Modern car keys annoy me. Some keys are almost as large as some cell phones. They're huge. Sure, they have the remote on them and such, but many people today have too many and too large things weighing them down: Cell phones are one lump in a pocket we didn't have twenty years ago, wallets have grown an extra fold and carry all kinds of cards that they did not used to, and to top it all off, car keys had to swell to the size of cigarette lighters (something I thankfully do not
Magazine articles and forum threads across the world have lately called attention to car keys, critiqueing them, and even referring to some of them as "sculpture". Well, I call them ugly. All of them. Big fugly keys are like the SUV rat race -- bigger for no healthy reason, and ugly through inefficiency of form.
And the worst offenders are luxury marques. Take Bentley, with the thinly disguised VW keys. What kind of luxury or sophistication is having to carry that brick around? If these makers of advanced and "exclusive" cars were really offering something special, their fancy keys with remote controls would perform all of the same functions as those on a Chrysler, but would be smaller
. Bigger is not always better!
And that's where I think the Italians got it right, many years ago. A car key is not
a phallic symbol. My first (and only previous) Italian car was a 1976 Lancia Scorpion (Montecarlo). Its two keys were tiny. Now I have my 308. Again, tiny keys. They're great. I hate carrying things on my person, and try to minimize everything; my wallet is a slim bifold, I bought the smallest cell phone I could find and only carry it when I need to, and the 308 keys are the least obtrusive of any car I own.
Not long ago, someone asked me (of all people) why older Ferrari keys are so small. I half jokingly said, "Because you don't want an unsightly and uncomfortable lump in your pocket when wearing your finest Italian chinos."
I was kidding, but honestly, that makes practical sense in a way that a people who are masters of art and beauty would probably think of.
The epitome, of course, was the folding key.
Too bad that, today, even Ferrari keys have gotten bulky and unsightly.
Long live the tiny keys of classic Ferraris!