I wasn’t expecting such a nice reaction to the imaginary AI-generated 1975 Avantis so I planned this post as a kind of palette cleanser where I could share my early Midjourney AI car efforts without getting too hung up on accuracy.
Some of these look nice and are the precursors to what you’ve already seen (there are a lot of Larks and Packards here). Some are simply amateurish, which often happens when you don’t give the AI enough information about the style of image you’d like. And some are just fun and weird and hopefully you’ll find them amusing. I tried to group these pictures in a way that made sense to me so they aren’t in chronological order so the style and quality are going to shift around quite a bit.
I started out with the premise of an imaginary car company with a styling theme of an inverted triangular grille. (Think Alfa-Romeo but less rounded at the corners). The idea was to ask the AI to generate cars from decade to decade, showing how that theme got adapted to different styling trends. I started in 1920.
…then went on to 1930. Spoiler: Not one car got an inverted triangular grille.
1949 was much like a Chevy. Also, since I didn’t specify color, the AI assumed I wanted a photograph from that era, hence the black and white.
1958 as an ineffective approach to quad headlamps.
I tried 1958 again since I didn’t like how the first attempt was cropped.
Suddenly it’s 1960 and we’re getting the first hints of the “Midjourney likes lots of headlights” issue.
1965 reminds me of a Chevy II. Is there maybe the slightest hint of the inverted triangular grille?
I gave up on the triangular grille theme and just started playing around. This is “1965 luxury car.”
A 1970 Packard Clipper with a chrome problem. Here I’m learning how to put the car in a setting by asking for an advertising style image,
This is supposed to be the front end of a 1975 Packard Clipper.
A 1975 Crosley. This is probably one of the last things I did before I got serious about generating Larks for an article.
I asked for 1975, but I’m thinking 1967.
A 1977 Packard. A lot of my early pictures had an orange headlight problem. I think it is supposed to indicate that the headlights are on. Also, note the watermark in the lower right-hand corner, which the AI decided must appear in images of this type. I’ve had some images actually duplicate the criss-cross watermarks of stock images.
Oh, I did try an inverted triangle grille car from 1978. Based on the rear view mirrors I think this is supposed to be the front end.
Another 1978 inverted triangle grille car. It looks like a bad rendition of an AMC.
And again. Early on the images I got were oddly cropped. Rectangular headlights flipped on their side? That would have been interesting if it were legal.
One last try at 1978.
1995 Packard. That’s some kind of greenhouse
Another 1995 Packard. Maybe a bit more realistic, but oddly proportioned.
A 2000 Corvair. Maye the air-cooled engine is in the front?
A 2022 Caprice. I don’t love it but it captured recent Chevy styling themes pretty well.
Another 2022 Caprice. Despite the cropping, I think that scalloping behind the front wheel works.
A 2022 Chevette. It looks like a Nova with a thyroid problem.
A 2022 Citation. At this point I think it’s just giving me generic Chevrolet.
How about this one? I don’t know if I like it but it’s interesting.
A 2022 Cutlass. It looks like it just extrapolated not very far from an early 70’s model. Apparently, this IS your father’s Oldsmobile.
A 2022 Grand Prix.
This 2022 Monte Carlo looks like an Uraban Assault Vehicle. Check out those A-pillars!
This one is better. But a Monte Carlo sedan? Really? Have you no shame, Midjourney?
A 2022 Riviera looks wrong in so many ways. Note that Midjourney doesn’t seem to know much about current Buicks the way it does Chevrolets, so it had to draw from its generic Buick-from-the-past knowledge.
A 2022 Trans Am. I can see this on the current Camaro platform. But really, only one arrowhead on the nose is necessary.
Here’s a little detour into automotive magazine covers from different eras, starting with 1941.
Eventually I saw someone generate some very awesome images of Japanese sports cars in futuristic settings with unusual lighting. I
stole borrowed their prompts and substituted “Studebaker Lark” for the car name.
It did a very odd thing. It put models in the pictures. The images that ispired me had none, and yet here they were. This is also supposed to be a Laek.
This is a Pontiac Chieftain with a slice of cheesecake I didn’t ask for.
A Packard Clipper. I kept adding things like “no people” to my image prompts to no avail. Some neon is showing up on the side of the cars, which is interesting.
Another Clipper and the lighting is getting wild.
A Hudson Hornet that looks more like a Mercury.
I’m pretty sure that Midjourney doesn’t know what a Hudson Hornet is and settled on Mutant Buick.
A Lark with some side contouring that looks like water splashing out from the wheel wells. Oh, and those wheels are a bit extreme.
A Roadmaster. Those rearview mirrors looks a bit dangerous.
More recognizable as a Buick. Was there ever an aftermarket kit to light up the portholes? That would be cool.
I started to figure out how to dial back on the lighting effects for this Buick. Nice hat?
Another attempt at a Lark. That grille is pretty cool.
A Packard Clipper. Dialing back the lighting effects also seemed to cause the unwanted models to dress more conservatively.
Toning down the lighting a bit more for this Lark. Interesting fenders.
There’s a vestige of the neon lighting around the grille on this Lark, but otherwise this might be mistaken for an advertising image for am early 1960’s Japanese car.
It doesn’t looks like a Lark, but you could fool me into thinking this was a real advertising image if not for the model’s deformed face.
Next time: Some Hawks take flight.
Fuzz – you are really taking your work to another level. These results both illustrate both the strengths and weaknesses of generative AI.
Your triangular grille experiments show that when asking for generic period cars, the AI can’t truly think outside of the box – what it generates is just a pastiche of elements from other period cars, and not anything truly “creative.” Kind of like the deliberately anonymous cars use in magazine ads of yore (see links at end of comment for examples)
On the other hand, the futuristic examples at the end of your post – Wow! Maybe it is getting inspiration from some training images, but what I see here is bordering on true creativity. The light-up trim, the wild shapes are truly amazing. The Lark with the googly-eyed headlight is particularly amazing – The wheels and the spash/flames embossed directly into the body looks stunning and is something I would have never thought of.
Deliberately Anonymous Cars:
The more I advanced on the last photos, the less I looked at the cars…and yet the renditions are the most successful on those last one.
Once again, I’m blown away. I’ve always had a big thing about alternate reality cars, as that’s what I see a lot of in my dreams as well as back when I took hallucinogens. You’re taking me right back to both of those, but this time I can stop and really examine them in the light of day.
It’s truly remarkable what this system can come up with. Unfettered creativity. Some of these are really quite good, in terms of stylistic qualities.
The 1975 Crosely and Edsel are both fantastic. The 1965 is a sharp design as well.
The last set with the ramped up lighting is extremely impressive.
Sooner or later, someone is going to take an AI rendering of an imaginary car, and build it for real. That should be fun, and it should also create a bunch of arguments from the more wild-eyed types 🙂
The lead image of the Chevrolet whatever looks exactly like what the 1962 Dodge should have been. The roofline actually reflects what Exner had originally planned, too.
If it had been like the rendering, the whole downsizing fiasco might not have been such a debacle, after all. Definitely seems like an opportunity squandered needlessly.
My thoughts exactly!
That second Caprice looks more like an AI attempt at an Acura. TSX windows and TLX sidelines.
The first 1975 Edsel pic is the one I like. It has Cougar XR-7 written all over it, as though the Edsel is the Cougar’s sister car on the same platform.
The color is perfect for it too!
I’ll give credit where it’s due. I rarely specify a color. The AI just seems to pick colors appropriate for the era.
That 2022 Monte Carlo is onlly missing a push bar on the front for a more aggressive look.
The early 70s Cutlass looks to be from 70-72, but I agree is kind of busy. Some mag wheels might make it a 4-4-2.
The picture with the caption “Another 1978 inverted triangle grille car. It looks like a bad rendition of an AMC” looks like a second generation of the 1974 through 1978 AMC Matador based on the window between the B & C pillars.
The ’75 Crosley is pretty much a rebadged Fiat, in other words a Yugo. Plausible inference. If the importer had used the Crosley brand, it might have sold better, especially to people who wanted really dry windshields.
Awesome pics of the cars.
But I may have nightmares about those “models” in some of them. Looking at them just messes me up in the worst way. My brain screams “Wrong, Danger, Evil!” and other primal s**t.
Starting with your third sentence, I’m here to tell you you’re not the only one. I’ll have nothing to do with any of this.
I thought you, of all people, would appreciate all the extra headlights.
For me it doesn’t even get to the border of the state containing the county containing the metropolitan area containing the town containing the ballpark of any questions about headlamps. I don’t mean to asperse your efforts or the fun you’re having; my problem isn’t the sandcastles you’re building, it’s the sandbox.
In general the bogus notion of ‘artificial intelligence’ is irritating, and in particular a steady stream of overheated, breathless, hypey nonsense on the topic sluices across my desk every week and I have to read it in the process of copyediting it. If I take out all the fibs and fabulations, I get whinged at by those trying to coattail and capitalise on the fad by means of the buzzwords.
There are other reasons, too, but I don’t mean this to become too much of a screed (it should be just enough of a screed, I guess).
I hear you. They could all be props for a various versions or sequels of Stephen King’s “From a Buick 8” novel (interplanetary way stations masquerading as cars, created by aliens and based on pictures). Those of you who are unfamiliar with the book, see here:
Oh, I know. AI the hot thing and everyone is giving it far too much credit (though I have found it useful for generating simple PowerShell or YML scripts).
I was just joking, having enjoyed several deep dives into automotive lighting in your COALs. (Well, deep dives for me. I’m sure you kept it high level for the masses).
Wow, I have to try this
Another great batch of creative inspirations. Keep them coming!
Your lead image of the AI-Generated 1975 Avanti immediately calls to mind two sources of inspiration. I’m hoping to see more design like that on future cars.
First is the 2012 Alfa Romero Disco Volante. A favorite retro design of mine inspired by the original from 1952.
Second is the SR-71 Blackbird aeronautical chine.
Here is the SR-71 Blackbird with trademark chine nose view.
ventiports are out of control on those buicks
The “2022 Corvair” looks more 1960s. In fact it reminded me a lot of the Ford Consul Capri in an alternate reality or maybe rebodied by an Italian Carozzeria. So I tweaked it a bit to present the 1962 Ford Capri by Ghia:
I like it!
Amazing! enjoyed seeing this very much. wish some of these were real! Thanks for making and posting it.
These pics give me the heebie-jeebies.