Car designer Frank Stephenson's view on the Cybertruck

GuitarLunatic

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I thought this was very interesting so I thought I would share. I see his points, don't agree with them all of course. It's interesting to see what someone who is very successful at car design thinks about something so polarizing though.






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Ehninger1212

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This dude's just Jealous he didn't think of it first. Reminds me of architectural reviewers. Many of the "Worst" architectural designs later became the most iconic. The Eiffel tower comes to mind.
 

Luke42

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I appreciate the thoughtful criticism of the design.

I don't disagree. I'm interested in the Cybertruck despite its appearance, not because of it.

I find the CT to be ugly and utilitarian in the same way a Jeep is. If you stare at one of those old Jeeps long enough, it's hard to see how they could have engineered it much differently, given what was available and what needed to be achieved at the time. The Cybertruck strikes me the same way.

I plan for my CT to be a long-term purchase. It's likely to be as ugly in 20 years as it is the day I bought it. Will that work for me? Probably. I hope so.
 

Crissa

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Wow. I thought maybe I'd disagree with you guys, but...

...Everything he says is totally meaningless. Completely.

Has he never found a crystal in nature?

He specifically picked warm photos vs cold ones and then said more things which were gibberish.

And then he runs a TV ad for a car that doesn't exist.

He uses the word 'nature' when he means 'organic' and...

...Why does he compare it to sedans? Every word he uses to be negative about the Cybertruck - protective, hard, monolith - are words you want for something meant to do a job.

Gibberish. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that you can not see the beauty in a crystalline or protective or durable form is ahh... Well. Show badly upon him.

What cars has he designed?

-Crissa
 

FutureBoy

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Hmmmm....
seems like his version of beauty has everything to do with smooth, curves, and soft. There can be beauty in that. Like the bare skin of a fit body.

I also find beauty in execution, efficiency, effectiveness, strength, and ultimate functionality. This is more where the CT shines.

And there are some decisions on the CT (SS skin and armored glass) that currently necessitate straight lines. It may be that as we move into the future that materials and processes develop to bring his beautiful curves into possibility for materials as strong and reliable as what the CT is using.

If that happens, I’ll be happy to entertain a curvy car. Till then I prioritize function over shape.
 

Luke42

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What cars has he designed?
The list of cars he's designed:
https://www.frankstephenson.com/the-story/

The most recognizable designs he's worked on be the Mini Cooper, the Fiat 500, and the previous generation BMW X5.

The rest of them are low-volume bespoke vehicles that I wouldn't even consider. (I prefer mass-market vehicles for maintenance reasons -- I got my fill of bespoke high-performance engineering in my HPC days.)
 

Crissa

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None of his ideas were particularly good or unique. The era of McLaren have the fake mid-engine intakes and fake scoop that are on my Mazda 3.

Sheesh.

The Fiat 500 was cute, but it wasn't a novel design, either.

-Crissa
 

Dids

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None of his ideas were particularly good or unique. The era of McLaren have the fake mid-engine intakes and fake scoop that are on my Mazda 3.

Sheesh.

The Fiat 500 was cute, but it wasn't a novel design, either.

-Crissa
And those McLaren designs were Toyota supra
 

Geo

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Hey Guitar Lunatic, thank you for posting.

I think its a considered review from a great authority, with a number of hugely iconic design success’s. The assessment and his criticism is spot on.

The Cybertruck is exceedingly successful at its utilitarian objective.
And to me it has design / function elements that are very attractive,
but I too am concerned that it might be too sterile, especially on the inside.

And definitely some design elements could easily be improved if it wasn’t for the 3mm thick panels.
But that’s the two edged sword that comes with 3mm thick panels.

And he’s right, for anyone buying it for more than its pure function, it’s form does run the risk of being plain and boring quickly.

But I’ll take that risk anyway, for all the ways it’s far superior in its function.
And its Lamboesque profile.

And there’s ways you can from time to time easily refresh it, personalise it, at least cosmetically.
Its a great blank canvas, figuratively and literally.
No paint, Stainless Steel flat surface, one can do plenty with that.
 

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I thought this was very interesting so I thought I would share. I see his points, don't agree with them all of course. It's interesting to see what someone who is very successful at car design thinks about something so polarizing though.

Hmmm. Well, the guy is into the beauty of a vehicle first and foremost. His criticisms are leveled at the stark appearance inside and out, and at the lines. He never addresses the functionality or the constraints of the material being used by Tesla or the conditions which give rise to it. Is the CT a paranoid design? Maybe it is, but we live in a time where people bash your car and walk away, where they key your car for almost no reason, where they carjack because they can, etc. do we really want some beautiful car that will cost a fortune to fix when any of these things happen? Not I. I want a truck, one that is versatile and can stand up to the conditions it might encounter, both environmental and cultural. I don’t give a dank what it looks like, and if intimidation keeps people away from my truck then all the better. Damn you Frank.
 

Luke42

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it’s form does run the risk of being plain and boring quickly.
But that's true of every pickup truck. They've looked pretty much the same for decades.

At this point I'd rather have a design which is timeless, than one which is fresh.

I hate to keep bringing it up, but the Jeep Wrangler is a pretty good timeless design. They got it right (for what it is) back when my mother was a toddler, and it hasn't changed too much over the intervening 7 decades. That's a pretty good run.

Also, the social signaling aspect of the Jeep's timelessness works: if I see a guy driving a 25 year old Jeep, my first impression is that he really likes that generation of Jeep for some reason. For contrast, if I see the same guy driving around in a 25 year old Civic, I assume it's because that's all he can afford. Of course, I can be wrong in both instances - but that's not really the point. Timeless is good when it comes to avoiding pointless keeping-up-with-the-Joneses-ing.

If the same things apply to the CT, I don't really care how it looks, or how plain and boring it is.
 
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