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New Fiat 500. Below : Vintage Fiat 500 Deluxe


The expert’s view


DURING MY research for this article, I had the chance to interview Frank Stephenson, now the McLaren Automotive Design Director, and also responsible for both the re-born Mini and the Fiat 500. He told me: “I’m not too keen on looking back. Referencing the past is one thing, but to do it in the way Prince Charles is suggesting with architecture – just replicating the past – with car design it is simply wrong. Design should be relevant and reflect the zeitgeist. “I approached the Mini project in a logical


way by asking myself the question: ‘What would it look like as it grew older?’. It was an advanced design on the original Mini. The problem I have with both these cars is that although they are referencing their iconic fathers well, due to safety regulations and so on, cars are simply bulkier now and in the case of these two the proportions don’t necessarily work. They’ve ended up looking cute rather than cool. “If there is heritage, then it should be


referenced, but only referenced and done in a way that is relevant to today and also responds to current trends and needs. Some brands are privileged to have a rich history that they can tap into, but new brands should find their own voice and play with a modern identity, which can be just as exciting.”


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October/November 2011 businesslife.co 65 Lifeforliving.banner.indd 1 28/7/09 19:07:11


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