"XK 120 The beginning of the Jaguar Golden age. Took the world by storm when launched in 1948 and initiated the basis of the perennial XK engine. Made a legend (and a Knight) out of Jag chief and design boss William Lyons – "
When you think of Automotive futurism, its easy to believe that GM and other American company’s attempts to style the future in a kind of disney-flavoured, jetson-type image.
But the truth is about futurism that it was primarily an early 20th century, European form that was shot through with the properties of speed, progress and the wish to conquer new worlds.
The apocalyptic events of the 1940s may have ended that first flush of industrial modernism and made the world recalbrate its desires and aspirations – but by the mid fifties the future was back in the minds of industrialists and the designers they employed.
In 1954, then, Fiat, representing a creative nation rising from the ashes of the war, launched the Turbina, a gas turbine concept that fused the engineering chops of Luigi Fanio Rapi with the panel beating prowess of the best metalworkers Turin could muster.
It may have been a dead-end in terms of long lasting production cars, but the Turbina was an unbelievably bold statement, complete with rocket-ship like lines and sweeping fins. And this at a time when much of Europe was still gripped in grim austerity.
The turbina one of the reasons we believe that these straightened times can still offer opportunities for brave design to shine.
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