3D modeling, sculpting call it what you like…
My Lancia Stratos (WIP)
I enjoy building these cars, especially replicating the classics. To most people – with the exception of car designers, 3D modelers and petrol-heads they are just boring old cars, lumps of shiny metal enveloping greasy machinery that help pollute the environment and cost a fortune in time, money and nerves.
However, only those in the above category can really understand the complexity of building or designing a car, whether that be 3D digitally or hand-building the real thing in a garage. It has many similarities to the challenge of portrait painting. Just as in portrait painting the omission of smallest insignificant detail can make or break a work. Sometimes you think you have done everything accurately but it still looks wrong. You search high and low for errors, often fruitlessly.
Rotate the car by just one degree and all the lines change, as do the highlights, shadows and reflections. Unlike most products, cars are a mix of rubber, metal, glass and fabric, which make them more complex than almost any other. Reflections on the painted metal surfaces must be perfect otherwise they indicate damaged bodywork or badly resolved surfaces in the design phase. The reason Jaguars or Porsches look like quality when compared to a Ford or Toyota has much to do with the way surfaces have been resolved. Connecting three different angled surfaces together can often require a great deal of creative skill to make it look right and pleasing to the eye.
Cars needs balance, proportions, dynamics and aesthetic lines that are in harmony with each other and there are always many additions such as wheel arches, door handles and lights etc., that can make this a challenge.
The Lancia Stratos above is possibly my all time favourite sports car and one that I had the privilege of driving once albeit for only a couple of kilometers. ‘Shit off a shovel’ comes to mind as it weaved its way from the traffic lights and no wonder it has a mid-mounted 2.4 litre Ferrari Dino engine in what is a very compact, lightweight body. It was designed specifically as a racing car or rally car to be more accurate and was only produced for the road in any numbers to qualify for the category of production rally car. The bodywork was designed by Gandini, one of Italy’s finest car designers who was also responsible for the Lamborghini Muira, among other classics and strangely enough the Citroen BX. Probably the only citroen he ever designed.
This is a work in progress and some details have yet to be added. The red lines indicate errors in the topology that need fixing. The A-pillar also looks incorrect to me but it is faithful to the technical drawing but that may be inaccurate, which is why it is so important to have accurate reference drawings. Still with a bit of tweaking (not twerking) I think we can fix that.
I always felt the Stratos was the perfect design but once you begin to analyze it more carefully for a replica, flaws become apparent. These flaws are the very thing that give it character and its own special DNA. There is a temptation to remove them or make corrections but like cosmetic surgery it just removes the very thing that made it unique and special. Just as in life drawing or portrait painting you must look and observe carefully. The eye is just a camera while the brain processes the image. However the brain has a habit of ignoring details and refers back to memory to save processing time, often in error.