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Dream Cars

A tome of some of the most creative, visionary ideas in auto design throughout the last century

by Hans Aschim in Design on 03 June 2014

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Everyone's idea of their personal "dream car" is different. For some it's the latest supercar, for others it's an off-road adventure-mobile. However the dream cars of auto designers are in a category all their own. Sarah Schleuning (curator at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta) along with award-winning automotive writer Ken Gross teamed up for "Dream Cars": a beautiful hardcover highlighting some of the most striking and influential concept and limited edition American and European automotive designs from 1934 to 2001.

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The book is both informative and awe-inspiring. Design enthusiasts will, no doubt, spot the influence of some of the early concept cars on later auto and industrial design progressions. For example, the radically massive 1936 Stout Scarab sedan concept served as a precursor to what is known in contemporary terms as the minivan—though at the time the elegant automobile was owned almost exclusively by industrial tycoons. A major part of the book's mission is to educate the reader about the ways in which form and function play into one another for auto designers. Creative designs were largely a way to satisfy aerodynamic concerns while maintaining a strong sense of aesthetics. If there ever were a case for cars as both functional and beautiful pieces of engineering, this is it.

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All educational aspects aside, the book features photographs, renderings and period advertisements that are nothing short of art. Even for those reluctant to believe the car can behold such beauty, the work on display in "Dream Cars" will surely prove otherwise. Since many of the cars never saw full-scale production and many of them no longer exist, this is the only place to see some of limited rides featured in the book.

"Dream Cars" is part of a larger exhibition of the same name on view now at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta through 7 September 2014. The book—featuring over 320 color illustrations—is available now via Amazon for $27.

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