Playboy Land Yacht Concept by Syd Mead

Marginalia

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"... you'll see that the yacht's pointed nose serves two functions: It provides the aerodynamic styling that a machine of this size demands and it allows for the four lounge seats up front to be arranged at a 45-degree angle to the axis of the vehicle, thus saving considering interior space."

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"For night driving, the yacht's front lighting consists of two swing-down iodine quartz lamps, plus four normal high/low/intermediate lights, which are folded back when off, swinging out against adjustable stops (for proper aiming) when the sliding cover door is activated. In addition, a front-scanning infrared lamp produces a wide-angle fan of radiation, for pickup on the yacht's console-mounted TV screen. What you see in the monitor is an infrared-filter view of the roadway. This system is an outgrowth of the exotic Air Force fighter-pilot technology, which produces an animated, terrain-characteristic "picture" in front of the pilot, regardless of the weather or visibility conditions."

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"When our land yacht is parked, its brain box (front center) can be closed and pivoted to double as a cocktail table. The bath is shown with its door cut away; to its left are the food-prep unit and audio-video center. At rear, you see the open-air skylight with its electronic sun deck partially lowered."

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"This is the rear lounge -- and that bed, gentlemen, measures seven feet by six feet. In the center, below the TV and the movie projector (a screen rolls down over the rear window, foreground), is the bar capsule; it's lined with crushed velvet, like the phone container to its right."

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"The nocturnal view -- through the rear window -- shows the expandable bathroom wall. Atop is the sun deck; when traveling, a bubble of air arches over the space so that the deck can be open. Obviously, the couple pictured here couldn't care less about all of this."

Most people have probably experienced Syd Mead’s work without ever really knowing who was behind it, but only knew that it was awesome. It’s amazing how Mead’s futuristic concepts have blanketed our everyday culture, from various architectural renderings to major studio work on feature films such as Bladerunner, Star Trek, TRON, Short Circuit, Aliens, Johnny Mnemonic, and Mission Impossible 3. And then there’s the transportation design stuff, his first love. His Playboy Land Yacht concept was first published by Playboy magazine in 1975, and is supposed to be the embodiment of “the great American dream machine — a wonder home on wheels that even drives itself.”

THE OLD CHUCK BERRY SONG No Money Down told about a fantasy Cadillac with a bed in the back, phone, TV, shortwave radio and other optional extras; but the machine Chuck sang about couldn’t touch what’s pictured here and on the following pages. The land yacht we commissioned Detroit designer Syd Mead to create is a six-wheel wonder vehicle that combines many of today’s mechanical innovations with some space-age technology that you can expect to be incorporated into tomorrow’s assembly-line mobile homes. Not only does it contain almost all the same amenities you would ordinarily leave behind when embarking on an extended trip, or just out for a day’s cruise, it can also drive itself — via electronic sensors — while you and a companion relax in the yacht’s luxurious front lounge.

Obviously, I’m a huge fan of Syd Mead’s body of work, but coolness and sexiness and luxury aside, all this prompts me to ask several questions: Is this “great American dream machine” still considered part of the American dream? Isn’t the American dream dead, anyway? Isn’t the modern land yacht basically a despised Hummer? I mean, we now have Google cars that drive themselves, and insane motor homes with more amenities than your actual home, but are our lives richer and fuller because of it? What are the new expectations for our future? I’ll probably be mulling over all this while my land yacht drives itself around the block.

via Angie Audio

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April 13, 2011

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Christy

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