My Generation: To Buy or Not To Buy, Page 4

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I never thought the GM designers would need to be reminded that first and foremost the Corvette is an AMERICAN CAR and that is big part of its appeal. There is no objection in selling the car worldwide but let’s keep things in perspective, do not compromise the car’s design by modifying or changing its unique character and personality . It works for Harley Davidson. They wouldn’t compromise the unique Harley characteristics just for the sake of trying to  broaden its appeal for a global market. In fact bikers in other countries buy it because of what it is, 100% American. What has defined the Corvette has been its American performance and styling. Trying to redesign the Corvette to be ?everything to the global masses? will kill it, as surely as Hamlet murdered the king.
First, great cars have their own unique personalities and characteristics; personalities and traits that become attached to the car and acquired over time, some performance based and others from certain consistent styling cues and design styles. Think of any great sports car and immediately some of these personality traits and characteristics will come to mind.  For example the Aston Martin has a very unique personality which in many ways mirrors its British heritage: classic styling, the very best materials (especially leather and wood), an impressive racing heritage and uncompromised quality. In short: traditional British elegance and exclusivity. Ferrari emits its own distinctly Italian roots: cutting edge styling, twelve cylinder engine, exquisite engine sounds, outstanding performance, unparalleled race heritage, and sexy styling. Neither of these legendary sports cars compromises its roots but rather capitalize on them. It’s those intrinsic qualities that give each car its very distinct ?character?.
Admittedly these acquired traits and personalities are not as pronounced in Asian cars as they are in European and American cars. Possibly this is the result of inconsistent and rapidly changing styling cues used from one model to another and the warp speed evolving technology which is quickly incorporated into Asian cars. For example, there is very little which ties the new 370 Z to the original 240 Z. Even Nissan design boss, Shiro Nakamura, admits that the new Z isn’t anything like the original  Z-car. He also eludes to the new cars on the drawing board being more reflective of the past Z-cars. He recognizes the importance of getting the ?Z? back to its roots. Not a bad plan, but trying to recapture the characteristics which gave a car its ?roots? is not an easy process, especially since consistency is a key ingredient to establishing the important flavor that give it ?roots?. Once individual, unique styling and performance characteristics are abandoned they are almost impossible to recapture in the short term, especially in the mind of the enthusiast.
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