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HarleyEarl

Who was the first?

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As I drive around, of course I'm always observing vehicles around me, it's some sort of obsession I have.

So I got thinking of things about current design details that so many manufacturers share.

I was wondering, who was the first?

A. Plastic covered bumpers

B. 'Round' tailights, meaning this overdone trend of round within a larger form.

C. Rear spoilers

D. Huge headlights....will this ever go away?

E. Wedge/triganular tailights....I have grown to dislike this shape....almost every car does it.

F. Five spoke wheels...has become so generic.

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Good question....I meant the plastic covered higher impact bumpers. But heck, let's expand it....who was also the first to cover conventional bumpers with 'plastic'?

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The answer to E would be Mercedes-Benz, I think. I can't recall exactly which model, however. I am not totally sure I am right on this.

Edited by YellowJacket894
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Good question....I meant the plastic covered higher impact bumpers. But heck, let's expand it....who was also the first to cover conventional bumpers with 'plastic'?

Probably Pontiac w/ the '68 GTO. Plastic bumpers didn't really become wide spread until the late '70s...

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E. Wedge/triganular tailights....I have grown to dislike this shape....almost every car does it.

Harley...you, as a world-famous designer, should know reasons for such things. The "triangular tailights" allow for as much metal as possible and a low cut-out for the trunk without sacrificing body strength.

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It's also mind-numbingly boring.

Merc had triangular taillights in '57-59 AND they wrapped around the side for safety.

...Mercury that is:

1957MercuryTailLight_Woman.jpg

Like moltar posted: Pontiac is the first that comes to mind with the Endura 'rubber' bumper on the '68 GTO.

Rear spoilers go way back: '66-67 Chargers had them; integrated, not tacked on -- there you might have to go to '69- when a LOT of marques offered them on a whole host of cars.

The huge headlight thing is still on the upswing, unfortunately. Apparently a plactic lense is cheaper than sheetmetal- some cars' lights reach back beyond the front wheel center. They'll touch the A-pillar before they retreat, I think.

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I think you guys are right about the '68 GTO as the first to cover their bumper in 'plastic'.

Good find on that Mercury having the one of the first pizza slice rear lense. In modern times, definitely Mercedes really got this going. It's become so predictable. Did low lift over height for trunks make this popular?

And I do believe it was Chrysler who got the rear spoiler thing going. Amazing how this has held on and I see no end in sight. I just walked by a Pontiac Buick GMC dealership and they had a new Pontiac Pursuit 4-door sedan with a much too big spoiler stuck on the trunk....just plain embarassing.

I'm wondering about the large headlight trend....did it get started by the Toyota Celica, most recent edition?

The round tailight within a larger element may have begun with the Mercury Cougar, the last model. And this car may have started the blistered look on front and rear lenses. Some car makers have gone way too far with this.

Edited by HarleyEarl
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I'm wondering about the large headlight trend....did it get started by the Toyota Celica, most recent edition?

The round tailight within a larger element may have begun with the Mercury Cougar, the last model. And this car may have started the blistered look on front and rear lenses. Some car makers have gone way too far with this.

Actually, I think you'd have to look further back. The early 80s Aero-cats had round lights inside of square bezels did they not?

A styling trend I'm glad that died was the "light bar" front grill, ala Sable, Villager, Topaz, and Grand Prix.

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A styling trend I'm glad that died was the "light bar" front grill, ala Sable, Villager, Topaz, and Grand Prix.

Umm ...

car_photo_215087_7.jpg

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WRT physically attached spoilers/ stand-up spoilers (as opposed to integrated in-the-sheetmetal spoilers), a whole bunch came out in '69 : Judge, Trans Am, Hurst/Olds, Daytona (!), Eliminator, Mach 1, etc. I can't think of an American stand-up spoiler prior to '69.

Anyone ever see the roof spoiler on the '71 Javelins ?

I was thinking of the celica WRT the current giant headlight trend...

>>"Did low lift over height for trunks make this popular?"<<

Yeah; the new emphasis on getting a lower lift-over height on everything neccessitated an angled slice and allowing a relatively small slice of body in which to put a lense. Couple this with smaller & smaller cars/trunks, there's just not a whole lot of room to get creative back there anymore.

Seems also that the 'aero' profiles (low hood, high trunk) also may have contributed to this somewhat, rear bumpers seemingly got a lot higher/taller to try and mask the disproportionate new heights of the rear, so decklids were brought lower to compensate. This sometimes gives you treatments like -say- the current civic, with chunky bumper corners, but a decklid that cuts noticably into the bumper plane (and here with the 'minivan cut'- never been quite sure what the purpose was with that).

This is also, I believe, the unfortunate genesis of using panel seams as styling elements, calling visual attention to all the body's 'cracks'.

Edited by balthazar
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Balthazar, great observations on this.

Oh man, those 'cracks'.....I hate seeing the trunk or hood cutlines from the side.....BMW got this going big time....its everywhere now. And while on the subject, these new hardtop convertibles....so many distracting lines.

I owned a 1974 AMC AMX once and yes it had a little roof spoiler built in. Still one of my favorite non-GM cars.

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Euro only and thankfully rare. I only saw one in my two weeks there.

I find it funny that the previous European Civic Type-R is a better car than the newer one.

I also have a friend who is from the UK and is planning on returning there at the end of the month. He was actually planning on buying a newer Civic soon after his return. Not that it is a bad car, it isn't, but I would rather buy an Alfa 147 over it, depreciation issues aside. That is what I advised him to look into after he returned home.

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I'm worried light bar grills may return.

The new Audi R8 supercar and their new coupe does some cool effects with lighting...only a matter of time until this becomes trend with some bizarre applications. You heard it here first.

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I absolutely despise the huge headlight trend, as well as the clear lens/ round within a blister tallight styling.

Overused and plain ugly.

Design has become lazy overall and far too subservient to aerodynamics, production ease, and crash regulation.

That's why I bow down when the all-to-rare design focused on the beauty of the car actually sneaks into the market.

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I think of all current trends I loathe the most, its the gigantism of headlights. So out of proportion to the vehicle.

The second is this new thing with rear tailights looking like headlights, as if red should be banished.

I'm not a Honda fan, but I like the Civics front end in isolation...love that linear, horizontal look.

And I really like the new BMW 3-Series coupe tailights...that nice wide look...so refreshing to see.

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I think of all current trends I loathe the most, its the gigantism of headlights. So out of proportion to the vehicle.

The second is this new thing with rear tailights looking like headlights, as if red should be banished.

I'm not a Honda fan, but I like the Civics front end in isolation...love that linear, horizontal look.

And I really like the new BMW 3-Series coupe tailights...that nice wide look...so refreshing to see.

I completely agree, and not just because of your current sig pic. :AH-HA_wink:

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>>"Design has become lazy overall and far too subservient to aerodynamics, production ease, and crash regulation."<<

Unfortunately... these very criteria have already spelled the end to unique design- it's all left up to the headlights, wheel & taillights now. Roofs all the same, windshields flush & laid far back, giant rubbermaid Mitten-Grip ™ door handles..., the fat lady is tuning up.

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>>"Design has become lazy overall and far too subservient to aerodynamics, production ease, and crash regulation."<<

Unfortunately... these very criteria have already spelled the end to unique design- it's all left up to the headlights, wheel & taillights now. Roofs all the same, windshields flush & laid far back, giant rubbermaid Mitten-Grip ™ door handles..., the fat lady is tuning up.

Which means that any design that can transcend all of that will be hailed as "stunning".

And I will pay attention to it.

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