Thursday, September 27, 2007

5 Car Design Fads that I wish would go away...

Fender Vents

This trend is only a relatively recent phenomenon but everytime I see a vent on a modern car, it is nearly always a non-functional device designed to hold an indicator lamp.

Fender vents like those on the Holden HG Monaro and the classic Aston Martin DB4 actually served a purpose in releasing hot air from the high pressure zone inside the fenders aiding cooling and reducing drag.

HG Monaro

Holden HG Monaro

Aston Martin

Aston Martin DB4

The absolute worst offender in the modern of the fake fender vent is foisted upon by the bogans at HSV with their E-Series HSV Commodores.

Here are a few examples:

Holden HSV GTS

Jaguar XJ

Jaguar XJ

The Starter Button

Probably the wankiest of all ideas in recent times. I can understand a seperate starter button in a race car, where all the electrical circuits are isolated from each other to reduce the chances of failure. But why does a car like the Jaguar XK8 need a big red starter button?

2007 Jaguar XK Cockpit2007 Jaguar XK Cockpit

Jaguar XK8 Cockpit

What was wrong with a single hand needed to put the key in the ignition and twist it? Was it really that hard?

They have gone backwards in adding a starter button to most cars, starting your car has gone from a single hand, single motion action, to a two hand, two motion action. Even worse is the completely ostentatious starter buttons that are starting to turn up in cars like the new Ford Mondeo.

Ford Mondeo Starter Button

Clear tail lights

The Lexus IS200, or Altezza in Japan, was the first car to come with clear tail lights. In certain colours like silver or black the clear tail lights looked okay, but when you moved to white, in particular, the tail lights just seemed to blend in and ruin the look of a decent looking car.


Lexus IS200

I don't blame Toyota for this fad, I blame this one on the aftermarket 'tuners' and their quest to turn something gimmicky into a fad. And then I blame car manufacturers for thinking they needed to use clear tail lights to appeal to the younger demographic. There are some absolutely horrid examples of OEM clear tail lights:

Rear Right of Mazda 6

Mazda 6

Subaru Impreza

I won't go into the 3rd party clear tail lights, because they are usually much worse than an OEM attempt. If you want to see some crappy clear tail lights, just go to SEMA's website.


From Wiki:

Bangle-butt is a derogatory term for the current rear-end styling paradigm among automobiles. The name comes from controversial BMW designer Chris Bangle.

If you haven't seen a Bangle-butt up close, you have yet to see one of the worst pieces of design ever to occur on an automobile. A Bangle-butt is defined by the bootlid being much higher than the rear guards with a squared off edge to both the boot and rear guard, creating a stacked appearance. The best (worst) eaxample of the Bangle-butt is the BMW 6-series. Here it is:

BMW 6-series

As with the clear tail lights, I really don't mind if a single car or manufacturer has a bad or ugly design theme. What I do mind is when other manufacturers pick up on that bad design and apply it to their cars. In this case, the Bangle-butt has been used by Mercedes, Toyota and Honda. The sooner the Bangle-butt has a thighplasty, the better.

Mercedes Benz S-Class

Toyota Camry

Oversized Headlights

A good car design is all about getting the right proportions between the different parts of the car. The Ferrari 250GT, Jaguar E-type and Datsun 240Z are perfect examples of getting the bonnet length and rear overhang proportions just right.

But there seems to be a fad running through car designers that are having a competition at our expense. They seem to be trying to make the headlights on cars as big as possible whilst still making sure they sell.

Way back when, a headlight had a purely functional purpose. All it did was provide light and concessions were made in body shapes to accomodate this important piece of equipment. But over time, as with all other parts of a car, the headlight has become another piece in the stylists and designers little box of tricks.

The first car that came to mind with oversized headlights was the Honda Fit/Jazz:

Look at the size of those headllights. They nearly go all the way to the back of the bonnet. Admittedly, the bonnet is pretty small, but those lights are still huge. The last Celica is another good example of headlights that have grown too big for their britches:

Toyota Celica

Both of the examples shown are pretty girly cars (yes, the Celica is a girly car and has been for 20 years). Just like the way that females find big baby seal eyes to be cute, it may just be working on these cars. I don't care, I hate them.


Anonymous said...

lol the celica is a Girl car? wtf are you talkin about. stupid dipshit probably loves the MACHO MUSCLE CARS am i right? fuck man i didnt know there were sooo many sheep out here in the word.....stfu and follow the crowd some more dude

Craig said...

Yes the last 20 years of Celica's have all been girl's cars. A real sports car is supposed to be RWD. And no, I am not a fan of MACHO MUSCLE CARS. I prefer a well sorted rear wheel drive car that attacks the twisty bits with vigour.

Some of my favourite sports cars: Mazda MX-5/Miata, Mazda RX-7, Datsun 1600, Datsun 240Z, Toyota Sprinter AE86, any RWD Toyota Celica, Nissan Skyline, Holden LJ Torana XU-1...

None of those cars are macho muscle cars, more like fun RWD sports cars.

How do you like your girly Celica BTW?

Anonymous said...

I really like the Celica, especially the back with no spoiler. I don't think the lights are cute at all. They're not round and big, but rather long, narrow, and slanty.

Funny thing you should mention that the Miata is one of your favorite cars. It's definitely considered a chick car (and notice how small the headlights are). The miata is like one of those tiny dogs that dumb people like paris hilton carry around in their handbags.

Anonymous said...

celica isnt a girls car

craig is an idoit nerd on the internet

Craig said...

Just who is the 'idiot' here?

Ever since Toyota dropped RWD and then 4WD from the Celica, every model has been a yawn. The last one wasn't as bad but it still suffered from loads of predictable understeer.

Every single late model Celica I see these days is driven by a young female. The perception of the Celica in Australia must be a bit different to the US.

I know that is true about the MX-5/Miata, in Australia it is considered the perfect motorkhana car.

Do you also think the VW New Beetle is not a girls car?

Anonymous said...

Hey craig Ive got a website full of guys who drive Celica's. I will say the 7th gen are more on teh girly side but the 6th and previous are not so much. I see more men driving the 6th gen then girls there are 7 6th gens in my town drivin by men and Im one of them so take your gay friend and go do what gay guys do in a mazda miata

Anonymous said...

you say you like twisties and such, have you driven a celica? have you hit some turns in it...they handle real well with a 3sgte swap and lowered these cars perform!... don't knock it till you try it.. oh and also, miata is way more female like then a celica... and this is why guys who like...well other guys enjoy driving these... wonder how many times the gay driver grabs the wrong stick lol

Anonymous said...

It is evident that Craig knows absolutelly nothing about car history and even about cars for the same matter. It is really easy to write anything negative about cars. It doen't matter if your last boyfriend dumped you and he happened to own a Celica. And just so learn a little, there is a big safety issue for wich cars are made front wheel drive. have you ever heard the term:
F I S H T A I L I N G.
I don't think so. I wasted enough time with your Ignorance allready.
Read a book or something.