Change has always been the only constant. Back then, when carriages were pulled by ponies, the change took its time to come around. But these days, when a king’s entire cavalry could hide under the hood, change comes fast, pretty fast. Cars that would have a louvre changed in a decade now have to be updated almost every three years. It is a compulsion driven by technology which ensures creation of a paradigm shift that has to be scaled.
Car makers are then caught in the need to make sure the market knows that their car is now up-to-date by tweaking the fascia or building an entirely new car altogether. Caught in collateral are the looks. While the engineers and designers wear their soles off, sometimes, it just refuses to come together. And that is where the old wisdom ‘don’t fix it if it ain’t broke’ peeks out to say hi. So we bring to you a list of cars across the eras, across the globe and across strata that simply missed the bus.
Who doesn’t love the Mustang? That pony has been etched in our hearts since 1964. After a bad time in the 80s, the Mustang resurrected itself with the modern times. The 2015 Mustang turned out to be the most beautiful of the recent times. But then, the annual tinkering got the better of it. What wanted to give the Mustang are hunkered more aggressive face makes look it more like a Focus RS. The high grille has gone lower trading muscle for sportiness. May be they should have left it the way it was and with the aura around that mane – it would still sell.
This ideally had to be the top of the list. The SLK in the early 2000s was a timeless design. The Formula 1 inspired pointed nose, the swept back twin fused headlamps was racy. The hunkered look with the convertible hard-top the flowing lines were just perfect. But then, Mercedes decided to go with the family face for drop-top two seater. The square face with rectangular headlamps is no doubt good, but nowhere close to the McLaren inspired design with the three-pointed star embedded in the grille.
The Lancia Delta ruled the World Rally Championship in the late 80s and the early 90s. The boxy hatchback with its rectangular fascia was classic. The flared wheel arches made to include the large racing wheels added plenty of muscle. It was practical as well with its four doors and the sloping roofline adding oodles of sportiness. And then came the 1994 design. The squared edges were rounded off and the C-pillar got more rake. It should have worked adding more sportiness to the car, but, it lost its charm in the process. It was a blessing in disguise that the new generation car was never actually built.
Maruti Suzuki Zen
Coming close to home, we have our own Maruti Suzuki Zen. The puny little hatch has achieved cult status with its rev happy engine, low centre of gravity and the dynamics of a gymnast. Come 1999, Maruti Suzuki decided to add a dose of classic flair. The chrome garnished fascia could have probably looked good on a sedan. But on this puny little hatch, it was just overkill – just too much make-up for that little pocket rocket to carry.
The Verna was the first premium sedan from the Korean car maker in India. It was those times when Hyundai was reinventing itself from the era of design-inspirations and had started working on fresh drawing boards. But before they sketched the first of their fluidic designs, the bug-eyed Verna was up for an update. It got a twin-slat grille, aggressive bumpers, reworked tail lamps constituting an overall fresh design aimed at making it sporty. What came out looked like a cat-fish – an all aggressive face with a plump body, naturally it tanked until Hyundai got the fluidic Verna.