Anti-Design Friday, The Sbarro Autobau.

For this weeks Design Friday post, I have decided to focus on what not to do, sort of an anti design Friday in a sense. With the Geneva Motor Show in full swing I thought I would talk about quite possibly the ugliest car in the world. The Sbarro Autobau.

Now I have seen some ugly automobiles before. Usually the result of engineering overload dominating the styling process, or just a lack of solid talent in the design pool at the manufacturer, but this is something I can’t quite get my head wrapped around. And the name, “Sbarro Autobau”? Did designer Franco Sbarro not realize that Sbarro is a fast food pizza chain no longer relegated to the East coast of the United States?

OK enough, let’s take a look at why this car is so completely horrible on the eyes.

First starting at the front, the Autobau has dual scalloped lines which are bisected with stubby vertical fins and some sort of bizzaro jet engine intake thing. Visually there is no central point of focus, or any single line that completes the overall shape of the car. Even the scalloped cuts have concave recesses worked back into the body lines of the car. All of this adds up to a visual look that feels assembled, not seamless. The roof line and windscreen seem like an afterthought. Angular flat, stylistically disproportionate to the other shapes and lines extending out of the electric razor/roto-tiller front end. The windscreen is so flat it almost appears to lie horizontal across the surface of the car.


The front fascia has this sort of pitch fork demonic maw to it, and then there is the headlamp, and turn signal assembly which just looks like it was an after thought. I am assuming that Sbarro wanted the car to look menacing, but it just looks like a mish-mash of styles and shapes.


As you move along the car to the sides, the design attempts to incorporate cutlines though the windows similar to a Lamborghini Gallardo, which look great ion the Lamborghini, but Sbarro added a second set of windows behind the doors which breaks the linear sweep of the profile, and the repeated curves as the descend down from the roof line of the car. As you look down the side of the car from the front, another odd design feature is the way the wheel wells break the visual flow, and appear as though they have literally been cleaved off with a knife. Actually there are a number of places where razor-sharp angles collide with fluid lines…


Then there is the proportion of space on both sides of the wheels. Both front and back the car extends more than 30 inches, creating this sort of stretched and warped look that just seems out of balance and out-of-place.


I’m not even going to go into issues with the color pallet. Maybe he went with yellow, red, black and silver because it reminded him of a slice of pepperoni.

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