Author(s): Stephen Bayley
Cars have a talismanic quality. No other manufactured object has the same disturbing allure. More emotions are involved in cars and car design than in any other product: vanity, cupidity, greed, social competitiveness and cultural modelling. But when all this perverse promise ends in catastrophe, these same talismanic qualities acquire an extra dimension. The car crash is a defining phenomenon of popular culture. Death Drive is both an appreciative essay about the historic place of the automobile in the modern imagination and a detailed exploration of the circumstances of twenty celebrity car crashes, from Isadora Duncan in an Amilcar, in 1927, to Helmut Newton in a Cadillac CRX, in 2004. En route the narrative traces one very big arc - the role of the car in extending or creating the personality of a celebrity - and concludes by confronting the imminent death of the car itself.
Stephen Bayley is an author, critic, columnist, consultant, broadcaster, curator and founding director of the influential Design Museum. Over the past thirty years his writing has changed the way the world thinks about design.