QOTD: Keep a Lid on Things?
Last night’s online conversation about bad General Motors vehicles wasn’t the first of its kind, and it’ll surely not be the last. More important than restful sleep, wee-hours back-and-forths about rattly but somehow indestructible GM J-bodies are an important part of staying sane as lockdown measures remain in place on both sides of the Detroit River.
Naturally, thoughts of Cavalier soon turned to CALAIS, and from there to an aspect of that particular era that’s always bothered yours truly: rooflines.
The move to upright, formal rooflines among domestic nameplates at the dawn of the 1980s never sat right with this writer, but they could be forgiven if the body donning them was of the full-size variety. Give me a slant-backed ’79 LeSabre coupe over a 1980 model any day. That said, I’m okay with an upscale Ninety-Eight with a Reagan Era greenhouse. Things got far more questionable, however, after the Great Mid-Eighties Downsizing, with FWD everywhere but those near-vertical rear panes of glass still intact. Formal rooflines didn’t carry over well, except in the case of that aforementioned compact Oldsmobile.
Seemingly tiny N-body and K-body cars looked like they’d been sandwiched between two cube vans in a chain-reaction crash. The H-body, in comparison, looked positively streamlined.
Of course, American passenger car rooflines spanned the gamut once upon a time, with rear glass going beyond vertical in the 1960s Mercury Breezeways and their late-’50s Continental forebears. Among domestic rooflines, one of the greatest greenhouses was seen on GM’s line of svelte 1961-model year “bubbletops,” what with their sharply raked, barely there C-pillars and nearly uninterrupted visibility. A design coup that followed two very confused styling years for The General.
Let’s keep this roofline talk a domestic affair — and normal passenger cars only, please. Of all the many American-made vehicles to roll past your eyes, which model(s) sported the worst-looking roofline?
[Images: General Motors, Mecum Auctions]
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