In Need Of A Name

Driven to Write attempts to foster an addition to the motorist’s lexicon.

Mokka Juke Clio

Someone reading this somewhere might have been given a Christmas present of a book that gives names to things that don’t have names. Like the dust that collects inside PCs which is, maybe, microfluff. I don’t know if such a book exists, but books such as that, given as gifts, often end up in toilets. There is probably even a name for those sorts of books; maybe lavastories. Or maybe not, because they aren’t fiction. At least, I don’t think so although, in truth, I find myself unable to read them. I long ago shook off the worst of my childhood OCD, but I do find the idea of handling paper that has been handled by other people who are crapping as unacceptable.

As such, I’m unsure whether this particular niche might already have been filled or not, but I wish to agree a name for those spurious bits of trim that appear on car bodies that have no practical function. By this I don’t mean a generous line of chrome trim, which has an aesthetic purpose even if, like. me you might dispute it. I mean those ill-formed shapes that seem to be there to help make sense of an ill-resolved design but that you (by which I mean I) can’t help but see as ill-resolved entities in themselves.

I have given these the holding name of Fingles. I’m not sure why, and I’m happy to consider an alternative and wittier title. They irritate me because they seem to assume that I don’t notice that they are quick fixes to sort out problems encountered in adapting the lavish initial sketches with the dour reality of productionising. Yet they’re not cheap. Each of them will have been carefully drawn out, maybe with several options, possibly rapid prototyped, then put into production and, finally, fitted. This will have cost a fair bit.


As well as an alternative title, I’m also happy to consider nominations for the Most Fatuous Fingle. As a starting point I will nominate the three above.

14 thoughts on “In Need Of A Name”

  1. Yesterday I found myself scraping heavy frost off the ‘fingle’ of our Nissan Leaf office hack, before realising the subterfuge.

    Related thought: What is the formal term for the fifth and sixth lights of six light coachwork?

  2. On thetruthaboutcars there is a writer who calls these bits ‘DLO fails’. In a more euphimistic way, one could also call it makeup. I nominate the chrome bit on top of the side windows of the Peugeot 2008. Something that on only a French company can do. The rumor is that in first instance the rear door was supposed to be higher than the front door, but this was changed later in the development. Too late to change the molding unfortately and thus they put the chrome bit there.

    1. Something like that idea floated formlessly across the remains of my mind. It tempted to me to write more about brightwork. You could argue that the brightwork expresses the larger amount of headroom. Alas it draws attention to the same-sized carryover door that is used to get there. Is is a carry-over door? Imagine if it looked like a carry-over door but wasn´t one.
      DLO Fails: that term crops up at TTAC. It´s functional but rather blunt. Daylight Opening Fail. It tells you what´s failed but not how. And they all fail the same way. So, we need a positive term, don´t we? Side-glass mismatch?

    2. DLO Fails is too specific. Admittedly, I chose three bits of DLO trim to illustrate but Fingles occur around boot/latch openings, side panels, etc.

    3. In any case it should be “DLO failURE”. I don’t care what others say, they’re wrong.

  3. When I first saw the 2008, I thought the aforementioned feature was a feeble homage to the Matra-Simca Rancho. Possibly not, given the chrome, not wholly successfully echoed across the rear spoiler.

  4. “I mean those ill-formed shapes that seem to be there to help make sense of an ill-resolved design but that you (by which I mean I) can’t help but see as ill-resolved entities in themselves.”

    That’ll be the Lexus CT 200h, then…

  5. Isn’t this kind of feature the result of graphics becoming dissociated from the structure they are derived from? Do Audi have any of these? I expect the answer is no.

  6. The Clio fingle is a very special case. It’s actually a window! With its small area and the thick interior trim around it, it’s almost impossible to see through when you’re inside the car. So it’s not as bad as others in that it’s not a piece of plastic pretending to be glass, and at the same time it’s even worse because it pointlessly generates extra cost. I’m actually not sure if I should even like it for that.

    Of course the underlying reason is exactly what Richard’s mantra on these pages here says: graphics departed from the structure.

    1. As you say Simon, the Clio’s Fingle is outstandingly profligate. It must add 22 Euros to the cost of each Clio and is all the more fatuous for having a purpose which it doesn’t actually fulfil.

  7. Richard, what’s the difference between your definition of “graphics becoming dissociated from the structure they are derived from” and ornament, which, as I recall, you are trying to resurrect and rescue from the likes of Adolf Loos?

    1. That’s a good question. Adolf Loos argued for none. I take a position of trying to find out what’s appropriate. It’s vexed isn’t? Sometimes decoration is of the wrong type or poorly executed or conceptually mistaken. I am not being flippant when I say I will have to apply further thought to this. Thanks for asking – it’s not easy to answer. I can say that.

  8. That’s not flippant at all. But I’d be very interested to hear the outcome of you applying further thought to this. My question was not meant to be rhetorical although it might have been sounded as someone trying (too) hard to be witty.

    1. I didn’t take it as forced wit but the good question it was. If I can answer the question I will be quite a bit further down the road on this topic. It may take some time!

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