Spectator — June 2002
By Tom Fexas
Icons and New Perceptions
|How your Spectator avoided making one mistake and admitted to making another.|
Please bear with me on this car story--I'm making a point.
In the late 60s, Ferrari debuted its stunningly beautiful 365 GTB/4 Coupe. Critically acclaimed worldwide, this design set new benchmarks for the auto industry and spawned a plethora of imitators. In the early 70s, as this car (also known as the Daytona) was nearing the end of its run, Ferrari came out with its successor, the 365 GTC/4 Coupe. Although designed by one of the top styling houses in Italy, the look was rather unfortunate. The car had strange upswept hips aft and a black rubber bumper encircling the front end. Due to its ungainly proportions aft and the oval bumper, the merciless Italian auto press immediately dubbed the car "The Hunchback with Clown Lips." Ouch! Talk about stinging criticism. To this day the car is known by that moniker, and as a result, it's worth maybe a third of a Daytona in similar condition. The Daytona had a six-year run, while the GTC/4 lasted only two. It all comes down to proportions and shapes.
In 1999 we entered into a contract with Grand Banks to design its new flagship, the 64-foot Aleutian Class motoryacht. The boat was to be a "sleeper." Grand Banks has always been known for its "dependable diesel cruisers," which cruised at 9 to 12 knots (some faster with bigger engines). But the 64 would be a wolf in sheep's clothing--the wolf being the hull shape, high-tech, lightweight construction, and machinery that would push her to about 22 knots. The sheep's clothing part was going to be her traditional styling.
sure Grand Banks talked to a bunch of other naval architects before choosing
us for its new project. After riding on our boats, the Grand Banks powers
that be knew we had the hull but were concerned about the "look."
Ah....the elusive "look." That's what it all comes
down to. The "look" will make or break a project. Our dilemma
became: Just how do you restyle an icon? How do you push the design far
enough to be considered contemporary yet still reflect the heritage and
family resemblance of the long, proud line of Grand Banks boats? A mistake
here could be deadly. We certainly did not want our new Grand Banks design
to be the floating equivalent of "The Hunchback with Clown Lips,"
and so, after the easy part (the hull) was done, we carefully moved on
to the styling, during which time I ended up losing a lot of sleep.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.