Comments From Rensselaer Students on Lecture by Pierre Théberge

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There were several issues related to this lecture that I found astounding. One being the fact that the curator was able to find such a wide variety of antique automobiles. It obviously takes quite a bit of networking simply to find one of these fine autos. Then, persuading the owners to let you "borrow" one of them after the owner spends years detailing, restoring, and caring for these antiques, must be like pulling teeth. Another thing I found interesting is the way the vehicles were designed in the past compared to the way they are designed now. It appears to me that automobile designers of the past not only were aiming for aerodynamics and performance, but they also wanted an artistic quality. For example, Pierre mentioned repeatedly that some of the cars of the 30s had an art-deco style characteristic of the period. It seems as though carmakers today have strayed from making cars beautiful, to trying to find optimal tire placement to maximize comfort and stability, and trying to eliminate drag completely to optimize fuel economy. Cars today lack character, and eventually are all going to look basically the same. Gimme one of those old beauties any day. I applaud Monsieur Pierre (?), the curator, for his efforts, in trying to make people see these cars for exactly what they are...beautiful.

I thought that the lecture was wonderful. It isn't often that you are enter- tained in a lecture around here.

I enjoyed the presenter's point of view. The cars were different than I had expected, not the usual 'old vintage car' motif. Very well done.

Overall, I have only one negative, or, more accurately, one suggestion that I would make to the lecturer (I apologize, his name escapes me as I write this), and that is too provide more data on the cars that he talked about. Several times over the course of his presentation, he made statements to the effect of, "This car is very powerful and very, very fast." I think it would have been interesting, especially when he brought the topic up, to inform us exactly how fast "very, very fast" really is. This would have been even more interesting taken the context of the change in cars over the years. Of all the various designs that he showed to us, and all of the cars from many different years, it would have been interesting to see not only how the designs progressed, but also how these changes in design effected the performance of the car. I realize that he was there to talk about the artistic value of the various styles, thus I would suggest this infusion of technical details only when he, as the presentor, brought the topic up himself. I rarely would have thought about the speed or horsepower of the various cars if he had not brought the thought to my mind. Other than this one suggestion, I found the presentation very interesting. I feel he did a great job of not getting too "artsy." This shows his knowledge of his audience. An overly artistic interpretation of this topic on a campus that is as technical as ours probably would not have gone over well. I don't feel that he ran into this problem at all. I also enjoyed his willingness to inject a little humor into his presentation. He used this only a couple of times, but with great effectiveness. All in all, this was an enjoyable experience, and I am glad that I went. This will also make me more aware of similar lectures that will surely come to campus in the future. I thank you for your effort in attaining interesting guest speakers for the Rensselaer community's enjoyment.

I've attended the seminar today and, although I had to sit on the floor because I was late, I found it very interesting. The one thing I agree most to the speaker is that in those days designing and assembling an automobile was really an art, while nowadays people still make a tremendous effort perfecting their design, cars seem to have lost much of their beauty.

I must begrudging admit that I enjoyed myself; the presenter was a VERY engaging speaker. I hope the next one will be as good.

Just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed the automobile lecture given yesterday. It was pretty cool. I liked that model of the first Ferrrari made in 1948. Would have never suspected it to look like that. Totally different from today's. Its interesting to note that many of the cars were in shapes of missiles or planes. Like the golden submarine especially. But there was one thing throughout the whole lecture that was puzzled about. Safety features! Many of the earlier race models had none! No bumbers or anything to prevent the driver from getting smashed up in a crash.

I found the automobile seminar to be more interesting than I expected. I didn't realize that the designs in the early 1900's would be so radical (bullet like, plane like, espcially the electric cars they had). I just wanted to let you know that I enjoyed the seminar and food of course.

The lecture was far more interesting than I had expected. I never thought of the progression of automobile technology in terms of purely design, rather than funcitonality. I was just glancing through Time magazine and found an advertisement for the 1996 Ford Taurus. The smooth lines look very familiar to those of the 1930's vehicles. Maybe automobile designers are finally reverting back to the unified car design, rather than the somewhat disjointed design since the 1960's, as discussed after the lecture. All in all it was a good lecture, I will definitely keep an eye out now for other such lectures.

The lecture itself was not what I expected. I had expected something more technical, but was pleased to discover that it was instead a more abstract display in the creativity of the design of the car. I had never seen many of the cars displayed in the slideshow, especially the cars that were designed like the wings of airplanes, with the fenders also representing this aerodynamic design. It is curious to me however why if this design worked so well with air resistance, why the shapes changed into the current, more box-like design. With the short segment on the futuristic cars, it is interesting to see that they hold the electric car idea common. This is promising to me since I am an EPOW student, and this could possibly be a job opportunity.

I enjoyed the Vollmer Fries Lecture by Monsieur Théberge on Moving Beauty. His presentation of the automobile as a work of art is something that I, and I think many of my fellow engineering students miss. The subject that caught my attention during the lecture was, how automobiles seemed to loose continuity in their design sometime after WW II. The cars of the 60's and 70's became more boxy, segmented and less as one whole design. With the new emphasis on aerodynamic "streamline" designs the cars of the 90's appear to be more fluid and uniform. I would be interested in Monsieur Théberge opinion on this. Does he think the automobile may be going through some sort of a Renissance? And if so are the reasons for this return to "streamline" design the same as they were before?

First I would like to say thanks for hosting such a wonderful program. I personally had no experience in pass history of car. Only some contacts from reading like Motor trend. Mr. Pierre (forgive me for not know his last name) gave a delightful presentation. Not only he was funny but he was familiar with every single car in details. Several car that I was interested was the golden sub-marine and the first Ferrier in 1948. They are beauty. Well, I don't think I can go on the trip on tue but I'm going to visit Montreal this weekend. Can you tell me address of the show in Montreal?

I did enjoy the presentation. I am not very familiar with the history of automotive design. As the lecturer stated, there is not much research going on presently in that field. Mr. Theberge came off as very well informed and I was impressed with his answers to the questions from the audiance.

About the lecture, I did enjoy it and found it really interesting but the term 'classic cars' to me means cars from the 50's and 60's. And mostly American cars. Another thing I disagree with is the way these cars are treated. Sure they are beautiful to look at but they were meant to be driven. If I owned any of those cars it would get taken out regularly. Especially the race cars. I would even race them against other cars.

I was surprised by the amount of European car history virsus American. There were only a few American cars mentioned and I think he was leaving out a huge part of history. I was also expecting a history up to present day, not ending in the 1940s or 50s. What about the Mustang? or Corvette? or minivan? or future/current electric cars? These are some of the items I would have liked to have seen discussed. I was very impressed with the old (and very expensive) cars of the rich people of the world. They were very nice and I hope to have one myself someday. Overall, I though the leacture was well organized, but I would have added more details in some areas.

I really enjoyed the slides of the cars and thought they were very i interesting. I would have enjoyed a little more history on the engineering side but that wasnt the point of the lecture. One question at the end did make me wonder about the role of art in the engineering world. I figure since engineers do most of the designing maybe more aesthetics should be considered in the design.

The first thing is that those cars are amazing. The second Is that I am glad that I reserved a seat on the bus to go see them in person. They must be very impressive in person. I liked the way that in most of the slides an american car was opposing a european car so that the design styles could be compared on an immediate basis. I found myself looking at the cars as almost a sculpture and not as a mode of transportation.

I wanted to let you know that I enjoyed the presentation this past week on the history of car styles. I wish I was going to be around on Tuesday to go to the museum and see them in person. I was inpressed with the turnout; I guess more than just us Fields and Waves students heard about it. It was cool to see some of the first cars that were designed by people such as Porche. Enjoy your trip to Canada.

I really appreciated the lecture last week. I m not particularly knowleddgable about cars, much less the history of cars and yet I found the presentation very interesting. The pictures he had of every vehice on display at the exhibition were very impressive! So that you know I went, here are some facts I wrote down: 1899 -> first car goes 100 km.hour 1929 -> V-8 race cars, and they thought heavier cars will go faster! 1920s -> very elegant detiling on outsides of cars, but super-simple dashes..... Close parallels between cars and airplanes was interesting.... Early 30s -> cars getting smaller, rounded wheel wells, and such Late 30s -> receeding headlights, everything on exterior rouded for aerodynamics 40s & 50s -> More horizontal orientation of cars 1948 -> first ferrari The speaker started to talka bout future cars at the very end but commented on how difficult it is to get information about people's futuristic designs, understandably. He mentioned the idea of recyclable cars, which seems very iteresting. Cars would be made of plastic and aluminum parts that can be melted and resused.... Thanks again for promoting this lecture - it was interesting and informative.

During the lecture, many beautiful automobiles are shown. The speaker of the lecture: Monsieur Theberge, the director of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts, said that there has been argument on whether they should put a "auto show" on an "Museum of Fine Arts". He expressed his opinion that automobiles are also a form of art. Personally, I quite agree with his opinion. Although many people may regard automobile as an engineering product, I think that the design and implementation of many automobiles incorporates the idea of art, beauty, elegance and practicability, which implies that such a design is already a form of art. Actually, besides automobiles, many other engineering products also show the human's instinct of beauty, and thus should also be entitled as some form of art.

I thought the lecture was presented in an interesting and intruigingly different manner than the standard-issue RPI lecture. Rather than focusing on the hard mechanical design and raw number crunching & engineering that goes into the building of automobiles, Pierre focused on the social and periodical influences on the aesthetics of the vehicles and what they represented. I was very happy to be in attendance and hope that future lectures reflect this diverse and well-rounded approach to presenting a different side of a topic. Please forgive spelling errors and creative grammar. :)

I'll be completely honest, I am not an automotive genius or a real fan of classic cars, however, I was captivated by the lecture. I enjoyed the speaker who while describing very intricate features of automobile design (in terms of the actual body design instead of what's under the hood) spoke in layman's terms and was even very humorous by referring to certain designs as "crazy", "ridiculous", etc. Many of the cars on display I had heard of but never really looked at. I thought that the use of slides/pictures of the museum display as the backdrop for the lecture was great. From a historical perspective, I liked seeing the logical (or illogical) progression of style throughout the years and I am sorry that such care and detail is virtually nonexistant in todays automobiles. It was somewhat shocking to see that many car designs were developed under the principles of flight and the use of wing-like structure. Airfoil design in cars was something I had never heard of. Other interesting features which have been passed by were the triple headlight design, intricate chrome on the body, and vertical grills. Overall I enjoyed the lecture and will be on the lookout for moving beauty in the future.

overall, it was pretty good. some of the cars were very interesting to say the least. but after the fist 15 minutes or so, it started to bore me since cars are not my greatest interest.