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Teutonic means "practical," "unadorned," and "form follows function." A Ferrari is not teutonic. A BMW CSi and Mercedes W123 are teutonic. There was a time when "teutonic" automotive design was owned by the Germans. I would say that not one car in the world made today would be teutonic. I open to be proven wrong.
 

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Teutonic means "practical," "unadorned," or "form follows function." A Ferrari is not teutonic. A BMW CSi and Mercedes W123 are teutonic. There was a time when "teutonic" automotive design was owned by the Germans. I would say that not one car in the world made today would be teutonic. I open to be proven wrong.
Sports Car Illustrated says that Ferrari can be teutonicized if it is modded by Zender

:)

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Automotive journalists don't really care about rigid definition anyway,
that T-word as descriptor is still percolating...

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Also,
thanks for bumping this thread!

Worth the click and I was LOL'ing the first couple of pages, TCL's classic wit on glorious display, a fun read!
 

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^^^ Hilarious! First off, thanks for posting the Teutonic Ferrari! It's a first. Both the Ferrari and the Audi are the furthest thing from Teutonic. The front end of the Audi, for instance, looks like a twisted pretzel. Those ginormous wheels are not teutonic either. "Teutonic" once was a word that had meaning. Not anymore. Anything and everything can be teutonic just like anything and everything can be "genius."
 

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I totally agree in regards to language degradation, we're increasingly swamped with an onslaught of meaningless meaningfulness LOL seems like the current zeitgeist to me at least, but I'm an old codger out-of-the-loop anyway.

Can there be a "sensual Teutonicism"?

I mean some people, like me, find such spartan design sexy unto itself just because the minimalist sparseness is alluringly attractive, like I've always loved the NSU TT...



...but,
the modern Audi version of the TT was truly sensuous in my book, yet still managed to maintain a Teutonic purity in my opinion.

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I agree on both counts. The NSU TT is definitely teutonic. Though it's cheating a bit, I would say a teutonic spiritual successor to the NSU is Gordon Murray's Mk1 Escort Cosworth. Yes, teutonic can be sensual. The 1961Jaguar E-type could also be teutonic but, for me, it's too sensual to be teutonic. The original Audi TT is teutonic. As they say, "Every line and form must be justified for its function."
 

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🤯

WHOAH!

Had not seen Murray's restomod Cossie, so thanks for the pointer,
worth watching just to hear it!


:

An interesting side-step we could take would be to consider Scandinavian design, like Volvo in particular at one time embraced the classic element of "Teutonic traits" with their sleek bricks...



...of course, that example looks extra-good because no front bumper.

But what about Saab?

I've always thought that the Swedes were just as good as the Germans with engineering mechanicals, but more thoughtful as far as ergonomics and safety and other little touches too...

...anyway, Saab seems to me to be wholly unique in their ethos of design, totally function-over-form for the most part, but I wouldn't characterize them as really Teutonic.
 

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Teutonic always came to mind when talking about OG AMG Hammers of the 80's. I might have read that in an old car magazine. I also though people used Teutonic in their vocab to sound pretentious about their German automobile back then. Like using Bauhaus to describe all European architecture.
 

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That's a good point about how people have used the word...

...like if I met someone with a Fiat Panda and exclaimed

"oh wow cool what a neat car!"

and then they responded with

"neat doesn't do it justice, it's actually a classic example of brutalist automotive design"

then I'd go eyeroll and think to myself 'whadda schmuck!" LOL


.

 

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Teutonic needs to be differentiated from "utilitarian." Teutonic denotes quality. The simpler the expression, the more "details" matter. I would say the Fiat Panda and the original VW Beetle are utilitarian vehicles. A Mercedes W123 is teutonic. I'm struggling with whether or not I think the OG Hummer is teutonic. Interesting conundrum. I bet the Germans would say, "no way in hell." 🤣
 

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I've got geeky tendencies, so I'd love to see an Oxford English Dictionary styled citation list done up in chronological order so that we could determine when the term took hold to mean the very specific thing it means as related to automotive design.

The only problem is the arduous time involvement and access to a comprehensive library of motoring magazines! LOL

Motorsport has an awesome archive but you can only fully view a few before a pop-up pops up and requests patronage in the form of cold hard cash...


...so I restricted myself to google search result snippets and compiled a short list.

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Earlier usage of the term was sort of shorthand for a stereotypical archetype of the German persona in the sense of cold logic and intense meticulousness.

Motorsport has always been a bit dry though as far as British car mags go, other UK publications would usually exhibit much more flair in their writing.

1931
"...according to a German competitor whose passenger counted them with true Teutonic thoroughness) included seventy-six hairpin bends."

1934
"With typical Teutonic thoroughness a school for young drivers has been started at the Nurburg Ring. They are given a chance to show their..."

1936
"By OUR CONTINENTAL CORRESPONDENT Teutonic Thoroughness I wonder how many spectators 'at a Grand Prix realise the immense amount of preparation that has gone..."

1941
"The doctor starts off by complaining that previous standards and comparisons of performance were entirely subjective; and as his tidy Teutonic brain found this very annoying and unsatisfactory, he set about rectifying it with characteristically Teutonic thoroughness."

1952
"The shriek of a Teutonic blower echoed over the Plain that morning as the Druids stirred uneasily in their unterwelt spuken."

1952
"This frame is the work of Prof Dr Ing Eberan von Eberhorst, so, like the Jupiter, the DB3 owes much to Teutonic engineering knowledge."

1953
"... of that unpleasant language and (in my experience) quite alien trend shown by the emphasis laid upon Teutonic things and Germanic ideas."

1957
"...the whole exercise is tackled with that typical Teutonic thoroughness."

1962
"In his book “The Vintage Motor Car,” Mr. Clutton refers to a certain Mercedes as “. . . a typical example of Teutonic brute force.”

1969
"...which were rather stolid and Teutonic but immaculately made, and as a means of establishing the effectiveness of the Mercedes system of..."

1969
"It is on station-wagon lines like a Teutonic version of a Renault 16, with a long, almost vintage snout and a brief, skirted behind."

1980
"He laughed weakly in mock exasperation of the Teutonic mind trying impose perfection upon an unruly but brilliant Gallic principle."

1983
"As an aside, I note that the golf-ball gear-lever knob, rather rough to handle, is retained, a nice touch of Teutonic humour."

1984
"German design is usually described as “typically Teutonic”, yet two of the most striking cars of recent years have come from the pen of an..."

1986
"Bristol followed the Teutonic looking 400 with the 401 which was essentially a styling exercise by Touring of Milan refined and smoothed in..."

1988
"The whole car is 100% Teutonic in every way, which you would expect from a GT car from Unterturkheim. There are many blindly patriotic Brits..."

1990
"...aggressive coupé body, the 2.24v provides Q-car ability with performance figures that make Latin, British and Teutonic supercars flinch."

1990
"Like any other Audi in appearance, it lacks the Teutonic splendour of the Mercedes or the style of the Jaguar. Despite the exploits of the..."

1991
"The controls are more scattered than one would attribute to Teutonic minds, leaving the hazard warning flashers over toward the glove box."

1999
"An exotic Latin sports bolide? A Teutonic limousine? Or some high-tech, megabucks road legal rally car? No. They're talking about the Ford Focus..."

2000
"It wasn't a machine efficient in the Teutonic manner, like the W196, but he loved it because it could be over-driven, allowing artistry in..."

2001
Niki was perceived to be a very mechanical, 71b+ teutonic computer-type of driver which is how he was professionally, because he was able..."

2007
"The spectacle of silver German cars crushing foreign competition was not just a public demonstration of Teutonic engineering superiority but..."
 

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Great list, after reading it I would extend the definition of Teutonic to mean, "efficient, organized, logical, exacting, and consequential." From the list above, I never thought race car drivers could be teutonic but, then again, cold, steely, and measured are teutonic. The most creative use of "teutonic" is with the VW Golf, golf-ball shifter knob is described as, "teutonic humour." I always thought the golf-ball knob was kitsch but as pure form the knob is teutonic and the absurdity of using a golf-ball on a shifter is indeed humorous. Touché!
 

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I’d say Apple’s current design language and Tesla’s interior design language is teutonic.
Hmm... an interesting idea. For me, this is a head scratcher. I can make arguments on both sides. For instance, how is Apple teutonic when planned obsolescence is engineered into their products, like the hard drive being glued into the chassis? Isn't "teutonic" supposed to be sturdy and long lasting? With Tesla, is their infotainment screen teutonic? Tesla appears to be teutonic inside and out but how does this translate to the driving experience? I do believe it's Tesla's goal to be teutonic. I'm just not sure they are there yet. I like to watch Sandy Munro's channel on YouTube to learn about the efficiencies Tesla incorporates in their cars.
 

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I highly doubt the sales angle endgame, but I do understand your skepticism because we're now living in post-truth irreal times.

I think he's an enthusiast and somehow discovered how fun TCL can be, or an older member under a new name (my original name is older than the one I have now but when jumping back on had forgot password and had to create a new account)...

...but anyway,
anyone who digs Saab is A-OK in my goodbook!

:)

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Ironically,
if you browse his BaT comment history, his tastes definitely skew toward the Teutonic!
 
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