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balthazar

The Cove

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This is a "cove", a sheltered inlet where land meets water.  It's indented / concave shape is obvious.

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In automotive terms, the 'cove panel' was a widespread stylistic treatment found at the rear of a vehicle.  While other locations have also been termed the same (the '56-62 Corvette's side scoop comes readily to mind), I would like to focus on the rear of vehicles.  Part of the reason for that is; at one point the rear of vehicles got as much design attention as the front, roughly the mid '50s into the late '60s. But that standard fell by the wayside, and most modern cars wear quite bland rears.

Like the geographical feature, the automotive cove panel would be a framed / concave section of the bodywork.  One example would be the groundbreaking '65 Corvair :

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 4.18.11 PM.png

To further define the treatment, I'd like to focus on painted cove panels.  From a production standpoint, it took at extra assembly step to mask off and paint a secondary color in such a relatively small area.  The above Corvair was the Corsa trim [either quad carbs or turbocharged], the other trim 'Vairs had the same cove but painted body color.

Of course the sheet metal as struck for the body allows the paint contrast, but while a number of cars had a similar feature they seldom offered it contrast painted.  That extra step added flair and interest, and usually marked specialty models.

Edited by balthazar
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'64 1/2 Mustang had a cove panel, but that generation never offered a contrasting color:

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 4.25.07 PM.png

Studebaker may have been the first; the '56 Hawk had a painted cove :

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 4.39.15 PM.png

Edited by balthazar
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^ And that brings up a few more examples (good or bad) to support design attention to the posterior: this is the era of the continental spare, whether one of those outlandish aftermarket kits, or the sublime integration of the '56-57 Mark II or the Chrysler FliteSweep decklid :

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Chrysler (the brand) only did it one year/model; the '68 300 :

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 3.40.32 PM.png

I see a bunch of pics with the panel either black or silver, and I've seen both on a red car, so not sure the protocol here.

Dodge used it well; Charger '68-72, Coronet '68-70, Challenger '70-74 :

Screen Shot 2019-12-21 at 10.39.37 PM.png

Edited by balthazar
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The late model Camaro uses accessory decals, not paint from the factory, but the idear lives on.  I believe the current Mustang uses a black plastic cove panel, as does the Dodge Challenger.

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Sorry, did not mean to hijack!

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Yes: the current ‘stang & Challenger do continue the feature. The Camaro I feel does not because I don’t see any other way that panel could be done. Mustang has an indented, ‘framed’ panel, the Camaro really doesn’t.

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Edited by balthazar
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Pontiac, unquestionably the style leader throughout the 1960s, had a number of coved rear end treaments; '59, then '61-67, but they never contrast-painted them, despite (IMO) some of them really calling out for it. '67 Grand Prix :
 

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Below is '62 [from top to bottom: Catalina, Bonneville, GP] :

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In the case of the '62s, Pontiac certainly didn't ignore rear details- the Bonne & GP getting unique die-cast trim panels... and the GP did have black paint between the chromed bars. The '62 GP is probably the closest Pontiac came to a contrasted cove panel.

Just picture, if you will, that the '62 decklid came to a edge and fell straight down to the rear bumper. Not as engaging or detailed.

Edited by balthazar
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The '67 GP cove panel is very similar to the '67 GTO...I've seen some '67 GTOs with that panel painted black, but I don't think that was factory.    Love the tail treatments on the '62s...

 

I love the tail of the '68 Catalina with the taillights dipping into the bumper. 

IMG_3131-762x456.png

Edited by Robert Hall
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• Correct; those cove-painted pre-'68 GTOs are customized, not factory. But they take the treatment so well.
 • The big '68 Pontiacs got a new nose but kept the same rear fascia. '67-68 is like an inversion of '62, but a lot less refined; it's kinda clunky.
I prefer, '64 for tails that dip into the bumper, very very well done. Here the same thinking was used as in '62; a delineated cove, with the Bonne & GP getting die-cast panels applied there :

Screen Shot 2019-12-22 at 11.57.36 AM.png

Edited by balthazar

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At GM, the first rear coves were on Pontiac & Olds. Pontiac never contrast-painted it, and Olds used a brightwork panel to fill theirs:

Screen Shot 2019-12-22 at 12.02.33 PM.png

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Now, Cadlllac technically had a rear cove too for '59. It's close to the Olds in concept... but it feels quite different... like it's more part of the 'bumper assembly' than 'in the sheet metal'.

I love the extravagance of rear grillework

Screen Shot 2019-12-22 at 12.07.18 PM.png

Why should the 'jewelry' of a car be restricted to only the nose? :)

Edited by balthazar
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Olds had a serious rear cove on the '61s, and on the top-tier Starfire, it got silver contrasting paint. They dropped the treatment in '62, probably because the '62 SF had the widest/longest applique of textured mylar paneling down both sides ever put on a car. Probably felt it would've been overkill. The Starfire ran from '61-66, and the painted cove only reappeared for one year; '64 [pics in order of model year] :

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Edited by balthazar
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Buick followed the same suit as Olds. Both the senior '61s and the '61 Special intro'd a rear cove, and it continued somewhere in the lineup thru '67. But it was only on the '66 Riviera that it got contrast-painted. (the identical '67 got polished trim there instead). Below '61, '61, '62, '66 Riv :

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Over at Ford, the big cars didn't get a paintable rear cove until 1 year only: '71. But Ford didn't ever paint it.

Screen Shot 2019-12-22 at 3.18.04 PM.png

Edited by balthazar

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11 minutes ago, balthazar said:

Over at Ford, the big cars didn't get a paintable rear cove until 1 year only: '71. But Ford didn't ever paint it.

Screen Shot 2019-12-22 at 3.18.04 PM.png

The Galaxie had aluminum trim there and my favorite was the LTD w/ a taillight there.

 

1971-ford-galaxie-500.jpeg

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Earlier big Fords had a cove area between the taillights also, though...'61-64 in particular...higher trim levels had bright trim, lower levels had painted metal there.

 

 

 

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Good catch on those early ‘60s coved Fords. I started looking at pics in '65-66 for some reason.

Ford is an interesting study RE their big cars. For a while they really spiced them up; circa ‘57-66... but for some reason they pulled back from that.
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Merc was as prolific in using contrasting cove panels as Dodge was for MoPar. Of course, the '69-70 Marauder option took the practice into it's own, unique arena.

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Merc's senior cars ran coves (seemingly merely copying Pontiac rears from roughly 3 years earlier) but did not extend the painted contrast treatment to the big cars:

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The '66 Merc is the image of a '63 Pontiac and the tan (I believe it's a '67) is not far off a '64 Pontiac.

Edited by balthazar

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Special dispensation :: I strongly feel it's appropriate to put the Merc Marauder and the Rambler Marlin in the same box. The Merc has a true cove panel, but it 'bleeds over' that deliniation to include the entire decklid AND ring the rear glass.

The '65-67 Marlin does something quite similar; it lacks a true cove panel, but still AMC contrast-painted a huge swath of the Marlin extending down into the rear fascia.

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 10.19.00 PM.png

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Also need to add the '60 Ford big cars to the Cove Party (never painted differently tho)

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 10.31.56 PM.png

 

- - - - -
Over at Edsel, there was plenty going on. In '60 there was a cove, but I don't see any pics with it painted :

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 10.32.49 PM.png

'59 didn't have a delineated cove except on the wagons, where it did get optional contrast paint:

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 10.35.15 PM.png

Edited by balthazar

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But '58 is another 'blurred' example. While there certainly was a pointed effort to offer contrasting paint, technically (as defined here) the rear fascia lacks the side delineation, and the color bleeds down both quarter panels. I'm inclined to include it as 'official' (another 'special dispensation' case)

Screen Shot 2019-12-29 at 10.34.35 PM.png

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Based on the photo in the first post, and its plates, I wonder how far that is from where Tonya Harding hangs her hat.

I'm going to say that the concavity in the rear fascia and lights in the "last call for Riviera" would indicate that it's in a "cove."

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Too bad this last rendition was ruined by its "preying mantis" front end.

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I like the design/body on the last Riv (including the nose), but with 2 caveats:
1. Generally speaking; I tend to not prefer designs that radically narrow the front/rear fascias- I like cars to 'be proud of their width'.
2. the Riv simply rides too high. Drop it 2 inches and I think it would look noticeably sleeker.

RE the 'cove question", tho there's some delineation there, the sides are open and there's no concave profile. My vote disqualifies it.

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14 hours ago, balthazar said:

I like the design/body on the last Riv (including the nose), but with 2 caveats:
1. Generally speaking; I tend to not prefer designs that radically narrow the front/rear fascias- I like cars to 'be proud of their width'.
2. the Riv simply rides too high. Drop it 2 inches and I think it would look noticeably sleeker.

RE the 'cove question", tho there's some delineation there, the sides are open and there's no concave profile. My vote disqualifies it.

Ok, not a cove, but that strong oval in the rear fascia was a great design statement ... the only good one on the car.  I do dislike the front and I don't think the sides look good from all angles.  In some instances, the last Riv looks too long.  I liked its dash, which had mostly circular gauges and which leaned away slightly from the driver.

Where would we be without our Ford Maverick?  

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Uptown "Grabber" model

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Entry level model w/ hubcaps.

These had 170, 200, and 250 c.i. L6s (cast iron blocks and heads) and could last a long time.

Also, I see "coves."

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