Auto Aspiration | TGT’s 5 Curvaceous Coupes
For those of you who don’t know, TGT has a fixation for all things fast – well, not all things, just machines. That said, we’ll talk about the beast that allows the most intimate bond between man and speed – the coupe automobile. The coupe is the incarnation of the speed demon. It carries out a battle between man and physics for a joint victory on the road – and most often then not, it’s lines turn heads like Jane Russell. The automotive achievements during the golden age of auto design yielded some of the most inspiring feats of engineering, that may well move more to action when parked, than cornering at 70 mph. We are talking about the days before composite materials and fiber glass chassis, when chrome and aluminum were the modern day standard to get you to go faster, and keep you looking pretty doing it.
So, TGT celebrates 5 automobiles that changed the world of racing and had an equally great impact to our cultural understanding of the present – or at least to our cultural understanding of the word Cool. These are TGT’s picks for the 5 Curvaceous Coupes.
1. Porsche 550 Spyder (1953)
The Porsche 550 Spyder, or better known to car enthusiasts, the Little Dirty Bastard. Released in 1953 for the Paris Auto Show, Ferry Porsche put pen to paper to create the definitive racing car for the 1950s. With an aluminum body, and extra low frame, the car was designed to hug corners on the track and do so at high speeds. The car’s minimalist design and sexy lines attracted the adulation of many, including that of racing intermediate James Dean. Nicknaming his prized roadster as the Dirty Little Bastard, the German Coupe would become synonymous with Dean. Following a tune up and body paint in preparation for a photo-op and upcoming race, Dean took the spyder out with his mechanic and lost his life in a head on collision with a truck crossing lanes on September 30th, 1955. Pictured above, it sits at the dock quietly observed by Manhattan’s skyline with Niemeyer’s UN building and the Empire State standing in ovation.
2. Jaguar XKSS (1957)
The most curvaceous of its peers, the XKSS, pushed the envelope of design as the anthropomorphic looking sibling of the Jaguar D-Type racer. Having curves reminiscent of a caricature of sorts, the XKSS boasts lines that easily define it as the sexiest car to date. Inspired by the lines of aviation and fledgling concepts of aerodynamic efficiency at the forefront of its inception, the Jag featured one of the first monocoque chassis. After withdrawing from race competition at the seasons closing in 1955, Jaguar offered up a converted street version of the D-Type. Jaguar dubbed it the XKSS, producing and altering an aggregate 87 units, one of which became the second love in Steve McQueen’s life.
3. Jaguar E-Type (Lindner Nocker Model – 1964)
The eponymous British coupe, which readily became the object of desire for millions, was the Jaguar E-Type. Yeah, we know we are crushing hard on the Jags, but we said we’d discuss coupes with curves and we can’t do so without mentioning the E-Type. Not to mention, one Enzo Ferrari confidently called it “the most beautiful car ever made”. The one above is the Lindner Nocker model of the E-type which was completely destroyed in a 1964 race, and restored to its former glory a few days ago. However, it was the E-type that would come to symbolize the country of England and stand as one of the undisputed design successes in the 60s. What at first glance looks like a question of proper proportion, is a mutually supporting relationship between balance and exaggeration, yielding perfection.
4. Ford Mustang GT Fastback (1968)
The American Muscle car to trump all muscle cars, the Ford Mustang. Bringing the right doses of curve and edge, the Ford Mustang GT fastback threw innovation and heritage into the creation of a legend. Suggestive of motion, the leaning grill and slantback tail looked like a car that was impossible to keep still. Accented in chrome and finished with all the necessary trimmings of Detroit’s top brass, Ford’s greatest creation to date defined loud as good, and the world would timidly agree. Steve McQueen would carry out the widely regarded granddaddy of car chases in his 1968 flick Bullit.
5. Ferrari 275 GTB Berlinetta Spyder (1967)
We felt compelled to include an Italian, as the Ferrari name is interchangeable with luxury. The GTB Berlinetta is one of the quieter creations to come out of Maranello. However, sometimes less is more and that is exactly what the 275 GTB was, a whole hellalot’ more. With clean lines and an eye for careful proportion, the GTB Berlinetta is widely regarded as one of Ferrari’s finest. Really, there isn’t much else to say about it. Marcel Mansinni once called it “the poor man’s 250 GTO”, but then again an unnamed gent once called Marcel Mansinni “an idiot”.