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Over sixty years of active motorization, one has observed with interest the changed styles that were followed by manufacturers in search of popularity and volume sales. From a British perspective, it was always the Ford of England that initiated a radical departure from the established norm, which risks criticizing criticism but more often than not capturing a public's imagination which is always anxious to be seen in something radically new. This pattern of progress remained largely unchanged for five decades until it was overwhelmed by the new millennium's Asian dominance.
In the 1950s, the new look of cars was initiated by Ford Prefect and Anglia saloons. The innovation may have had antecedents in the United States where the development of private vehicles continued while it was suspended in Britain during World War II, but in that case it was reproduced without ostentation and glittering chrome which was so characteristic of American cars of that time. In any case, it immediately became popular in the UK, and other engine manufacturers rushed to follow the new style and at the same time hoped to add a certain feature of their own.
The wooden box style had a long life. It was susceptible to great variety in detail and was easily adapted to two boxes in trucks or truck wagons. The effect of wind tunnel testing led to more streamlined shapes that are known to reduce air resistance and improve performance and fuel economy. Streamlines proved to be so aesthetically pleasing to cars as they were on airplanes and Ford continued to lead the way in a development that culminated in the generally popular KA model of the 1990s.
From there, there was nowhere to go. As far as humanly possible, perfection had been achieved. Ford KA inspired many copies from other manufacturers, but everything, in the pursuit of a unique feature, deteriorates the beauty of the original. Many people, tired of constant pressure to buy something new, may have resembled KA to become a standard product in eternity. But the industry had now gone through Japan to South Korea and China, countries that were keen to promote worldwide sales of newly manufactured products.
Doing something other than perfection means doing something less pleasing to the eye and the Asian manufacturers have definitely succeeded in that endeavor. Yet so dominant is their global position that the remaining West industry has felt compounded to copy the eastern degradation. It is an old English that says that after the master's coach has entered the cart. In motor styling, the men's coach has gone, and we are still waiting for the company basket.