It’s time to face the fact that everything in our modern world is ugly. Buildings are ugly, cars are ugly, and you’re probably ugly, too.

Can you name an internationally marketed, mass-produced product from the last 10-15 years that made you stop and appreciate its craftsmanship or design? There probably aren’t many.

If we’re not counting architecture – which I touched on a few weeks ago – today’s cars could easily be the worst of the “ugliness offenders.” Forget the 1980s; these might be the scariest abominations ever put on four spinning wheels.

For whatever reason – perhaps the advent of electric cars – auto design recently adopted a futuristic, space-age fashion. But what we got was not the sexy sci-fi cars of the past (think the Cadillac Cyclone or 1959 GM Firebird) but bulbous, amorphous affronts to every decent, God-fearing American.

Our “sci-fi” cars resemble the porkish humans of Pixar’s “Wall-E” more than the movie’s futuristic robots.

It feels like auto designers have done away with line, proportion, and pleasing form. Almost every SUV I see is white, bulky, round, and unnecessarily “science-y.” It looks like you’re driving an MRI machine.

People point the finger at a number of culprits:

  • They say these body design changes are due to ever-stringent crash safety standards. Well, I’m glad these abominations have a five-star safety rating because I’d hate to spend my last moments on Earth in a Nissan Juke.

  • Environmental regulations and an increased emphasis on fuel economy also play a role. You tell me it’s ok that my car is ugly and sounds like a neutered chihuahua because it’s more fuel-efficient and better for the environment. Screw the environment! Run my car on baby seal fat! I want to feel something when I crank that thing up.

We seriously need to lighten up and remember that driving is fun. Cars that go fast, look fantastic, and handle well are undeniably cool. It’s already hard enough to pick up girls without driving what looks and sounds like The Wiggle’s Big Red Car. Steve McQueen had it easy.

There’s a whole lot more than just getting from point A to point B. I don’t know what all goes on in Detroit – I do know we’re not making cars – but it seems like the passion is gone.

Just look at what Ford did to the Mustang. Did anyone ask for America’s most iconic sports car to be turned into a bland crossover EV? I can imagine Lee Iacocca looking down and groaning a Brando-esque, “Look how they massacred my boy!” Something tells me the electric Mustang was motivated less by a love of the game and more by those tantalizing EV subsidies dangled by Washington.

I don’t think there is a Carroll Shelby running around anymore, someone who lives to make fantastic cars. It undoubtedly takes plenty of passion to start a business, and I believe the fathers of America’s auto industry had that passion. However, as time goes on, things become stagnant. Once you’re well established as a “too big to fail” company, it’s hard to feel that same fire or stave off mediocrity.

I want America to mass produce great-looking, reliable, and fun cars again. All it will take to bring that back is a company willing to take a chance and a government willing to step back and let America get to work.

Nick Treglia is a first-year law student.

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