Design

Can You Guess Why The Modern Car Got So Curvy?

Not long ago we were all driving around in boxes and then everything changed overnight.

Unless you were a child art prodigy (or even a halfway decent drawer), chances are that you drew your cars using a series of boxes. A small long box up front was for the hood of the car, a larger blocky box in the middle represented the passenger cabin, and at the rear there was one final box for the trunk. Add wheel arches underneath the front and rear box, wheels under those, and windows in the middle box and boom, you had a Crayola masterpiece for mom to tack onto the fridge.

In case you didn’t notice, it’s a bit harder for kids to draw cars nowadays and it’s not for lack of talented children. Instead, you can put the blame on the auto industry for replacing the stout lines of the 80’s to the curvaceous jelly beans of the 90’s that altered the car’s silhouette forever.

As much as we like to criticize the design of cars like the Ford Taurus of the mid 80’s, it’s shapely lines are responsible for bringing rounded styling to cars in America. What’s more is that consumers could no longer afford to pay the price of ownership for boxier cars, which guzzled down gas at the pumps. Faced with increasingly strict fuel economy regulations, cars got even more round. Even today it’s possible to see how cars like the ultra low drag coefficient Tesla Model S are more rounded than some of the less efficient competition. Wherever this leads us, at least the styling of cars today is as good as we could hope for.

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