By on July 9, 2019

gm

Judging from the comments on yesterday’s post about what the new C8’s rump might look like, most of you lot aren’t quite sold on the possibility of Corvette copying some of Camaro’s homework. One commenter used the word ‘ersatz’, for which he gets extra TTAC points.

This got us thinking: is there ever an appropriate time for an automaker to reprise styling cues on another model?

Your author votes ‘yes’ … but only if it is done correctly. Take the current crop of gonzo pickups at Ford, for example. The Ranger Raptor (a model not sold on these shores, much to my annoyance) cribs the grille style of its big brother F-150 Raptor quite well. It is integrated into its schnoz with a just-right amount of aggro and draws a direct line of relation between the two trucks. In that application, it works.

But elsewhere? Not so much. At Lexus, the spindle grille which looks okay on the LC simply appears to be an oversized Gillette 9000 razor blade when scaled up for duty on the GX. The effect was the same when Acura had their cleft palate grilles — they seemed okay-ish on small cars but grotesque on the jumbo-sized ZDX.

Super-sizing a successful styling feature seems to be fraught with difficulty, then. Only time will tell if a Camaro-esque rear on the new Corvette will play in Peoria.

What are some of your notable examples — good and bad — of manufacturers cribbing their own homework?

 

[Images: General Motors; Ford]

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36 Comments on “QOTD: Cribbing Their Homework?...”


  • avatar
    jack4x

    I always thought Dodge did pretty well integrating the crosshair grill on everything from the Ram to the Charger to the Neon to the Viper.

    Jeep 7 slot grill is another one. Not radical, but they make it work across the lineup, and even a non-car person can tell a Jeep CUV from a competitor at a quick glance.

    Simple but effective.

    • 0 avatar
      FerrariLaFerrariFace

      I’ll add to that that Dodge’s use of the racetrack taillights on both the Charger and Dart. That same feature on the Durango looks pretty sharp, too.

  • avatar
    redgolf

    “ersatz” German word for replacement, had to look it up!

  • avatar
    dukeisduke

    I’m beginning to think that Mary Barra is a mole, being paid by Ford or FCA to drive GM off the cliff. It was probably Sergio that put her in place, because Hackett’s too clueless. Whoever put her in there, she’s doing a great job!

  • avatar
    Hummer

    The 1980s called, they want their mid engine sports car back. Seriously camo does a poor job of hiding lines and this car looks like it belongs in the last century. Barra has destroyed GMs Aussie performance division, destroyed, their American sedan market, destroyed their trucks division, is already too far deep into destroying the Corvette to change course, and by all accounts is about to destroy their SUV crown jewel.

    Why hasn’t she been ousted, GM would be doing better under Chinese ownership, oddly enough their products would probably have less Chinese components if they were owned by the Chinese.

    • 0 avatar
      dukeisduke

      We bought our daughter a 2013 Cruze for her first car, and I’m amazed at the number of made in China parts. Also, it uses a timing belt instead of a chain – even Kia used a chain on the first-gen Fortes from the same time period.

      After seeing how the Cruze is made, I won’t buy another GM product.

      • 0 avatar
        Hummer

        I don’t understand why anyone in 2019 is using a timing belt. Hell we were using direct driven gears to turn cams 50 years ago, what happened to that?

        • 0 avatar
          dukeisduke

          Well, it is a 2013 (not a 2019), but still, a 2013 model that still uses a belt?

        • 0 avatar
          raph

          “I don’t understand why anyone in 2019 is using a timing belt. Hell we were using direct driven gears to turn cams 50 years ago, what happened to that?”

          Timing gears? Harmonics mostly since they would transmit crank harmonics up to the cam and play hell with the valvetrain and back when distributors were a thing timing as well. Gear drives are actually pretty hard on an engine. They are great for keeping the cam correctly timed to the crank and I guess without a belt or chain one less thing to break but their advantages mostly stop there. There was some effort to quell the harmonics with composite gears but they are subject to increased wear.

          Belts are actually the friendliest option when it comes to dampening crank harmonics and when it comes to high rpm pushrod stuff still probably the go to cam timing system since it allows for a more stable valvetrain. They require more frequent service intervals but manufacturers have been working on timing belts that last almost twice as long as older systems and maybe longer

          And you’ve got the good old timing chain which is either the best of both worlds or offers the least amount of compromises whichever you prefer.

      • 0 avatar
        NormSV650

        Cruze diesel does use a belt, not a chain.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s GGM for you.

      • 0 avatar
        ajla

        Honestly, I don’t mind a timing belt. At least it is designed to be serviced at a known interval.

        Theoretically, a timing chain or gears would be better, but too many manufacturers manage to screw them up. Whether it be making sprocket teeth and/or tensioners out of cheap plastic, or having 5 intersecting chains or routing the chain through Mars. Then when these “lifetime” parts break it costs a bunch of money or a bunch of hours to fix.

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      What’s really peculiar is that she’s taking a certified loser like the Camaro and adding styling cues from that car to the crown jewel (Corvette) and the hot segment where GM is actually making a profit (Blazer).

  • avatar
    cprescott

    I believe the issue here is that it is a bad policy to take a low market trait and to move it upmarket. The use of the Raptor is not what we are talking about. The trait of the grill started at a higher price point FIRST and then worked its way to a lower priced version – that is what HALO means. Ford did this in the Lincoln Mark VII when it debuted the aero look first and then the Thunderbird rolled out that look second.

    The problem here is that even if the new Corvette were to debut first, it did not. Then somehow the Shamaro rolled out the tacky tail design and somehow the supposed PREMIUM Corvette is playing second fiddle. This is totally wrong. And to make matters worse, the Corvette is taking a trait from a product that is being discontinued!

  • avatar
    JMII

    The C7 already copied the Camaro tail lights, so the C8-look doesn’t seem that “new” to me. The C8 (so far) appears to be Rev 2.0 of the C7/Camaro look. It’s actually less of a design change then the round C6 to square C7 tail lights which sent internet fan boys into a fit of rage.

    Honestly now that I own a C7 the rear-end design really fits with the rest of the car which is all hard edges and angles. Since the C7 was originally envisioned to be mid-engine the C8 “2.0 look” is what I expected. I think the radical changes in the C7 will be looked back on as a softer version of the C8’s more angry / Lambo / Stealth Fighter look. Personally I still think the C3 is best looking Corvette.

    Corporate look wise I think its important for brands to maintain some kind of corporate “face”. This by definition means they must copy and share previous designs.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Well the next step is Chinese ownership. Cut costs, cut more products, run the products into the ground, and sell off to the Chinese with Barra and company getting their golden parachutes. Too me this seems to be the obvious direction GM is going in.

  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    So many mid-engine designs start to look like doorstops to me and the C8 is one of them.

    • 0 avatar
      JMII

      The wedge shape screams “super car”, people expect it so the designers deliver it. Porsche manages to avoid this look but that is because their design language goes back to the roundness of all the 911s over the years. As I mentioned above the C8 copies the angry Lambo look (wedge to the max!). Ferrari is somewhere in the middle ground with wedge shapes that manage to stay sleek, curvy and smooth but have enough vents and scoops to make you understand its angry underneath.

      Part of the wedge shape is form following function. The tallest thing in a car is the engine and passenger. Ideally you want a small front section to minimize drag. Thus naturally the car starts low and rises to accommodate the taller bits. The Corvette managed to stay low in the front due to the push-rod engine, but once they move to overhead cams and superchargers the engine will get taller. At some point the engine becomes too tall to see over and you can’t keep the front low enough, so the logical choice is to place the engine behind the passenger and rake the whole package even more (Lambo look).

      Weight distribution wise flipping the engine and passenger compartments is a net zero I would guess. I do expect a slight rearward basis in the C8 since C7’s transaxle is part of the reason it managed a perfect 50/50.

      So far the biggest design flaw in the C8 appears to be the massive front end. With the engine in the back why so much front overhang? My guess – GM is trying to maintain similar cargo space to previous ‘Vette models. Thus the C8 needs a big frunk to accommodate golf clubs.

      • 0 avatar
        PrincipalDan

        Honestly if I can’t put my clubs in it I’m a “NO SALE” on pretty much any car.

        I’d argue that pedestrian impact regs might be driving frontend height. I’ve been told those regulations killed pop up headlights.

  • avatar
    MeJ

    I tried looking at that C8 rear end again a few hours later (and again this morning) to see if I changed my mind on the styling after the initial shock.
    Nope.
    Still looks hideous.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    You’ve had few answers to your question, because people would rather complain about the state of GM (which, admittedly, is perilous). Oh, well.

    I would call out Fiat. They really need to evolve their design language, because the 500L and 500X don’t wear it well. They can’t base everything around the 500. I would say MINI does a better job at having a “cute” lineup.

    Also, Lincoln’s split-wing grille didn’t really work on most of its lineup. Especially the early version. It worked for the 2009-2012 MKS (which debuted it), but looked goofy on the other cars, like the MKZ (2010-2012), MKT (2010-2012) and MKX (2011-2015). The later, more-purposeful split-wing looked good on the MKZ (2013-2016) and MKC (2015-2018), and MKX (2016-2018)…but didn’t really work for the MKT (2013-) and MKS (2013-2016). It never looked good on the Navigator (2015-2018).

  • avatar
    RSF

    The BMW kidney grill is another one that looks great on the sedans and coupes, but not so much on the SUV’s, especially X7.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Buick fender vents! These are so popular that you can get them on ANY vehicle you want. Just go down to PepBoys and buy set of the self-adhesive variety. This, of course, adds 50 bhp and takes your car to the “next level!”

    • 0 avatar
      TMA1

      And if you really want more power, you can add those to the front doors, the rear doors, AND the rear fenders. All things that I have actually seen.

  • avatar
    R Henry

    Amazing how GM is such a sore subject around here!

  • avatar
    JoeBrick

    The Ford Torino GT recycled the taillights from the 1960 Ford.

  • avatar
    ajla

    Vertically stacked headlights, which many manufacturers used across different models/brands in the 60s, looked great.

    I also like that basically every Jaguar sedan from 1961 to 2009 had styling cues to make it easily identifiable as a Jaguar.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      The stuff they’re making now is very derivative, from a style basis. With the exception of the gorgeous F-Type and the cool and catlike I-PACE, nothing they make looks distinctive, really.

      Side note: I was surprised to see a 2014 or 2015 XJ with 92.000 miles on it. It was a V6, too, not the V8, and it was just RWD rather than AWD (AWD is optional on the V6 only). The surprise part was that they were asking $29,000 for it.

  • avatar
    Flipper35

    I have to admit that Ford did a good job cribbing the AM front end for the Fusion. Handsome sedan that one is.

  • avatar
    Andre Robinson

    How about how Ford took the tail lights from the 3rd gen RX-7, put it on the 3rd gen Taurus, and later mimicked that for the 1st gen protege-based 3rd gen Escort?

  • avatar
    Andre Robinson

    Oh, forgot the obvious, every Audi and BMW. “Same sausage, different length”.

  • avatar
    ToolGuy

    The Corvette picture – this has been bothering me and I have to say it (just in time for the “07.18.19” reveal as it turns out):

    –> The skin tag on that door is just not acceptable.

    Mary Barra was right to wear black, because we are witnessing the death of a brand.


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