Slovak designer Ivan Venkov’s Alessian 2012 is quite a shock from a country which lost its association with awesome cars when it split off from Czechoslovakia in 1993. It’s weirder than a Mitsuoka Orochi, more flame-surfaced than a Chris Bangle dream of world domination, and it’s got the perfect sinister counterpart from Slovak history: Elizabeth Báthory.
At a family dinner some months ago, my father dropped the delicious genealogy bomb that we have some Báthorys among our ancestors. This I hadn’t known but the name needed no introduction: The Báthory family was a political powerhouse in Central Europe in the late Middle Ages who produced, among a bunch of Hungarian noblemen and a Polish king, the prolific serial killer Elizabeth Báthory who allegedly murdered hundreds in her castle and bathed in their blood. She’s the namesake of a Swedish black metal band and lives on as a McFarlane action figure which shows her in her bathtub. Let’s call her auntie for the moment.
It may show a lack of taste to glorify serial killers in the family, but if Uzbekistan can get away with all the Tamerlane statues I’ll cut my auntie some slack. Besides, she was never actually convicted of anything, only her associates were. The hundreds of murdered peasant girls, the bathtubs of blood, the rampant vampirism, well, who knows? The only thing that’s certain is that she died in August 1614 in modern-day Slovakia, imprisoned in her home, Csejte Castle. And that she would have needed a proper ride instead of all that low-tech medieval gear. What did people drive back in those days, horse-driven carriages? Pshaw.
The Alessian 2012 is what she would have needed. It may be no more car than wicked Photoshop but then my auntie may have been no more vampire than the victim of a power struggle between the Báthorys and the Habsburgs. But would you look at it! The car, not my auntie. It’s deliriously ugly at first glance…but then it isn’t. The H.R. Giger silhouette. The proportions of a late-1930s BMW. And all the crazy organic lines, echoing and distorting your idea of what a coupé should look like.
“Today’s production hasn’t surpassed the past in complexity of aesthetics, yet the technologies have evolved greatly” is what designer Venkov gives as the rationale behind his car and complexity in aesthetics it certainly has in spades. Also, an odd number of extravagant sidepipes. Which is a good thing.
Whatever allegedly happened in Slovakia 400 years ago is ancient history. But what’s apparently happening these days on the computers of Slovak designers is amazing. I’m sure my auntie would approve.
Thanks to Ivan Venkov for the images. You can see his car from more angles on his site.