Few aftermarket items have been as influential as those lids that make any car look angry.
Aftermarket adornments are usually about a quaint kind of ill-advised deception. Opel/Vauxhall Corsas with the kind of diffusor – made of fibreglass, rather than carbonfibre, of course – that’s supposed to keep a Pagani’s aerodynamics in check at 300 kph. Peugeot 206s with quad-exhausts usually reserved to American V8-powered muscle cars. Aftermarket is about imitation, pretensions, delusions. But there are a few exceptions to this rule, and none more poignant than the curious case of the ‘Evil Stare’.
A direct translation of the German term Böser Blick, the ‘Evil Stare’ is the result of a plethora of aftermarket solutions aimed at lending a car an unfriendly frontal aspect. These may consist of bonnets overlaying part of the headlights or body coloured lids for the upper portion of the headlights. The effect, however, is always the same: it makes for a po-faced expression.
In a poignant reversal of the usual modus operandi, it is the manufacturers that have copied the aftermarket industry in the case of the Böser Blick.
The outright look of aggression that has become a trend encompassing almost any manufacturer and class of automobile really broke through with BMW’s E60-generation F5 series in 2003. That car’s interpretation of a squinting stare may appear harmless compared to the unmitigated hostility that’s characterising many a modern motor car, but it certainly established the idea of light units acting as a flamboyant expression of vigour.
Since then, headlights couldn’t be angled too steeply, with LEDs creating a faint idea of laser-guided weaponry. Motoring, it appears, has switched to full-on combat mode.
Bearing the implications of the dispersion of the ‘Evil Stare’ in mind, one could lament that the wide-scale adoption of branded textile patterns or fox brush-enhanced aerials by the mainstream car makers would have been preferable. But for the time being, the Böse Blick remains the silly aftermarket fad that hit the big time.
The author of this piece is running an obscure motoring site of his own, which you may or may not choose to visit at www.auto-didakt.com