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From: Dick Woodside
Remote Name: 188.8.131.52
Date: December 03, 2002
Ralph Nader already wrote to Congress, about 35 years ago, to let them know why they should outlaw fins. Everyone remembers Nader's work with the Corvair, but that was only one chapter of "Unsafe At Any Speed". Another chapter was devoted to the Cadillac fins of 1959 and 1960. By the time Nader's book and Congressional appearances took place, I doubt any legislative response to fins, specifically, was needed. The free market and stylists' own sensibilities took care of that. But there was still work for Congress: safety provisions, written in general terms, that established SOME parameters which would effect styling. One thing we got from that was spring-loaded hood ornaments. Legislation has its place, but aesthetics is not an area for legislative effort. Politicians are the last people we need to consult about style! Still, the reality is that there is no business case, as the current car guys are forced to call it for the benefit of the accountants-in-charge, for literal copies of 45 year old styling cues. So, modern interpretations of retro themes can easily conform to the governmental parameters. It is the confines imposed by the actual customers that pose the real problem. Do huge numbers of modern customers really want retro-styling? (After the jelly-bean decade of the 1990s, I think the public was hungry for ANY styling, retro, futuristic, or a simply body crease, to distinguish a Nissan Sentra from Hyundai from a Corolla.) As much as collectors of old cars love our old cars, I have to say that even though I would like to buy new cars that appeal to me, I doubt I would buy a new "retro-style" car, because I would always be thinking about how many real, old cars I could buy, for the price one new "retro" car. For me, I'll keep buying 10-12 year old used cars for transportation, and save my money for real old cars.