There is no beauty that hath not some strangeness about its proportions,” so quoteth one Francis Bacon.
Another wag added: “Beauty lies in the eyes of the beholder,” and that went on to be modified in various ways, with “beholder” being swapped for “beer-holder” and, for automotive interiors, “cup-holder”.
Anyway, Mr Bacon had his own reasons for saying whatever he said, but it is the other philosopher whose words are of interest.
He was right: our perception of beauty is subjective, dependent on personal tastes and preferences.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in the world I live in, Planet Petrol, where tastes vary across a wide spectrum and where one man’s poison could be another man’s Toyota RAV4.
On the other hand, while beauty is subjective, sheer ugliness is universal: the visually offensive aberrations that make children disobedient, make wives unfaithful and turn men violent; the sort of ugliness responsible for the lack of peace in the Middle East; the grotesque looks that curdle milk even when pasteurised and frozen.
Simply put, the blinding mistakes that make our friends laugh at us as they ask “what in the name of all that is self-propelled were you thinking when buying a Toyota Opa?”
It is this philosophical vein that sets the tone of today’s column — another list broken into two parts: beauty and the beast, and we open the Miss Ugly contest with the self-same Toyota Opa lurking just outside the top three.
To keep things pertinent, I have decided to limit the contestants to vehicles available in the country right now, either brand new, or on dealer forecourts (within the 8-year import age limit, and in sufficient numbers).
Otherwise the flood of white goods from the Pacific Rim (which are, thankfully, not marketed here much) would fill a Top 100 Ugly Cars all on their own.
While the list itself is shocking in its composition, even more shocking are the contestants who narrowly missed entry: there are at least three or more BMWs (one of them the X6) and a Benz or two that would have made it had I decided to expand the list to cover 10 or 15 cars, never mind the numerous other Asian imports (Mahindra, you lucky bastard) that are all on sale at the moment.
Cars like the SsangYong Rodius (eugh!) also escape the dragnet because they are few and far between.