SL Aiken 1961: The first car for Instagram

Written by By Ellis Riekena, CNN But any potential buyers may need more than horsepower to sway them. The aching sensation of being manhandled around in the hands of a local shepherd can make…

SL Aiken 1961: The first car for Instagram

Written by By Ellis Riekena, CNN

But any potential buyers may need more than horsepower to sway them. The aching sensation of being manhandled around in the hands of a local shepherd can make the SL Aiken drive — and the experience — downright uncomfortable. But it’s not the ride that’s the issue: it’s the shoes.

In 1910, the automobile didn’t arrive in America until after the SS Panamericana had been parked in an Atlanta warehouse, where the rear wheels would leave a long, bumpy mess. It was a rough-and-tumble ride — the equivalent of taking a gallon of gasoline with you on the ride.

As the century moved on, a car became a sports car and the road got more demurely paved. Yet a full-throttle, hill-climbing $175,000 sports car didn’t seem entirely antiquated, as long as it could perform to the utmost.

Cartier at the Stock Car Dodge Dealers Show in Los Angeles Credit: Cartier

Lifestyle and safety aside, the target market of this vehicle — and the average U.S. consumer — can be charted by their propensity for the mythological horses of a bygone age. Most Americans who aren’t Luther Vandross or ZZ Top can relate to the need to carry a behemoth in their pockets.

“It’s a good pick for modern-day Americans,” Brooks Harrison, marketing director of Advance Material, tells CNN Travel. “It’s getting into the saddle of culture on a global scale in a way that even the early SL Aids owners couldn’t have imagined.”

The horse yearns for dominance

Just how big is a rooie supposed to be? According to Advance Material’s website, it’s “about as large as two spaceships, one inside and one outside” — both of which, it’s worth noting, are around 10 feet wide and 5 feet tall.

It’s not a monster mash; it’s a streamlined bull run with a speed-sapping tonnage. It doesn’t travel over bridges and swing in a big arc — it explodes off of dunes in fiery sparks. The horse yearns for dominance; the SL Aiken does not.

The king of bling

For the most part, the SL’s 26 words are self-explanatory. One word sums up what it’s capable of: Car. You will never mistake it for a sedan or any other class of transportation for that matter.

“We wanted it to evoke the aura of an absolute king from the 1960s and ’70s — the bling king,” Daniel Martinez, lead designer of the SL Aiken, tells CNN Travel. “But in another word.”

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