Posted by: Raphael Orlove | January 11, 2010

Snow in Berlin

So I don’t know if you’ve noticed from other bloggers, but there certainly has been a certain snowiness to German for the past while and that presents not only many challenges but many opportunities as well for those living under that big white blanket. Certainly there are the usual snowbound complications of trudging your way hither and thither, forgetting what it feels like to have non-frozen toes, but this heaving frozen mass carpeting Berlin has something else up its sleeve for me. Not only does all of this snow add a degree of built-in difficulty to scouting Berlin’s streets for interesting cars, but the weather covers up all of those cars that an owner might find less than practical to venture out with into the snow-covered maze of city streets. These cars are not the most reliable, they’ve got skinny tires, they slip all through traffic and in the case of an accident, they’re not very safe. These cars are old, they’re not in the best shape, and they’re exactly what I’m looking for! However, when I do stumble upon some old gem, even though the snow covers up most of the car’s shape, all of that snow does make the small, interesting details of a car (at least those that stick out into the cold air) really shine out to the trained eye. Now, some of my favorite cars are classic Volvos from the fifties and sixties. From their strong racing histories of sliding sideways through snow-covered Scandinavian roads, “flying Finns” at the wheel, to their scaled down copies of classic American post-war designs (take a look at a 1955 Chrysler 300 and a 1965 Volvo Amazon and you’ll understand), these Swedish cars stay close to my heart. I was ecstatic when I found this Volvo 444 in a fetching red and I was captivated at how the snow seemed to highlight its simple curves and sharp details.



  1. Utterly fascinating. I never stopped to think about the source of the mental images that designers have in mind when they design cars. (Of course they also think about mechanical and economic constraints, regulations, etc.) Do they imagine cars based on car ads, and in turn do those car ads feature certain kinds of weather as well as certain kinds of roads, scenery and context? In other words, did Swedish designers have–consciously or unconsciously–snow cover in their minds, to some extent at least? Or is the snowed-upon look of cars simply an entirely unforeseen opportunity to see a particular car in a new way?

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