Then and Now- On Display Now Through May 18, 2020

Mark Twain once said:
"There is no such thing as a new idea. It is impossible. We simply take a lot of old ideas and put them into a sort of mental kaleidoscope. We give them a turn and they make new and curious combinations."

As the saying goes, everything old is new again. Manufacturers sometimes use this idea to revisit their glory days, going so far as to “re-introduce” a popular car from their past. In 1994, Volkswagen debuted the Concept 1, a modern take on the Beetle, to rave reviews. The Concept 1 went into production largely unchanged as the New Beetle in 1998, and helped revive VW’s lagging North American sales. When Fiat decided to re-enter the US market, it did so with the 21st-century version of its iconic Cinquecento, or 500. BMW’s newly formed MINI division released a modern take on the Morris/Austin/Rover/BMC Mini in 2001. The new MINI Cooper also received sales success and critical acclaim. These models represent a pastiche (an imitation of the style) of the model that came before.

However, sometimes car manufacturers offer an evolution of a design, creating a clear lineage to the model’s past. Perhaps the best example of this is the Porsche 911. Even though it is larger and more technologically advanced, Porsche has been careful to keep the 911’s basic shape and layout since it was introduced in 1964.

What contrasts do you see? What makes them similar? Which one do you prefer: then…or now?


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