Your wake up to find yourself in an alternate universe in the year 1975. Everything looks normal, but it’s not. For one thing, Studebaker and Packard still exist. It also appears that headlight regulations do not.
Welcome to the first in a series of posts featuring AI-generated cars that never existed. In a prior outing I asked the Midjourney AI to create paintings of various classic cars in a forest setting. Now I was asking it for something more challenging: Could it extrapolate what a 1975 Packard or Studebaker would look like if the brands had survived into the seventies?
I generated a LOT of images, so I’m going to split things up by devoting each post to a single model. While working on this, I learned about Midjourney’s limitations and how different art styles can produce better results (or at least hid a multitude of sins).
Let’s start with the 1975 Packard Patrician. As most of the pictures in this post will show, Midjourney still has a serious headlight problem when generating cars that aren’t famous icons:
Seriously, I discarded lots of pictures for odd numbers of headlights: Three one one side, two on another. This was less of a problem for smaller cars, but on the Patrician the AI seemed to compensate for the width by adding more headlights.
It’s easy to give the AI more credit than it’s due. “Ah, of course Packard would be following the market and offering cars that look derivative of Cadillac’s and Lincolns” rather than “The AI is creating a generic 1970s luxury car with a unique grille that is maybe Packard-inspired.”
Midjourney also had a tendency to put a lot of extra gingerbread on these cars (and not just the Packards): Extra windows, gigantic frilly hood ornaments, three or four side marker lights (because you can’t be too safe), double door handles and oddly placed chrome accents. For the sake of brevity I’m not posting those.
One thing I noticed is that throughout the process the AI was very good at generating correct 1975 5-mph bumpers.
A little Cadillac-derivative with what might be double opera windows.
Another style I tried was the “journalism” photo. The reflections and blur tended to obscure the weird details.
Or maybe the AI had to put so much effort into the scene and lighting that there was no processing left to ad embellishments.
On the other end, a “concept sketch” style has the same effect. I the first and only grille I thought to be uniquely Packard (or maybe Edsel?).
The forward cant on the front end adds a little sportiness.
The one looks to me like in 1975 Packard would be doing its best to adapt bodies from the 1960s.
This one looks a bit like a 1975 Bonneville.
Finally, a “mixed media” style can obscure a lot of mistakes. However, it had the added benefit of fixing the headlight issue..
That said, I can’t say that it screams “Packard.”
It’s almost more like a dealer-installed grille cap on a Cadillac.
This is another one that looks like a 1960s body updated for 1975.
Overall, I was impressed that Midjourney got the style of 1975 correct, even if the results weren’t as uniquely Packard as I had hoped.
Next time: Better luck with a lot of Larks!