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Legends & Those in the Making

Auto Legends: Classics of Style and Design By Robert CumberfordPhotography by Michel ZumbrunnMerrell Publishers (www.merrellpublishers.com)288 pp.; $49.95The Car Design Yearbook 3: The Definitive Annual Guide to All New Concept and Production Cars WorldwideBy Stephen NewburyMerrell Publishers (www.merrellpublishers.com)288 pp.; $39.95Anyone who is passionate about cars probably surveys much of what is rolling on the roads today with a feeling of dismay giving rise to a dyspeptic sense (“Appliances!

Auto Legends: Classics of Style and Design By Robert Cumberford
Photography by Michel Zumbrunn
Merrell Publishers (www.merrellpublishers.com)
288 pp.; $49.95

The Car Design Yearbook 3: The Definitive Annual Guide to All New Concept and Production Cars Worldwide
By Stephen Newbury
Merrell Publishers (www.merrellpublishers.com)
288 pp.; $39.95


Anyone who is passionate about cars probably surveys much of what is rolling on the roads today with a feeling of dismay giving rise to a dyspeptic sense (“Appliances! Massive slab-sided transports that ought to be filled with manure!”). And, consequently, there is a feeling of nostalgia for the vehicles of yore, when at least a certain larger percentage of the vehicles had style, panache and, essentially, an appearance of having been deliberately designed by someone with a point of view that wasn’t predicated on polling data. If you count yourself among the few, the proud, the discerning, then Auto Legends: Classics of Style and Design is something you should secure posthaste, as it is quite simply a marvelous celebration of stunning autos, from the 1901 Olds Curved Dash Runabout (arguably not the most propitious opening; the 1907 Rolls London-Edinburgh Silver Ghost should have been the first) to the 2002 Ferrari Enzo (which author Robert Cumberford, whom you may be familiar with from his work as design editor for Automobile magazine, describes as the “ultimate art-object car”—although one doesn’t ordinarily think of sculptures traveling at speeds in excess of 200 mph). The words are supplemented by superlative automotive photography by Michel Zumbrunn, who has been shooting cars for over 40 years. There’s something to be said to working one’s craft for a long time. Here it shows.

The Car Design Yearbook 3 (yes, this has become an annual) features 126 vehicles that were unveiled at venues including the major auto shows ‘04 or are available in showrooms. Newbury, an automotive design world insider, has less opportunity to stretch in some of his descriptions of the vehicles as compared with Cumberford, but his insights are nonetheless valuable. The photography in the book, most of which is provided by the vehicle manufacturers, is not nearly as good as Zumbrunn’s. One diverting question that you can ponder as you page through the book is this: Which of the cars will be among the “classics of style and design” several years hence? (I’m betting that the Rolls-Royce 100 EX concept, Rolls’ first concept car, which was designed at owner BMW’s DesignWorks USA studio in SoCal won’t be; as Newbury writes, designer Ian Cameron “took much inspiration from luxury yachts”—too much boat and not enough Ghost.)—GSV