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  1. #1
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    Z8 = 1:1.618

    With my baby away being massaged by Dinan, I have been re-reading some of my Z8 articles to try to keep the separation anxiety in check. Came across one of my favorite quotes and thought I'd share it.

    "An experience like no other began with the capture of my vision, drawn along the rise and fall of sculptured fenders as if the aluminum bodywork emanated a curious magnetism. I unconsciously gauged the Z8's overall proportions and, in the instant it took for my eyes to sweep the car's entirety, concluded they were in impeccable balance. Beautiful, a term I don't often bestow upon mechanical devices, seemed to be fully apppropriate to my reaction.

    Later, when reflecting on a full profile photo of the Z8, it struck me as to why the car's styling was so inherently pleasing at first sight: The ratios between length, width and height appear to have been devised by the same forces which shaped the spiral of a nautilus shell or delicate curve of a fern's stalk. In other words, the Z8 is a wonderful example of dynamic symmetry, also known as the Golden Mean. Expressed as the mathematical ratio (1:1.618), it is found in such natural forms as the nautilus and the fern, but why this is so is still one of life's great mysteries. There's no mistaking, however, the very tangible effect this ratio has on the rational mind. It provides a sense of order without redundancy and has been used by architects since ancient Greece in the search for the most pleasing, stimulating designs. So important is this ratio that Galileo even utilized it in his studies of the mechanics of motion.

    The "Divine Mean", as it is also called, is most easily described as a line: if the left hand part of the line is length a=1, then the right hand portion is length b=0.618. Dividing a line in this way is said to provide a Golden or Divine section. Why this is mathematically interesting is that the length a is to the whole length a+b, as the length b is to a. Why this seems also to be inherently pleasing in an aesthetic sense is beyond ken.

    Apply the same measurement to the Z8, and the point describing the Golden section is almost exactly where the rear curve of the door opening intersects the horizontal cut line between door and fender well - right where the driver is centered. Is this mere serendipity, or did BMW's design team study ferns and shells and wear "Golden Mean" T-shirts during the car's development? I believe there's a simple explanation: Chris Bangle (not likely), Henrik Fisker (of course) and gang in BMW's design studio were doing no less than tapping into an aesthetic born in nature. It was perhaps this same dynamic which led Albrech von Goertz to pen the BMW 507 in the mid 1950s, the roadster which inspired many of the Z8's project goals. Still, Bangle and Co. were certainly under no pressure to evoke the 507 in their design, and Fisker says he viewed the 507 just once, and for a short time, before he sketched the first drawings of what would become the Z8. Why the Z8 ended up looking as it did, I think, was in a very real way, decreed by the "correctness" implied by the Golden Mean.

    However the inspiration for the Z8 came into fruition, its effect on the heart and intellect is indisputable.

    ...The new Z8 roadster is the best example yet of ultra-sophisticated technology wrapped by unashamed emotional appeal. Its graceful lines evoke a time when life wasn't so complicated, when design was expressive of values beyond mere costliness. Yet under the aluminum skin is a wondrous array of BMW's best production-car technology.

    All of this wouldn't mean beans, of course, unless the Z8 delivered on this promising blend of high-tech and haute couture. And it does - unequivocably, unquestioningly, undisputably, unassailably, uncompromisingly.

    Like so many other recently minted limited-edition cars, the Z8 is a beguiling blend of engineering prowess and applied aesthetics. Unlike so many of those cars, the Z8 fulfills the expectations outlined in the specs by inviting the driver to share in its complex technology, not be overwhelmed by it.

    Balanced to the eye and to the aesthetic mind, unburdened by extraneous visual elements, the Z8 is both a marvel of technology and beautiful driving experience."

    Greg Brown in European Car Magazine

    Grease Monkey


  2. #2
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    That explains everything. Thanks for sharing.


  3. #3
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    One of the early favorites, thks for the memories


  4. #4
    rjay
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    Nice, not many cars get this kind of analysis!


  5. #5
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    Re: Z8 = 1:1.618 ... I noticed the same thing....

    the number Phi - the Divine ratio / number. I too think the Z8 has Divine properties and certainly has Divine Qualities. Has someone been reading the Da Vinci Code lately??? ;-)

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