Design Portfolio: Outside the Box

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1925 Rolls-Royce Phantom I
For an obvious reason, this Phantom I has been dubbed the Round Door Rolls. But the design of the doors, which evoke the entrance to a bathysphere or a bank vault, is only one of the car’s stellar art deco elements. The coachwork, created in 1934 by the Belgian coachbuilder Jonckheere, replaced the original cabriolet body that Hooper & Co. had constructed nearly a decade prior. The car’s fastback profile features design details that were as futuristic as those displayed by a Jules Verne time machine. Most notable—aside from the round doors—are the sloping grille and prominent dorsal fin, which promise speed from the car, even when it is standing still.

The flowing, aerodynamic shape was such a departure from the conservative, boxy Rolls-Royce coachwork being produced by Hooper and fellow British coachbuilder H. J. Mulliner & Co. that it appalled some purists. But it may have appealed to French tastes: Evidence suggests that the car, serial number 94MC, won a Prix d’Honneur at the 1936 Cannes Concours d’Elegance.

The Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles acquired the Round Door Rolls in 2001 and restored it in time for the 2005 Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance. The car’s checkered provenance prevented it from winning any major awards at Pebble Beach, but its stunning and elegant shape made it a crowd favorite.

The new GTS, unveiled 50 years after the original Targa debuted, will hit U.S. dealerships in April…
Photo by Jim Fets
The successful trip puts Audi on track to release its first autonomous car in 2017…
Jaguar’s design director discloses that the F-Pace is the production version of the C-X17 concept…
This year’s show saw debuts from Ferrari, Lamborghini, Aston Martin, and other top carmakers…
The racecar set off a Ford winning streak at Le Mans that lasted four years…
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
Armored versions of the limousine-like vehicle will also be available…
Photo by Mark Bramley
The new sedan features numerous stylistic references to the world’s great metropolises…
Photo by Drew Phillips
The original car became famous in the 1968 Steve McQueen film Bullitt…
The new Turbo S completed a lap on the famous Nürburgring circuit in under 8 minutes…
Photo by Mercedes-Benz
The autonomous concept takes a look into the future of driving…