Maybe true design icons are the objects that we learn to love over time. Some of the groundbreaking classics are not instantly received and loved and sometimes require a slightly random, risky journey to gain acceptance. Perhaps a special element means these are objects predestined to endure and find their way into our hearts.
Think about it. Apple computers progressed from home made electronics kits stuck in a wooden box. The first (now cult and highly collectable by fans...) Macintosh desktop computer was a boxy plastic chunk. But its originality undoubtedly helped set the company on course to become world beating tech design leaders. In 1954 the futuristic, aluminium bodied, London Routemaster bus (below) was prototyped. London Transport thought it would “do” until 1970 when it would be withdrawn. It was finally taken out of service in 2005 despite a public outcry.
At Hackney GT we love brave, trail blazing design which forms the inspiration for our products. After all it’s easier and safer for designers to look back and copy elements from history. The definition of modern is to relate to the present or recent time as opposed to the past. True modern design, therefore, requires foresight and guts. These are the design world's risk takers.
Automotive design history is ridden with forgettable vehicles, designed by committee, and duly consigned to the scrap heap of history. The famous designer Raymond Loewy (above left) once said the “goal of design is to sell” and the “loveliest curve I know is the sales curve”.
There's one small German car that has sold over 21.5 million units (beating the Model T Ford) based on its beautiful curves. It’s roots lie with a pioneering design created by a brilliant pre war Jewish designer (Josef Ganz), pinched by a deluded dictator (Hitler) and given to a gifted design school drop out (Ferdinand Porsche - above right) to develop.
Post war it would then barge into the US market to wean motorists off their homegrown gas guzzlers and persuade them (via seminal press ads) to “Think small”. A sign of quite how successfully it had captivated and delighted perhaps confirmed by Disney's ‘68 film “Herbie the love bug” - the car’s large oval headlights and unique shape transforming it into a fun loving car character hero with a mind of its own.
The modern day Volkswagen company have revisited the concept with two new versions. Heavily reminiscent, some of the original unique design concept has been lost (rear air-cooled engine and an affordable price tag for example) But the original has continued to inspire the company and its customers alike. Ours provides a helpful reminder every day to keep Hackney GT design simple and bold. And that's why we love our 1973 red Beetle.