Over the Transom: The Last Gasp of the Shutlines Theme

The Chrysler 300M front end needed serious revision. As it stood it was crudely executed. This diagram shows an alternative schematic break up of the front wing, headlamp and bumper.

It´s schematic. The actual refinement of this would take some considerable time.
It’s schematic. The actual refinement of this would take some considerable time.

In essence, the graphics asked questions the engineering department could not deal with and the actual solution defeated the graphics. It is tempting to say the graphics were not really feasible. Continue reading “Over the Transom: The Last Gasp of the Shutlines Theme”

Theme: Shutlines – A Review

We really went at this topic with gusto. Did we learn anything?

A shutline, yesterday.
A shutline, yesterday.

Editor Simon introduced the topic and noted that panel gaps or shutlines at their best become a positive part of the design and not are merely an interruption. And we spent the best part of the month demonstrating all the ways to get it wrong. Sean noted the problem of getting the wheel arch and door shutlines to relate properly. Should they follow the arch or should they form their own discrete shape on the side of the car as on the Renault Laguna or Passat?  The case is not proven.  I went over some old ground from another angle, looking at how the shutline between the bumper and the body has gained more and Continue reading “Theme: Shutlines – A Review”

Ashtrays: 2002 Mercedes E-Class Rear Ashtray

Those were the days! 2002 and people still smoked in the back of their cars. This is how Mercedes catered to the self-medicating nicotine user.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There is a lot of work involved in designing and engineering one of these. Even by 2002 this was here not because anyone expected them to be used much but because it was expected, a nicety, a sign someone cared. I must report that the action of this example was not very finely damped. It sprang out with undue haste.

The Lancia Thesis has a much nicer ashtray based on a similar concept of the horizontal hinge. I don’t think this ashtray is illuminated but if anyone knows, please contact me. I think it could be bigger as well. Just saying.

Gamma: Signs and Portents – Part One

The tale is etched in automotive folklore, but how well do we really know the Lancia Gamma ? In this series, we unravel its difficult birth and inglorious career.

The 1976 Lancia Gamma Berlina. Image via ourclassiccars.
The 1976 Lancia Gamma Berlina. Image via ourclassiccars.

Death by a thousand Fiats:

Fiat’s stewardship of Lancia has been such a shameful series of episodes, it’s difficult now to imagine the road to perdition being paved with good intentions. Because if nothing else, the Gamma stands as an illustration of how mergers and acquisitions never quite work out. Throughout its history as an independent manufacturer, Lancia produced exquisitely engineered automobiles that garnered respect and deep admiration, but consistently cost more than the company could afford. Continue reading “Gamma: Signs and Portents – Part One”

Theme: Shutlines – Nose Jobs

Some manufacturers today use a large plastic moulding as a front mask that includes bumper as well as radiator grille. A solution I appreciate for its simplicity and which can be pleasing to look at – but beware the pitfalls!

2016 Jaguar XF (Jaguar)
2016 Jaguar XF (Jaguar)

Not long ago, we discussed an odd triangle, trapped between shutlines, panel folds and functional elements. The object in question was the 2014 Lexus IS’s rear door. I was reminded of this discussion when I saw a short article in my local newspaper about the new Jaguar XF. There it was again – between headlight, bonnet shutline and radiator bulge. What the above Jaguar press photo (!) also shows: it’s not easy to align large plastic and metal pieces. There is a visible offset between the bonnet and the front mask above the left headlight (as seen in the picture), and the shutline itself varies in thickness. Continue reading “Theme: Shutlines – Nose Jobs”