Will.I.Am understands what luxury cars should be
Will.I.Am is not just a musician and producer; he is also interested in the automotive world and his latest creation is the result of a partnership with Mercedes-AMG. Together the two built a unique luxury coupe, known as The Flip. It’s a departure from his previous car design exercises, which were much more… flashy, and in my opinion, those early cars represent someone still finding their sea feet in the relatively difficult language of automotive design.
However, his new exercise in vehicle styling is a complete departure from the previous cars he has commanded. And while it’s not just stylistically better, I think it showcases what luxury cars should be verifiable.
It’s the flip. It’s a heavily modified Mercedes-Benz AMG GT 4-Door Coupe built by West Coast Customs with the face of a G-Wagen, reverse-hinged doors and branding from the brand’s new clothing line. Will.I.Am known as the Bear Witness in place of the traditional three-pointed star insignia. It is nicely designed; the body lines of a coupe in fact To do works best with two doors (who knew), and overall the Flip seems to be pulled straight from the futuristic clip of “THE” Even if you hate the final product, the style is almost entirely irrelevant to me: the Will.I.AMG creation is here to make a statement without justifying itself, and that sets it apart from most modern worldviews on the wealth and opulence.
By comparison, the modern wealthy generally buy cars that make sense on a semi-rational plane of thought. For example, the two cars that Will.I.Am derives much of its parts from, the AMG GT 4-Door and the G-Wagen, both clearly have purposes. The AMG GT 4-Door is one of the most capable high-performance sedans ever built, with The S 4Matic+ variant zips around the famous Nurburgring circuit at a breakneck pace of 7:23:01making it the fastest four-door ever around the Green Hell and a four seconds faster on the German circuit than the Ferrari 812 Superfast. Do you need to own the fastest sports sedan in the world to cruise the 101 at an average speed of 24 km/h? No of course not. But statistics can prove that you have made a rational purchase.
The G-Wagen has a similar mentality. For a six-figure sum, commuters can boast nine and a half inches of ground clearance in an urban tank with a zero to 60 in the four-second range and nearly 600 horsepower. Most owners, if my time spent wandering around Los Angeles has taught me anything, will never use either feature to their fullest, but the spec sheet proves to skeptical passers-by who scoff at its decently priced as a two-bedroom condo it’s a top-level choice.
And that stands in direct contrast to the opulence of bygone eras, when luxury cars were as much about declaring ownership status as providing unique performance or comfort to their owners. And that’s where The Flip shines: it’s inherently plush and commands attention without really focusing on its spec sheet. Yes, it sports the same AMG-derived powertrain as the four-door platform it’s built on, but the focus of the car is its style – and by extension, its owner’s style – more than all. the bragging rights its engine earns. The long hood and square jawline recall the classic Lincolns and Cadillacs of yore, when the massive hood arrived at its destination long before the driver’s doors; reverse-hinged doors are not designed for ease of entry, but for pure style of exit. In short, it’s a car to arrive on the red carpet, to hell with the justification.
And it’s not just my interpretation of the creation of Will.I.Am; he says it in his own words. In the car’s original press release, it states, “I grew up with hip hop. I watched a legendary hip hop artist[s] rap about Mercedes, so it’s always been a dream to own a Mercedes. For many inner-city kids, owning a Mercedes is a symbol of progress and getting out of the struggle.“ The choice of a Benz platform was intentionally driven by ambitious goals driven by a culture with personal meaning, rather than hard data in a spec box.
In an interview with hypebeast, he further explained this concept: “I come from The Projects, I lived in Boyle Heights for 27 years. My mother grew up in The Projects and she was there for 50 years. Yes, I had a length of d advance because music was my entry point into building, because of my musical success, but what that tells them is that most of the people who built the car are black and brown Our predicament and our setup as described does not mean it has to be that way forever…Lewis Hamilton is proof of that – he joined a profession in which blacks did not practice and dominated it . “
The fact that the car was built for the auction, the proceeds of which are intended to help poor students access a better and more forward-looking education, only strengthens his argument. This car is meant to represent the imagery of success that was seemingly out of reach.
The philosophy of The Flip, in light of this, is as much a vindication of owner efforts as a triumph of engineering superlatives. The ambitious influence of the Will.I.AMG echoes the spirit of classic Cadillacs bought by black Americans as provocative symbols of accomplishment at a time when dealers expressly limited sales to white buyers. That the huge 472-cubic-inch Cadillac V8s of the ’70s were the most powerful big blocks on the street didn’t matter; what did it do despite societal blockages, the owners always had one, and the prestige belonged to them. With all of that in mind, I really think Will.I.Am is finally hitting its automotive design stride. The end product may not be universally loved, but its purpose is clear and I believe its execution follows. It’s a luxury car driven by human aspiration – and the enlargement of who can aspire – rather than mechanical pursuit.