Two things are guaranteed to sell cars: rarity and design.
When a car is both rare and beautiful, it’ll sell for big bucks no matter what’s under the hood. When an everyday car is beautiful and affordable, hundreds of thousands of people will write checks and proudly show off their gorgeous new rides.
There’s no question that Jaguar currently builds some of the most handsome vehicles on the market. It always has, with the possible exception of the unfortunate-looking S-Type. The one time it ventured into supercar-dom, it hit a home run with the XJ220.
Only 320 of those cars were ever built, and just 6 of them wore the super-exclusive XJ220S label. Those 6 cars were street-legal versions of the race-bred XJ220C. One of those 6 will go up for auction later this month, and because it’s both rare and beautiful, it’s expected to fetch between $225,000 and $300,000. The particular version up for grabs has been customized to throw down 700 hp from its twin-turbo V6, but I hardly doubt that will matter, because buyers at this level typically buy for the beauty factor alone. Sadly, the tires of this rare beast may know only the glossy surface of a climate-controlled garage.
For beauty that will get driven, we look toward the Detroit Auto Show.
Every year at the show, the Eyes on Design awards honor the best designs among production vehicles and concepts from Detroit. Judges are current or former designers and this year represented top brass from Volkswagen, Chrysler SRT and General Motors.
In the production category, the new Ford Fusion took home top honors, while the Lexus LF-LC was the top of the concept heap. Both are beautiful cars, and both are sure to sell an impressive number of units, assuming the LF-LC (or something like it) ever goes into production. The Ford brings some Aston Martin-esque design to the masses, while the Lexus, in all its swept-back glory, is simply breathtaking.
Can the redesigned Ford Fusion top the likes of the Toyota Camry in sales? I’m really digging that front end!