Spoilers Spoil Good Design - Agree or Disagree?
hpmctorque Member Posts: 4,600
Other than at speeds well above legal limits, rear spoilers are, at a minimum, non-functional appendages. It could further be argued that they detract from clean lines. However, the old proverb "taste is not to be disputed" applies here, so will rear spoilers be considered as passe as tail fins some day?
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Yeah, but if you were regularly driving these speeds, you would probably need a NASCAR style spoiler that could produce some real down-force instead of one of these trunk ornaments that the auto manufacturers place on cars and call spoilers.
Meanwhile, I always have to laugh when I see a Camry or Malibu with a spoiler! An Evo, yes, but not a family sedan.
I seriously considered getting a Cobalt SS Supercharged with the GM discount. The body work to get rid of the spoiler would have cost almost $500.00.
I'll wait and check out the 2.4 litre SS that you can get without the darn spoiler.
Every now and then I'll see one on a current S-class, and I have even seen one on a 126. Ridiculous.
One thing for sure there is a lot of confusion in the public mind between the functions of a spoiler and a wing.
All wings are spoilers but not all spoilers are wings.
Wings make you go faster (in theory) and spoilers slow you down.
So, unfortunately, some people are spending a lot of time and money on street cars to slow them down.
Of your suggestions, I believe the people who like them are trying to communicate to all that they have a car so fast it needs the spoiler to keep it on the ground.
As if ...
IMO, I'm not a fan of them, but they are at least acceptable on a car that has a somewhat legit need for it, like the STI or Evo. Where they look really stupid is on a Camry or something like that. I saw one a few days ago on a Geo Metro Convertible! LOL!
I do think spoilers in general tend to look better on cars with sharper edges and less rounded bodies. The factory spoilers that look bad to me are the ones that are stuck in the middle of the trunk on cars with rounded edges and rear ends like the late 90's Taurus, Grand Prix, Sunfire. I had a 99 Mystique for a few years and I was glad it did not have a spoiler since it was that kind of rounded off design.
I'll agree with Kmag, though, that usually a car that's more angular and sharper-edged will usually pull off the spoiler look better than a rounded one. I've seen some Intrepids with a spoiler though, and I think they look good. Not good enough for me to plunk down the money on one, though!
And that's where a spoiler comes in. It visually raises the back of the car, which gives direction to the car. It's the same effect as a rising beltline, but less restrictive on the design of the car's profile.
I think they're particularly effective (visually) on cars with trunks that have downward slopes. Again, this goes with my idea that such cars look the same going forwards as backwards, but I'll throw out a couple of examples. The early-90s Prelude (the rounded one) had a trunk that sloped down to the sides. I find the car to look odd without a spoiler. In modern cars, I'll suggest looking at the Mitsubishi Lancer. It's awkwardly boxy, and I find a spoiler to hide some of that awkwardness. Finally, anything with a hood scoop looks unbalanced if the front end is higher than the back.
Yes, I'm 23. But I think most of your dislike of spoilers is a dislike of spoilers themselves and what they represent to you - not how they actually look on the cars you see them on. It's simply a fad to hate them.
Hey, those were Chrysler's words, NOT mine! And suppposedly, on some of the '57-58 models, they did test them out and it turned out that at 80-90 mph they DID handle a bit better than they did without the fins!
And supposedly, in the right wind conditions, you can get the rear end of a '59 Chevy to lift off the ground. I think you have to get it up to around 100 mph, though.
On the track and (slightly) on the road, they can have two beneficial effects: reducing lift at high speeds and reducing the coefficient of drag.
The former sometimes makes a difference in real-world driving. Some cars just have poor aerodynamics - I've heard of old Maximas feeling more stable at 80mph with spoilers, and it's widely known that the Audi TT has a horrible drag coefficient of .35 and a lot of lift which resulted in a couple of fatal high-speed crashes. Yes they were probably speeding, but still. That's why the TT had a spoiler added to its butt - aerodynamic necessity.
Technically a wing works like an upside down airplane wing, adding downforce. A spoiler is when it works by inducing turbulence. By controlling where turbulence begins, you can reduce airflow patterns that induce lift (like the TT's), and also affect the coefficient of drag.
It's a minor effect, but if it's a stupid thing to try to achieve, then we might as well give up on aerodynamics altogether. Let's stop supporting coefficients of drag in the .20's - they make cars look stupid all for a minuscule improvement in stability and mileage. Let's all drive boxes on wheels! Anything else is useless adornment, after all.
Just my opinion though.
I have to disagree. Spoilers work on some car designs. On many car designs they do not.
Many modern car designs work very hard for a very clean, minimalist appearance. Large and guady spoilers take away from that look.
My first post uses the Cobalt SS Supercharged as an example. It is case in point. The Cobalt Coupe has a very clean, understated, and clearly Chevy look. The wale tale is completely out of character on the car.
I would buy the SS primarily for quick acceleration and back road handling. I could never imagine myself going above 80 mphs, except every now and then on the interstate. The spoiler is not necessary and looks bad.
Obviously, there are a few cars on the road with functional flow breaks (someone mentioned the TT, which in fact had autobahn issues without the butt lip).
Occasionally a tuner company comes up with a package that in fact enhances the car. Not often, but it happens. I think ABT does some tremendous stuff, and every now and then, it includes a spoiler. But I think that even for some of the best, performance enhancement is coincidental if it's there at all. I would say ninety-five times in a hundred, performance is unaffected or even marginally hindered. Don't even get me started on two-foot high aluminum double nija wings...
There are some car out there, though, for which the cosmetic enhancement is a plus. To date, they never made a Saturn yet that I could stomach without decoration. Heck, even with decoration...
I really don't mind spoilers if they flow with the car line and tend to prefer low rise spoilers. The spoilers on EVO's and WRX's make me tend to relate them more to shopping carts than anything else.
With some of the modified cars I've seen on road, it makes me wish Brovo came out Queer Eye for the Straight Car. There just seems to be more pep boy mods around hear then anything else. Maybe its just the area I'm living at.
Lots of sports-trim cars look awkward without them. The EVO and STi have so many fender bulges and big bulging front/side body kits that they look totally unbalanced without their spoilers. The Mazdaspeed Protege had the Protege5's front bumper, and the lowered effect it gave looked awkward if it wasn't balanced by the trunklid spoiler (or by the Protege5's hatchback shape). It isn't a good looking spoiler, but the car looks worse with nothing on the trunk.
I also like the Toyota Supra, Integra type-R and RSX high spoiler because the look like they were designed at the same time, by the same guy, as the cars themselves.
I haven't found a picture of the Cobalt coupe without a spoiler... but I think the normal (lower) spoiler looks pretty ugly. It's too small for that big rear end. The SS spoiler looks better from frontish angles, but not from behind. It's just too big a rear end for any sort of spoiler to match it.
I also think the WRX (not STi) sedan spoiler sucks.
Sorry for continuing to argue; I just didn't want this thread to sound like another retirement home "kids these days" grumblefest.
There are plenty of tacky things older folks do.
In my book, most of the older folks tacky stuff is from people who failed to accept Mies' concepts of design always having function.
If a spoiler functions it belongs. If it functions only for looks, it does not.
A big angular metal spoiler on the Supra wouldn't work. And IMO a spoiler looks goofy on a large car like an S class.
There was actually an "Evo" 190 in the early 90s that had a big silly spoiler
I would tend to agree, however IMO, one exception to this train of thought was mid/late 90's Impala SS. That was a pretty big car, and I think that the spoiler, and the mono-chromatic paint scheme on the car in general all worked well. I hated the regular Caprice version of that car, but I thought the whole package seemed to work well on the Impala SS (the exterior that is - not too fond of the interior).
My wife's grandmother (at 85 yrs old), just bought a new Mazda 3 sedan. It is bright blue, and has the spoiler. The spoiler looks good on it too (IMO). Over the weekend, her grandmother told us, "That car is pretty peppy - I know why they have Zoom Zoom written all over the owner's manual." LOL
I can agree with the Impala...it at least had something under the hood to back up the looks.
That Mazda 3 granny sounds pretty cool.
Way back, I had an 89 Camaro. Now, 99% of the gen f-body had a spoiler and for good reason, without it, the rear looked unfinished. It was kind of like the trunk just dropped off. Mine had the unpillared, 3 piece spoiler which was the most subtle that they ever put on the car and the best looking.
Prior to the Camaro, I had an 85 Regal that I did adorn with a wing. We're going back to 90, so it's not like spoilers are a phenom of the last few years. Even before then, I had a 70 Chevelle. I had the good sense not to put a spoiler on that, but more than I dude implored me to do it.
Aren't spoilers today's versions of those gee-gaws?
Most of that I thought was pretty cool stuff. But I grew out of that phase.
The spoilers that look like obvious add-ons are the modern day versions of all that stuff. You know the ones, that look like they were built from a giant Erector set.
All my High School chums in the early 80s were going the tack on route. I thought it looked dopey.
My unadorned, beige 66 Chevy Biscayne caught the eye of more than one of the artistic outsider lasses at my school. Good enough for me!
Some other cars just have cosmetic design flaws that are much improved by a spoiler.. Now, I'd rather just not buy a car like that, but if for some reason I did, I see nothing wrong with adding that piece of plastic... The Honda Accord sedan comes to mind.. A very nice car that I just can't stomach from the rear-view.. If I got one, I'd at least add that little lip spoiler to it..
When I was younger, my dream car was a 911 (wait.. it still is)... I always liked the ones without the whaletail.. However, when I finally found the right one for the right price, it had one... And, the kicker... the guy I bought it from, bought it without one.. then had it added, because he didn't like it without it..
Of course, once I owned one with a whaletail, I learned that they were much cooler... :P
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