Definitely the Chevy Corvette, an icon for all the wrong reasons. All power and little finesse, it’s an Iron Age survivor that appeals to the primitive heart of Homo automotus . I admit even my knees can be induced to a certain weakness as I climb behind the wheel of a European-style late-fifties or early-sixties Vette, but since then the Vette has become progressively uglier. If this is the best its male designers can come up with in the way of a phallic symbol, the only hope is a team of women engineers to work on the next incarnation.
The General Motors EV1. The first modern electric car, it’s a model of everything engineers could do but don’t in a world addled by the fumes of burned gasoline. EV1 designers, led by the brilliant Paul MacCready, literally rethought the automobile from the ground up. It all worked so well that four years after the EV1’s debut, and despite a safety flaw that has led to a major recall, it’s still way ahead of anything else on the market—and light-years ahead, it seems, of consumers.