Almost since the beginning, a classic car has been associated with art. The mere design of each year’s new models is a reflection of the time. Some designers push the envelope and break the mold of the convention to design something that is timeless or futuristic. The Auto Photo exhibition, hosted by Fondation Cartier, is a testament to the fact that cars aren’t just decorations. But rather. cultural masterpieces worthy of being called art.
At last year’s exhibition, some of the best automotive photos were showcased and pulled a diverse crowd. From the pass-through tourists to families, they were all there. However, it was an occasion where both art lovers and car enthusiasts rubbed shoulders in admiration of the artistic wonder of the automobile.
Steve McQueen’s Mustang choice
There was, however, one exhibition that stood out from the rest. In the legendary movie, Bullitt, Steve McQueen is seen glancing over his shoulder. As he speeds away in a cloud of tire smoke of his fastback Mustang. This shot was used as the beginning of a winding take of automotive photography and people were left gawking at the beauty of these opening shots.
More than 50 years later, these images still invoke awe and fascination. Which hints at the idea that the planning that went into the design have not lost any ground. The Mustang’s story is one that has been updated numerous times, and each time a new dimension is added to its complexity and mystery. However, looking from a cultural point of view, it’s still not quite certain how the Mustang became such an icon, yet remained accessible.
It’s all in the design
Ford made some calculated and smart decisions when they planned the design of the Mustang. It had to have long sleek lines which were associated with European sports cars, it needed to be practical and fit more than two people, and lastly, it had to be affordable. However, these are not really the qualities that one associates with exclusivity. Usually, the most coveted items of distinction are rare and near unattainable, made for only a select few. Somehow, Ford got it right to make the owner of a Mustang feel that they had just that, minus the price tag.
In 1964, when the car was launched, it caused an unheard of rush to the dealerships. Sales rocked, so much so, that eventually they were sold on a lottery basis. Only if you had a lucky number, could you own one of the coveted newcomers to the auto world.
Some would argue that the Mustang’s success is based on lasting emotion. From the onset, Ford communicated a youthful wilderness embodied in sheer power and sleek design. It wasn’t made to be a cheap thrill, here today, gone tomorrow. Instead, Ford sought to design a car to redefine their brand and ignite the imagination of the new generation of buyers.
Since its release, it has only gained momentum as being one of the most coveted classic car in history. A masterpiece of art that has captured the imagination of people around the world.