Walking around the show floor and discussing various topics with the oft opinionated Chris Bangle opened our eyes to a number of issues currently existing in the automotive design industry. But one such conversation – featured in our earlier Supercars post – really resonated. Have supercars hit a design cul-de-sac?
With the obvious exception of the shooting brake Ferrari FF, the Aventador and Pagani feature the same proportions and cab-forward stance that has been used on exotic supercars dating back to the 1970s. But while the Aventador is a gentle evolution of Donckerwolke’s work, the Pagani pushes the generic sports car aesthetic by employing a multitude of lightweight and high-strength materials into its design.
“Since the 917 we’ve been treated to this sort of proportion,” Bangle said, looking at the car. “There’s been a subtle variation of it on a few and, if anything this is the most automotive looking.”
The Pagani’s design, however, appears to be playing second fiddle to the technological elements required in such a car. It graced the stand as a marvel of what can be done with carbon fiber, aluminum and super steels; the Pagani really is a technological showcase. But ultimately, as Bangle concludes: “This love affair with the plumbing locks you in to where we were in the last century, not where it’s going to go in the future.”
There’s no denying that vehicles which can travel at an alarmingly high rate of speed need to be aerodynamically optimized – and therefore adopt a similar form – but, besides what’s going on technically beneath the skin, there seems to be a lack of true innovation taking place at the supercar level.