An Unpopular Opinion

I love design, in its many forms. In particular, I’m a huge fan of industrial design — everything from the smallest household goods to shoes, clothing, product design, automotive design, and architecture. Although architects might bristle at my lumping of their discipline under “industrial design,” I believe the creative problem-solving processes are more similar than they are different. But that’s a conversation for another time…

One of the things that unites most visual creative people is seemingly universal agreement on what constitutes “beauty.” Quite often, there is nearly unanimous appreciation and agreement on the designed artifacts that are considered timeless in their beauty and achievement of “perfect” design. Fallingwater. The Porsche 911. Eames chairs. Starck’s juicer. Sapper’s Tizio lamp. Dieter Rams’ iconic work for Braun. We share nearly uniform praise for these exquisitely designed objects.

But there’s one that I just can’t agree with, and I am fully prepared to stand by my opinion of it. And that object is the Jaguar E Type.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

This is an automobile almost universally praised as being “The Most Beautiful Car Ever Made.”

And yet, I can’t stand it. Why?

I will admit that the voluptuously curved sheet metal is gorgeous. But that’s about where the fascination ends for me. The proportions are awkward: The hood (alright, alright… the bonnet) is too long; the rear deck too short; the driving position seems poorly integrated into the overall design, with short doors, an overly-tall greenhouse, and a windshield (alright, ALRIGHT… windscreen!) and A-pillar that’s just too upright.


Whatever victory was scored with the sheet metal was utterly ruined by just about everything else. That’s my opinion, and I’m sticking to it. Sorry if you find it upsetting.