Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Brief Review of Stephen Bayley's Cars: Freedom, Style, Sex, Power, Motion, Colour, Everything

Hi folks -- I first saw this book on the shelf at the Collier in Naples, Florida. It is an expensive book, destined for the coffee table. Much to my surprise, I next saw it at my local library in Centerville, Ohio., and so I checked it out.

This is a book not worth buying, even at a discounted price. It has little text, although there are a few insightful gems from the British author, who is purportedly an expert on automobiles and design. There are numerous very nice photographs of iconic cars, but you can find those in many other books as well.

What I find worth the read are the quotes that are found in the introduction. Here are a few:

Cars, cars, fast, fast! One is seized, filled with enthusiasm, with joy...the joy of power. The simple and naive pleasure of being in the midst of power, of strength.. -- Le Corbusier, The City of Tomorrow, 1929.

No dignity without chromium/ No truth but a glossy finish/ If she purrs she's virtuous/ If she hits ninety she's pure... -- William Carlos Williams, Ballad of Faith, 1954.

Drive ten thousand miles across America and you will know more about the country than all the institutes of sociology and political science put together. -- Jean Baudrillard, America, 1989.

I regard Henry Ford as my inspiration. -- Adolph Hitler, The Detroit News, 31 December 1931.

I think that cars today are almost the exact equivalent of the great Gothic cathedrals: I mean the supreme creation of an era, conceived with passion by unknown artists, and consumed in an image if not in usage by a whole population which appropriates them as a purely magical object. --Roland Barthes, Mythologies, 1957.

We value speed more highly than we value human life. -- George Orwell, 1946.

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