: Presence ... Some Cars Have It Most Don't



orconn
02-15-10, 03:25 PM
Some cars just have a "presence'" about them that says "I know what I am supposed to be. I may not be the fastest, or the most luxurious, or cost the most but my designers knew what kind of car I should be and designed me to be just such a car." Whether the car is a luxury car, a race car, a performance car or just a people hawler some car designs just make a statement the sums up the cars purpose. As a luxury car the Rolls-Royce Silver Cloud series of the fifties and sixties make it clear they are the epitome! A Ferrari Testa Rosa of the fifties or a Ford GT40 of the sixties leave no doubt as to their ability on the track. Jaguar has been able to produce many beautiful models that have both performance and presence; the E-Type and the XJ6's spring immediately toi mind. Ford made the personnal luxury group with the various Continentals and the better Thunderbird designs. GM made it with some of their Eldorados and in the personal luxury sedan some of the Sevilles.

But it isn't enough for a car just to look the part it must have the performance to back up it's looks with the kind of handling and ride and overall functioning that proves the integrity of the message its' presence conveys. That is the "presence" that one senses after one has driven the car ...... when I get out of the car after having driven it do I feel I had a truly "luxurious" experience as in the case of the R-R Silver Cloud or do I feel the car failed to deliver what it seemed to promise. When one is through experiencing a Land Rover Defender it leaves no doubt that you could off road almost any where and get to where you were going ... and back, if it were at all possible, it definitely has presence. After a fast lap in a GT40 you can say it sure is noisy and crude but it really gets its' job done.

Some cars have presence and some, while very similar, just miss the mark. The 4th generation Seville (92-97) has real "presence" about it, at least in STS form, and somehow its' performance proves out its' appearance as personnal luxury sedan. The fifth series Seville ((98-04) while being a very nice car and undisputedly handling considerable better than its' predecessor doesn't have that essence that makes "presence."

I can't think of a car that is being marketed today that has either the design or performance combination that makes a car have "presence." But I could be wrong, what do you think?

ga_etc
02-16-10, 01:14 AM
I think the new Camaro that kind of presence. Muscular/aggressive look, taught handling, powerful motor. It may not be the "best" muscle car, but you know know the purpose of the car before and after driving it.

Aron9000
02-16-10, 01:15 AM
I can't think of a car that is being marketed today that has either the design or performance combination that makes a car have "presence." But I could be wrong, what do you think?

I think there are lots of cars today that have that certain intangible quality about their design and aesthetic.

Big Mercedes S550 sedans and CL coupes, Chevy Camaro, Ford Flex, Dodge Ram, Dodge Challenger, Audi R8, A8, TT, A4, Nissan Maxima, BMW 3 series, Cadillac CTS variants, Escalade, etc, etc, etc.

Jesda
02-16-10, 01:33 AM
http://www.sunsetclassics.com/1969-jaguar-etype/images/69-jaguar-xke.jpg
Jag E-type has more swagger than it knows what to do with. Its loud, but not boastful or obnoxious. I'd call that presence.

http://files.nireblog.com/blogs3/ilonaszerb/files/aston_martin_rapide_067.jpg
The A-M Rapide is so low and so long that its impossible to miss in a world where new passenger cars are as tall as SUVs.

gdwriter
02-16-10, 01:48 AM
http://www.sunsetclassics.com/1969-jaguar-etype/images/69-jaguar-xke.jpg

Jag E-type has more swagger than it knows what to do with. Its loud, but not boastful or obnoxious. I'd call that presence.

http://www.boston.com/ae/theater_arts/exhibitionist/austin-powers-cocktail-glass-4900072.jpg

I~LUV~Caddys8792
02-16-10, 07:43 AM
The original Dodge Challenger was a car with great presence. It looked more muscular and business like than the '70 Camaro or '70 Mustang, and it was the fastest & most powerful of the three.

I'm sure there are many others too, but I can't think of them at 6:42 AM. :lol:

Stingroo
02-16-10, 08:26 AM
Ford Flex? Really? It looks like a superbox. Meh. The Rapide is sex on wheels though... and heck, wouldn't mind if that raven-haired chick were either. ;)

Submariner409
02-16-10, 08:48 AM
"From those who care enough to send the very best.............." If you're ever lucky enough to drive one of these on a track, do it. Hang the cost. This is the car against which all others were judged for 6 years. The Ford GT-40 has "presence", as in: "Make my day !"

orconn's right, though. Some cars have "presence", most don't. I was fortunate to own a black Jaguar XK140 MC - it had presence, in spades. Believe it or not, I think my Crimson Pearl STS has it also. Different cars, both with that elusive "presence". For your last line, how about a recent Ferrari touring coupe ?? Lamborghini and Bugatti make Darth Vader "look at me" cars. Ferrari makes exquisite machinery.

Sandy
02-16-10, 10:05 AM
To quote Chad:

The original Dodge Challenger was a car with great presence. It looked more muscular and business like than the '70 Camaro or '70 Mustang, and it was the fastest & most powerful of the three.

The exact sentiments can be put towards today's 3 of the same ilk.

'Ya want Presence?? RANGE ROVER DEFENDER !! That will do it.

Stingroo
02-16-10, 10:52 AM
Yeah, when I see a new Challenger all I think of is "Man... that guy must spend thousands in tires from all the fun to be had in that car."

And, IMO (I may be biased here) but I think the 80-92 RWD Broughams have presence in that way. Nothing says "Yeah, I'm awesome" quite like a car that large, to me at least.

Cars also have negative presence though. I know this is being generalized (obviously) but whenever I see a car or truck "chromed out" I always think of someone with more money than sense, and just wonder why these things are on the road. My friend has been trying to convince me for years to accept the "culture" behind the donks (or whatever else they're being called this month), but honestly, I just don't see it.

And ANY Lamborghini fits the "presence" mold. Look down the road, you see a million Hondas/Nissans/Fords/Chevy's, and then out of the blue comes a flourescent orange or green LP640. You look, no matter what you're driving. You look.

orconn
02-16-10, 12:29 PM
We all fault Japanese cars for the "appliance" nature of the apearance and performance. Truth be told the Japanese make some very good cars .... judging from the lauds received on this forum, the Lexus senior cars are paragons of the "luxury" genre. However, from the first Lexus to their present offerings there isn't one that you would say "now that car has presence." So maybe it can be said that what makes us tolerate the foibles of a car with great "presence" is its' ability to visually convey the essence of its' purpose in the automotive world and with the very best to confirm that impression by its' ability to perform the function for which it was designed with the integrity that its' appearance and specification promise.

I may not need or want the attributes that a Land Rover Defender projects, but I can admire the designers' accomplishment of designing a vehicle with "presence." I may need a car to haul a lot of people from place to place, but the "presence " of the early Lincoln Continentals leave me with a desire to join the loughty world where they are at home. The genius of Sir William Lyons, the father of Jaguar design, was in consistantly turning out designs with the height of "presence" and whose cars were and are highly desirable despite fundctional foibles that require extraordinary patience on the part of their owners. The same is true of those Rolls and Mercedes that have become cherished by the connoisseur and admired by most.

I agree that the new crop of descendents of the "pony" cars has more of the desired qualities than we have seen in most of the current offerings. The Aston (Lagonda) Rapide certainly catches and holds my attention (good looking female models or not) while the current crop from Lamborghini and Bugatti do not. The sameness of the general design themes of the market today, and there total reliance on cosmetic embellishment to differentiate one brand from another (it is hard to tell even the nationality, or corporate provenence of most of the cars today without looking for a brand label somewhere on the car).

I have heard it said that the "golden ages" of auto designs with "presence" was the 1930's and the 1960's and while I believe there were some individaul cars of other eras that achieved that status, I don't think other decades produced the same number of truly great designs.

Jesda
02-16-10, 12:49 PM
http://www.niot.net/niot_570/maybach_exelero_niot.net%20%2833%29.jpg
Maybach Exlero

Only one produced. Looks like a longer, lower Lincoln Mark VIII with a dollop of pure evil. From some angles its gimmicky, but from others its dark and mysterious.

orconn
02-16-10, 01:08 PM
http://www.niot.net/niot_570/maybach_exelero_niot.net%20%2833%29.jpg
Maybach Exlero

Only one produced. Looks like a longer, lower Lincoln Mark VIII with a dollop of pure evil. From some angles its gimmicky, but from others its dark and mysterious.

Looks like something that the famous comic book Wall Street Super Hero "El Predicto" would drive. Right up there with the "Batmobile" but more sophisticated. More "car-toonish" than essence of "presence." I will say Mercedes has occasionally been able to come up with cars with presence, the 1930's 540K cabriolet or the 1950's quartet of the the 300S Cabriolet and Coupe and the 190SL and 300SL not to mention the magnificent 600 Grosser limousine of the mid sixties.

gdwriter
02-16-10, 01:35 PM
I would say the '67-'68 Eldorado had presence in spades:

http://realdupont.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/533eldorado1967.jpg

Submariner409
02-16-10, 01:42 PM
Someoe dig up a slew of photos of the REAL Chrysler 300B + series - the 50's and 60's, not the 90's - 00's junk.
www.chrysler300site.com/cgbin/history.cgi

V-Eight
02-16-10, 03:04 PM
I would say the '67-'68 Eldorado had presence in spades:

http://realdupont.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/533eldorado1967.jpg

Definitely one of my favourite Cadillacs of all time. Its only fail it that it was FWD.

Jesda
02-16-10, 03:28 PM
I would say the '67-'68 Eldorado had presence in spades:

http://realdupont.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/533eldorado1967.jpg

BALLER:yup:

orconn
02-16-10, 05:27 PM
The first front wheel drive Eldorados were relatively good handling for their day, as were the Toronados. Their traction in the snow was a real step up as was their resistance to strong cross winds. The rear wheel drive cars of that period were nothing to feel smug about. The advantage of rear wheel drive as opposed to front wheel drive only comes into play when driven more toward the cars limits, as witness the handling of the Audis and Alfa Romeos success in seddan racing on the European circuits. The Eldorado and Toronados of 1966-70 were about as fine "presence" personal luxury cars as could be had in an American car of the sixties. Ford had some great lookers but were let down by porcine handling!

To put the overall performance of the '67-'69 Eldorado in perspective, I was driving my Lamborghini 350 GT on a rather deserted stretch of the Interstate between L.A. and Phoenix in 1968 and cruising along at between !10 and 115 mph when I saw dot appear in my rear view mirror. I kept my eye on the dot as it grew bigger thinking it might be a CHP patrol car. The dot kept getting bigger and bigger until I recognised it as a new Eldorado that was closing on at a steady rate. Quickly the Eldorado pulled even with me in the center passing lane. I could see the driver looked like a middle aged Romano Brassi (the Italian actor) who nodded and proceeded to cruise on off ahead of me doing a good ten miles an hour faster than I was. Could I have out run him in the Lamborghini, you bet, but I was very impressed with the speed and stability of the Eldo!

I~LUV~Caddys8792
02-16-10, 07:14 PM
The early Eldorados looked so awesome. Big, but sharply tailored so they never appeared too whalish or flabby. They just looked downright mean, much like the Mark III-IV-V Lincolns did. They were the perfect mafia cars, especially in black.

A lot of big RWD sedans have presence, atleast to me. The 1977-92 Broughams, and to a lesser extent, the 93-96's had a lot of presence. I never miss one when I see it, especially if it's clean, and they personified the big american luxury car to me, much more so than the Town Cars.

http://a332.g.akamai.net/f/332/936/12h/www.edmunds.com/pictures/VEHICLE/1991/Cadillac/10553/1991.cadillac.brougham.1633-E.jpg
http://a332.g.akamai.net/f/332/936/12h/www.edmunds.com/pictures/VEHICLE/1996/Cadillac/728/1996.cadillac.fleetwood.1647-E.jpg

Another car with a lot of presence is the W140 Mercedes. Much like the Broughams, it's BIG, hard shouldered & full of squared-off lines/hard angles. The W126 has a lot of presence as well, but they're longer and more lithe than the W140, so it doesn't have that big, massive heavy set look to it.
http://a332.g.akamai.net/f/332/936/12h/www.edmunds.com/pictures/VEHICLE/1999/Mercedes-Benz/12389/1999.mercedesbenz.sclass.7298-E.jpg

Any of the big Rolls Royces or Bentleys have presence too, because they're so big, tall & square shouldered, and the name/price adds a lot to it. I don't think that the Maybach 57/62 have that presence that the Phantom/Arnage does, because they look a lot like a "regular" S550, whereas the Rolls or Bentley look unlike anything else.

orconn
02-16-10, 07:52 PM
Eldorados never were popular with Mafiosi; Mafia cars shoulod always be four doors (better ingress and egress for the goons, small rear windows don't facillitate range of fire, the eldo's trunk was too small for more than one body with burial equipment). No, the Sedan de Ville or Fleetwood was much better suited to Mafia use as could be seen on any day in South Philly or the South Jersey suburbs!

Now the '77 to '92 I can personally attest found great favor for made men and their mouth pieces. For many years I had a neighbor who had his black on black Fleetwood Brougham parked at the curb in front of his house with his black suited and tyed driver at his beckin call. The owner of this ensemble was one of the most respected mob attorneys on the West Coast. Apparently a brilliant a brilliant defense attorney with a well known underworld clientelle. I won't mention any names, but you get the picture.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
02-16-10, 07:54 PM
Right, but wouldn't a head of a casino or restaurant chain have an Eldorado/Mark as his personal car?

orconn
02-16-10, 08:09 PM
Yeh, but so did two of my uncles and one was an engineer and the other a professor at USC! One of my mentors also had a white with red interior "67 and she owned many of the post offices in Southern California. A lot of people owned personal luxury coupes in the late sixties and early seventies ... even then people were getting tired of the huge, they were the first step in size reduction which relly got underway in 1976 with the Seville.

LS1Mike
02-16-10, 08:09 PM
http://www.proformancedetailing.com/home/ws6/BrittWS68001.jpg
I could be wrong or just a little bias...but just by looking at that I would think you know it means buisness.(mullet or not.)

It has been said that a Camaro looks like it may come over to beat you up, The Trans Am is already on it's way over to do it.

I~LUV~Caddys8792
02-16-10, 08:15 PM
No, they definitely look mean in black.

hueterm
02-17-10, 01:27 PM
I would say the '67-'68 Eldorado had presence in spades:

http://realdupont.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/01/533eldorado1967.jpg

HELL to the yeah!

Kick94sts
02-17-10, 02:48 PM
I would have to say the styling of the 92-97 sevilles is some of the best to come out of the 90's era of GM cars. Interior is great, exterior is bold. Nice V8 northstar up front. Turning the wrong wheels is it's only downfall (and headgaskets sometimes lol)