye sore of all: The raised nose with underslung front wing. I may be an old f@rt, but I just can't find any way to enjoy the looks of the current cars. Spectacularly beautiful composite compound curvature shapes and exquisite workmanship, yes, but overall aesthetic appeal? Sorry, I just can't see it. I find the Tecno PA123 less ugly than any current F1 car, what with all the fins and protrusions and bits of the current F1 car making it look like some monster that has escaped from the deep seas...

Rant over.

PS: Maybe one of the reasons the Tecno appeals to me was its sound: It was just such a LOUD and metallic wail. Sat opposite the pits at Zolder in 73 (when Amon scored his point!), everyone's hands would come up to cover their ears shortly before Chris was expected to appear...and in Sweden in 1977 you could audibly follow Lafferty's Matra engine all around the track over the din of everyone else. Absolutely spine-tingling. Like Twinny said - 'Horny'.

#25 smithy

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 01:17

Someone above beat me to it - the Ligier Teapot :eek: Good Lord, what were they thinking? The March Tea Tray (what is it about Tea?) was pretty awful as well.

#26 stuartbrs

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 01:19

Just about finished building the Tamiya 1/20 McLaren MP4/5 and I must say, its certainly a looker..so clean, never really liked it when it was racing but the model is gorgeous..

Next up is another of my favourites, the Tamiya 1/12 Ferrari 641.. beautiful car and superb model..

My old man loves the 72 and 49, but he saw the McLaren sitting on my desk and commented on how "good looking Grand Prix cars looked back then" and lammented on the butt ugly cars of today... the funny things is, "back then" when that McLaren was running, dad always whinged about how "butt ugly" they were!!

#27 antonvrs

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 01:38

When they started sprouting wings, they lost me.
I think the first one that really GOT me was the late '40s-1951 Talbot GP. The big wheels/tires, interesting air intake, big curvy outside exhaust pipes and the big headrest and pointy tail- God, that was a bitchin' looking RACE CAR!
The T59 Bug, unsuccessful though it was, was probably the most esthetically pleasing of classical era.
Gurney's Eagles in '67/68 are my favorites of modern era. Shortly after that they all grew wings and it's been downhill since.
I guess it's what you see when you come out of the egg.
Anton

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#28 antonvrs

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 01:42

Wrong pic. This is the one I wanted to post.
Anton

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#29 David Hyland

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 03:07

Hi kryptonite,

Here are some similar/related earlier TNF threads you may find interesting:
Favourite Car
Okay, your favourite/least favourite cars
Favorite race car,engine and driver
Ugly modern F1
Your three most beautiful racing or sports cars from the '60s and '70s
Most beautiful Ferrari
What a racing car should not look like...

David.

#30 rookie

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 04:39

One i really liked - the 95 ferrari, 412T2

One i didnt like - the 78 williams fw06, with the square mesh thing in the nose cone...

honurable mention to 97 jordan 197 for good looks.

#31 ian senior

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 07:34

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and all that kind of stuff, so I guess we may never reach a concensus on something which is very subjective. Having given the lecture, I think there are a few rules about beauty that apply throughout the generations - the proportions must be right, and all the details must be in scale with the others. A basic purity of shape is desirable, and there should be no fussy add-ons. Fashion, of course, does not come into it.

So - that more or less counts out most F1 cars from the 70s onwards. At this time, cars started to look "interesting" rather than beautiful, although some of these "interesting" cars were more pleasing to the eye than others. I'll say that all Tyrrells up to the 007 were ugly sods, very effective racing cars but complete dogs in the looks department - such a clash of curves and angles. I thought the March 711 was a joke when I first saw it, but then I learned about Frank Costin and changed my opinions. BRM got it right - the P153 and P160 were truly lovely, the P201 was one of the better looking "interesting" cars. And if we are allowed to go down a Formula or two, clock the Chevron B18. No wonder they didn't sell many - it must have frightened the customers away.

I couldn't say which is my favourite of all time - it's like trying to nominate my favourite album, my opinion changes with my mood. But I do have a soft spot for the BRM P25 in its original form - so neat.

#32 Hank the Deuce

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 11:08

For mine, the Lotus 78 & 79 were breathtaking. Loved FW07... might be an Aussie thing though...

and Lauda's final championship winning MP4/whatever it was.

#33 petefenelon

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 13:21

The good old Theodore TY-01....

http://www.f1technic...eodoreTY01.html

Always been a non-favourite of mine....

#34 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 13:27

I am with you all on the 'pretty cars' P160, Lotus 56/72, eagle, shark nose Ferrari etc, but I cant agree with any of you about your 'ugly' choices, except the Chevron F2 car.
The March 711 tea tray was gorgeous, and I really liked the Amon F101, and the Ligier teapot, whilst unusual was a magnificently individual car with a great paint job (and not bad out of the box either), I loved the Spazzenova Ferrari and the MN01 Ensign.
The Hill Lolas were pretty ugly, the (old) ATS, Merzario, Hesketh 308a, Cooper Maserati or any car specially modified for Monaco, all Benettons - pretty much any F1 car made after the first Jordan and Alesi's Tyrell were pig ugly to me. The high fronts low wing is aestetically offensive, as are those silly cars with anarrow track grooved tyres.
They are just an abomination of regulations, not the free spirited and wonderful shapes we used to see. Or am I just old?

#35 ian senior

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 13:30

Originally posted by petefenelon
The good old Theodore TY-01....

http://www.f1technic...eodoreTY01.html

Always been a non-favourite of mine....


A gem (not), but gorgeous when compared with the 1979 Ensign - can't remember the type number, but you know the one I mean - the one with the radiators running from the front of the nosecone to the top of the cockpit.

#36 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 14:10

Talking of pretty cars what about that early P160 posted on the Ontario Speedway thread, the spun alloy(?) rear wheels are just fantastic, but to me the 160 only got sreiosly pretty when they changed the front wheels and put the shovel nose on, they even remained pretty right to the end as seen on the Migault thread.

#37 Huw Jadvantich

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 14:15

Yes you are right about that Ensign, reminded me of an old F5000 Kitchener.

#38 Mallory Dan

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 15:30

Or the 792... haven't we been exactly here before chaps.

Anyone got any good new threads ?????????????

#39 man

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 15:59

I don't believe there is anything that can match the proportions of the 1987 + 1988 Ferrari's.

Dont think there is such thing as a beast, because each car has connotations with a unique history, giving it character. Having said that, post 1992 cars hold very little visual interest to me.

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#40 Macca

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 16:21

Yes, we've been here several times before.

But there are quite a few cars where the colour scheme is part of the attraction/repulsion.....Motor Sport did an article on that recently, slanted towards sponsors' schemes.

Some cars looked just plain good/bad whatever colour/sponsor scheme they were in, others were dependent on the scheme - discuss!

Would the Eagle-Weslake have been as :love: in BRG or red?

:


Paul M

#41 Ivan

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 16:56

I think it would have been ok in BRG. I personally can't stand the colour red for cars.

#42 Spitfire

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 17:07

Eagle, Ferrari 312B1, Lotus 79, Shadow DN3, all make my list. . . and I thought all hope was lost until this arrived:
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#43 ensign14

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 17:10

Originally posted by Macca
Would the Eagle-Weslake have been as :love: in BRG or red?

Well, if you go for royal blue as your main colour, you can't really go wrong.

#44 Macca

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 17:23

But not claret, hmmm?

:p

Paul M

#45 Barry Boor

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 18:25

Well, if you go for royal blue as your main colour, you can't really go wrong.



Spot on, Ens. :up:

#46 Barry Boor

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 19:53

Sorry, David, you've lost me with that one..... :confused:

#47 Barry Boor

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 20:06

The Yob Sport? No, not rugby - soccer.

#48 ensign14

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Posted 01 April 2005 - 20:34

The Beautiful Game. Certainly was at St Andrews on 20 March this year.

See, that's where Premier GP went wrong.

#49 Ruairidh

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 01:19

Originally posted by man


Dont think there is such thing as a beast, because each car has connotations with a unique history, giving it character. Having said that, post 1992 cars hold very little visual interest to me.


nah, thats way too PC for me. There have been some pig-ugly cars - connotations be darned.

But it does raise an interesting side point - which cars were designed to be ugly?

DCN in Theme Lotus captions a picture of the "Buxom Beauty" 91 with the comment that the 91 was "so attractive in its rolled edges and gentle curves that Colin Chapman seemed rather put out by it all and insisted upon a more razor-edged and ugly form in the subsequent 92/93T cars...."

Any others come to mind? Ron Tauranac's cars from 1970 on perhaps?

#50 Andrew Fellowes

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Posted 02 April 2005 - 05:32

I see the 250F has taken a couple of votes, OK its a classic but isnt the 4CLT San Remo just that little bit more... interesting? I'm not sure thats the word I really want but it'll do.