Bygone Design Returns, Here's its New Biographer.

Matt Van Hoven is a publicist and former ad blogger, living in New York. Matt reported hundreds of stories about the advertising industry before starting his career in public relations at Vitro advertising. Matt will use his time here to explore current innovations in locomotion.


I have an unhealthy addiction to automobiles, motorcycles, boats, planes and other mechanically powered vehicles, as well as those that rely on the wind, or other forces of nature that move us. In order to treat my condition, I am going to use this space to explore the innovations that get us from point A to wherever we need to be. Along the way there will be a lot of variety as it pertains to the type of machine. 

My automotive background is limited to the time I did an engine swap on my first car. It didn't end well. Other than that everything I know is from my father, who would impart car wisdom upon me like a professor on the first day of lectures. I'd say about 8% of it stuck. 

But mostly my old man imparted his automotive infatuation. Personally I'm inspired by the way it feels to hit the open road, sky or water (let's not limit this to automation - all manner of locomotion will be explored here!) especially when traveling in a vehicle that enhances the experience. But really I love all vehicles, most machines, and some technology. Anticipate coverage of those subjects, in respective amounts. 

Before I go I want to share a concept car revealed this week at the 2012 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Announced as part of a broad brand overhaul, Lincoln shared their brand new MKZ concept, a mid-sized luxury sedan with design cues hailing back to the 1937 Lincoln Zephyr. Of course this car has many other features, but I mention the Zephyr because it's further proof of an overall trend that currently pervades the auto industry, whereby car designers draw inspiration from bygone eras. 

The MKZ is a prime example. In 1937, luxury was most definitely still luxury, and the MKZ is a clear sign that Ford intends to bring it back (luxury, that is) to American motoring. Dodge, Chevrolet and Volkswagen have more recently made similar steps, blending design elements from their most successful 60s models into cars capable of much more than the original. I'm speaking of the Challenger, Chevelle and Beetle respectively). The MKZ isn't a full return to the past, but it's a solid nod to the iconic beauty of its close ancestors, and a firm step into the future of automotive luxury. 

This is an important cultural phenomenon that I think ties into the state of America's future. We're somewhat unsure about where we're headed as a country, and American cars in particular are suffering from a lack of direction. Looking back for design cues is a tactic that relies on the notion that what once was good can be good again, and the fact that all three major manufacturers are practicing it tells me we can expect more of the old in their new products. 

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