Great art exists in every age, and each incidence of it — whether a painting, a piece of music, a photograph, a film, a television show, a building, or automobile — has a half-life. By this I mean that in the long run, the particular object of human expression becomes dated and less appealing to the modern eye.
Oftentimes the shock of the new creates the original artistic splash, which is to say that acts of innovation break through our collective perceptions and show us new ways of seeing and experiencing the world. But this shock inevitably wears off, and iconic films from the 1960s now seem quite dated and of their time, for example.
But on the rarest of occasions the impossible is achieved: a design is created that is so bold and rooted in the soul of humanity that it lasts for decades, centuries, and possibly even millennia.
Classical music comes to mind: Beethoven’s great symphonies (particularly the 6th, 7th, and 9th) do not get old, or dated, or boring, which is absolutely astounding when you consider when they were created (early 1800s).
But the Porsche 911 is blowing my mind today.
This iconic design is not only ageless / timeless, it also has not needed to be changed in 50 years.
I have put them side-by-side just to showcase (and enjoy) how perfect the design is and how little it has changed — and how little it has needed to change.
Just to drive the point home (pun intended), I thought I’d contrast the more recent Mercedes sedan with the early incarnation of it:
Let’s all acknowledge that when the original Porsche designers created the 911, they created a masterpiece of all time and perhaps the only automobile in history whose design needs no updating to remain totally relevant, fresh, and appealing.
Congratulations to Porsche for scoring one of the rarest of all human achievements.