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Good Styling

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  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    It was actually the 97 Grand Prix that was the first of the Coupe styled sedans.

    But nothing does as much as the low, sleek coupe-like roofline; remember how, just a couple of years ago, four doors meant a squared roofline?

    http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://images.automotive.com/reviews/imag- - es/00grandprix.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.automallusa.net/2000/pontiac/grand-prix/- - reviews.html&h=263&w=400&sz=39&hl=en&start=7&um=1&tbnid=RSGbu3FDFje47M:&tbnh=82&- - tbnw=124&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dgrand%2Bprix%2Breview%2Bpontiac%2B1997%2Bphoto%26um%- - 3D1%26hl%3Den%26rlz%3D1T4GGIC_enUS255US255">
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,214
    Those Google image search links rarely work in a cut and paste - try this:

    link

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  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,596
    I always thought the Rover P5 coupe (actually a sedan) was the first sedan variant to have distinctively more coupelike styling compared to its upright sedan brother. The Ford and Mercury fastback sedans of 1964 come to mind as well.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    I always thought the Rover P5 coupe (actually a sedan) was the first sedan variant to have distinctively more coupelike styling compared to its upright sedan brother.

    The oddball P5 is an easy one to forget as AFAIK it never came across the Atlantic but it did indeed have a chopped roof giving it a coupelike profile>

    image

    The Ford and Mercury fastback sedans of 1964 come to mind as well

    I assume you're referring to this variation on the the Ford and Merc H/T sedans >

    image

    That's pretty tame compared to the "Nascar"-style roofs the Sports Coupes got 1963 1/2>

    image

    .

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,596
    I guess the image I had in my mind of those Fords was racier than the actual product. So I'll stand with the Rover....I guess the Ford wasn't really chopped down much, just had a more angled back window.

    Interesting ad, I don't recall seeing another that actually admits a half year like that.
  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    Do ou have a side view of that Rover thing? Never saw one before.
  • writerwriter Posts: 119
    The 1949 and 1950 Chev Fleetlines were true Fastbacks available in 4 door versions. I think they were called sedans. Not many sold. By 1951, I think the 4 door was dropped and by 1952 there were no fastback Chevs (until 1963's Corvette?).

    I expect the same was true for the rest of GM in those years.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    The 1949 and 1950 Chev Fleetlines were true Fastbacks available in 4 door versions. I think they were called sedans

    IIRC those were called Sedanettes, they didn't employ (AFAIK) a lower roof or windshield.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,914
    If it's a lower roof and windshield you're looking for, the '57 Mopar 4-door hardtops did that. The windshield, A-pillars, vent windows in the front doors, and most of the roof structure was shared with the 2-door hardtop, although they were a bit different in the C-pillar/rear window area. They were lower and a lot more rakish than the corresponding 4-door sedans.

    Chrysler's first mass-produced 4-door hardtops, introduced for 1956, were actually 4-door sedans with the doors modified. That made them huge inside, as most hardtops are a bit tighter inside than their sedan counterparts. But it did present a problem with the door window architecture. The 4-door sedans had a rear window with a big roll-down window and a small spacer window in the back. For the hardtop, they made the spacer window pivot down at an angle, in conjunction with the roll down window. It's a neat thing to see in action, especially with power windows, but it was prone to air and water leaks.

    GM's was first to the 4-door hardtop market with the 1955 Buick and Oldsmobile B-bodies. They're definitely lower and more rakish than the 4-door sedan counterparts, but I'm not sure how much commonality they have with the 2-door hardtop. I'm guessing the windshield and A-pillars are the same, but the roof might be modified back at the C-pillar/rear window area.
  • writerwriter Posts: 119
    I have been thinking about wheels, tires and fender (give me a break, I've been busy) and I have a few comments.

    Wheels, tires, hubcaps and fender openings are areas that I give designers a "free-pass" as long as they fill their functions in a way that corresponds with my priorities.

    The result is that I have tended to ignore how they look. I cannot even remember what the hubcaps looked like on any of the vehicles I have driven except the current two. I am curious, so I might just hunt around for some pictures now, but yes, I have forgotten them all. Considering that I used to do my own brakes for years, I should have at least a few of them deeply embedded in my memory, but no, they are all gone.

    One of the "functions" that is necessary though, is that the tires be somewhat visible. I was taught that it is a good idea to walk around your car occasionally and inspect things briefly. That includes looking at the condition of the tire tread and side-walls. When I was younger, I did not do this as much as I do now. These days, I do a walk-around inspection at least a couple of times per week.

    If the tires are hidden by fender skirts, or by the fender itself, that makes the quick inspection more difficult. So a car design with fairly large openings gets "points" despite the fact that other people might not like the way they look.

    I will go further and say that it annoys me to see that many wheels are designed for appearance much as they are. I would rather see engineering numbers than count up the number of spokes. Well designed wheels should provide gains in power, handling and even fuel economy.
  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,214
    Good point about the inspection. I filled up this morning and looked at my tires instead of washing the windows. Never occurred to me that fender skirts would make that difficult, but you're exactly right.

    Now explain, say, a Dodge Magnum. Loses points for a barely functional viewshed? And can we give points to, say, a ... dare I say it ... AMC Pacer? :shades:

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  • imidazol97imidazol97 Crossroads of America: I70 & I75Posts: 18,098
    I usually look at the tire treads as I walk up to the car. I look at the bottom part of the tire for low air pressure signs meaning a possible nail. I have seen nails/screws in tires many times just because I look at them while walking up. Often those have not penetrated beyond the tread thickness, yet, because I caught them early.

    Seeing the tire is important.
  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    Form is tied to function. Personally, I haven't cared too much for the trend towards higher beltlines/smaller greenhouses. I like the look ok. It's muscular and masculine and all that, but it does reduce visibility and lends a cloistered, closed-in feeling. Obviously many like that, just not my cup of tea. I still like a big, open greenhouse.

    You mention the Pacer, but how about a more current oddball, the Kia Rondo?

    An additional comment. I like this thread. It's fun to read all the passionate discussions around here about function, utility, and performance, but I still contend that when it is time to sign that sales agreement, style drives the majority of buying decisions. It is awfully hard to write that check for something you just think is fugly.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    I have to admit that it never occurred to me that skirts would limit the ability to do a visual check of the rear tires. That a big point against them even though I can think of prototype endurance racers that wore them.

    It's a moot point since the styling of most modern cars wouldn't mesh with wheel skirts but there are some exceptions (Prius?).

    I haven't time now to get into the role of wheels and tires and how they play a key role in the look of a car but I agree that sometimes they act to the detriment of it's functions.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • steverstever YooperlandPosts: 40,214
    more current oddball, the Kia Rondo

    Well, my grocery getter is an Outback so the Rondo looks mostly like another tall wagon to me, along the lines of the new CR-V. But I haven't seen one in person. The notchy rear is a bit odd, but otherwise the pics look ok for what it is.

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  • mattandimattandi Posts: 588
    The Rondo is on the short list of buggies we are considering. Many reviewers comment on how roomy it is. I think a lot of that comes from that low beltline, big greenhouse, in addition to all the actual usable, versatile space. The Magnum has tons of space as well, but I guess I give those bonus points you mentioned to the Rondo. I like the look of the Magnum, though the Rondo doesn't offend me in anyway.
  • harvey44harvey44 Posts: 178
    New CIvic Sedan - beautiful. The 2-door is really bad.

    The new CRV is really bad too. When the rear window is made curvy to be cute, and you can't see out of it....ridiculous.

    Form is function.

    Love the BMW 2002.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,914
    the new CRV suffers from what I call the "1961 DeSoto effect". Basically, an incoherent two-grille sort of design where the upper and lower grilles don't really complement each other. Actually, it's a bit alarming how similar the CRV's front end is to a '61 DeSoto. Slanty headlights that integrate with the lower grille, and a swollen section incorporating the upper grille, which houses the nameplate. Sure, it's not a dead ringer for a '61 DeSoto, but the two share a common theme.

    I always theorized that they made the '61 DeSoto look ugly on purpose, so that people would buy Chrysler Newports instead, and fewer people would whine once the marque went away. I dunno what Honda's excuse is...maybe they made it look like that so more people would buy the Acura version? :P

    I also don't like the way the side windows and the roofline clash. The roof itself is somewhat upright, station wagon-ish. But the roofline really belongs on more of a fastback sort of vehicle. The end result is the poster child for that old cliche about several different teams of stylists working on different parts of the car, each not having a clue as to what the other is doing.

    One thing I'll say for it though, after staring at a CRV long enough, suddenly, the Pontiac Aztek doesn't look half bad!
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    I agree that the CR-V is an ugly little runt. Did you notice that the roofline is identical to that of the Mercedes R-Class?

    Yet for some reason the R-Class is selling like air conditioners in the Yukon while the CR-V is a huge success, I see them every where. :confuse: :sick:

    The styling dept at Honda /Acura ought to go back to Grillework School. With a few exceptions their current front grilles are ugly but the CR-V is the worst of all.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • lemkolemko Posts: 15,155
    ...was the slightly curved A-pillar GM used on many of its 1961 cars.
  • andre1969andre1969 Posts: 21,914
    I agree that the CR-V is an ugly little runt. Did you notice that the roofline is identical to that of the Mercedes R-Class?

    It never hit me that the Benz R-class had the same type of roofline, but in looking at the pics yep, it's awfully close. But somehow, its styling doesn't bother me. Probably because the grille up front isn't such an incoherent puss. And the R-class is bigger and longer, so perhaps the way the top of the window line curves down isn't as exaggerated. One thing I notice is that it doesn't seem to drop down in the rear door as much, and saves most of the plunge for the rear side window area. The rear pillar ("D" pillar?) also seems a bit slimmer on the Benz.

    As for the CR-V being a sales success, I guess it goes back to the old saying "Handsome is as handsome does". I'm sure it's a good, reliable, versatile, reasonably priced little vehicle. Actually, not so little anymore...I guess the traditional "cute ute" class is history. Plus, it has the Honda name value behind it.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    ...was the slightly curved A-pillar GM used on many of its 1961 cars.

    I think it was a kind of vestigial wraparound windshield but worked very well on the big GM's. IIRC it was used in 1962 as well. IMO '61-'62 was the high point of the Mitchell Era with some of the best styling The General has ever offered. I'm particularly fond of '62 Buicks and Ponchos>

    image

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

  • fezofezo Posts: 9,329
    I don't like the current CRV a bit. I'd buy a used one of the last generation if I were in that market or else I'd get a RAV4 or, for styling, even a Santa Fe.

    A coworker just bought a new CRV. Even she wanted to go with a used one but the dealership wanted just about as much for that as the new one. (A dealership I avoid by the way.) Her husband wasn't go to sign to pay as much for a used car as new so she got the new one.
  • nippononlynippononly SF Bay AreaPosts: 12,687
    The R-Class sells like that because nobody wanted a Mercedes minivan. Ask Toyota how many fully loaded $40K Siennas it sells - less than 1% of the total.

    I think it's a shame that I can't think of a single car except the Mini that really stands out for me and says to me "you have to have me, NOW!"

    OK, I do like some of the new "F1-inspired" Mercedes, like the SLK. That is a nice-looking car.

    I finally saw a 128i in person yesterday, and my biggest reaction was a yawn. It is basically a narrower 328i, and the 90s 3-series coupes looked better.

    My award for biggest improvement this year in styling has to go to the Lancer though. It looks quite good, where the old one definitely looked quite bad.

    2013 Civic SI, 2009 Outback Sport 5-spd (stick)

  • 62vetteefp62vetteefp Posts: 6,048
    About 6 months ago I started to hear from some of my media friends that the new LaCrosse was the best looking mid size vehicle they had seen in years. I have only seen the photos of it but it looks pretty nice.

    image

    I am not sure about the China designed interior though. Need to see it in person.

    http://www.conceptcarz.com/view/photo/277938,15275,0,0/2008_Buick_Invicta_Concep- t_Photo.aspx
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,596
    I like that A-pillar too, there is something almost elegant about it, especially in chrome or on a hardtop like an Impala bubbletop - it works well. It was a good transition between wraparound and conventional designs.

    I suspect with those curves the windshields were more expensive.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,596
    CR-V sells here to middle aged secretaries who see it as rugged, and young mothers who don't have the self-confidence to drive a minivan or a wagon. It's trendy.

    I am sure it is a functional well made car, but boy is it awkward.
  • fintailfintail Posts: 33,596
    Are those windows about 12" tall? Doesn't look fun for those of us who park in tight spots or simply like to have visibility. I also am not sold on the haunched rear fenders. The midsection creased is interesting, would be cooler if the window could be made to follow the dip yet look ok.

    But, compared to Buicks of even 5 years ago...it's pretty remarkable.
  • andys120andys120 Loudon NHPosts: 16,602
    Trendy? I see a lot of Senior citizens driving a CR-V.

    2000 BMW 528i, 2001 BMW 330CiC

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