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Why did the public accept tailfins?
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drosera88
Posted 2019-10-04 9:30 PM (#588421)
Subject: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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Why were fins and chrome liked by the general public when first introduced? What caused people tastes to change in the early 60's? 

 

It seems like car designs have kinda just stagnated since the early 2000's. We get the same car year to year, with almost all the exterior design focused on sculpting the sheet metal and chrome/plastic accents while retaining a similar stance, shape and profile. I understand that the main reason for this is due to aerodynamics and safety, but it feels like if the automakes did actually go back the outrageous aesthetics of the late 50's and early 60's, the general public just wouldn't like the designs. What caused this shift in attitude where most people want something that looks modest rather than a design that's more daring?

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mikes2nd
Posted 2019-10-04 10:01 PM (#588423 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?


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rocket fins were huge... space race... and Exner convinced Chrysler to take big gamble. They made the 58's the 57's... and bumped up production a full year, that crushed quality but GM and Ford were busy stealing the designs...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Space_Race


This took Ford and GM by surprise and they had to scrap their cars and try to copy Chrysler, maybe one day well see fins make a comeback.

I know chrome trim comes and goes. This "black" fad is stupid... The car companies must like it since they just have to slap black paint on everything.




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56D500boy
Posted 2019-10-04 11:10 PM (#588425 - in reply to #588423)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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mikes2nd - 2019-10-04 7:01 PM

rocket fins were huge... space race... and Exner convinced Chrysler to take big gamble.


Chrysler was in the rocket fin business starting in 1952 with the Redstone rocket so having fins on cars wasn't that much of leap if you think about it.

*AND* the US had recently come out of the Korean war where US jets (F-86 Sabre, etc) were successful. Easy to market fins that looked like jet airplane tailfins.







Edited by 56D500boy 2019-10-05 2:07 AM
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2019-10-05 12:49 AM (#588426 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: RE: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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drosera88 - 2019-10-05 6:30 PM

What caused this shift in attitude where most people want something that looks modest rather than a design that's more daring?



============================================

I think the word you're looking for is "BORING" ....

And the answer ? One word: Vinyl siding.
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2019-10-05 4:32 AM (#588428 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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The same time cars turned into appliances.
Looks aren't important anymore since the last 30-40 years for the general public's commuter boxes.
It doesn't matter how ugly cars get, zombie-people will buy them anyway.

Factory's don't make cars that 'the people' want, they just copy/paste last years design and change a few details to improve their CW-value so they can advertise with improved mileage.
If there isn't much 'design' to choose from, people start looking at cost and mileage first.
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GaryS
Posted 2019-10-05 5:56 AM (#588430 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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It's very basic..the freedom of the marketplace.

In the 1950's people designed products that were beautiful, exciting and desired by the public. Today, companies can only design products approved by regulations, and the public has chosen the latter as the process they prefer.
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firedome
Posted 2019-10-05 10:47 AM (#588436 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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Products reflect the times. The '50s was exciting and optimistic, and the cars and household goods had "pizzazz". The present is scary and depressing, people are turning inward, hence boring appliance-like cars - or more often SUVs/CUVs - prevail. Having grown up in the '50s, I'd gladly take those times over today!
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StillOutThere
Posted 2019-10-05 11:42 AM (#588441 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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We want and buy the newest of "whatever" because we are told by Madison Avenue (advertising and marketing) of all products from shoes to cars to smart phones that WE MUST GET IT to keep up with the other guy, to be cool, to be everything we can't be without it. So fins and chrome were "it" for a while. Now you need all things "green" but also a dozen cupholders in your next SUV.

People are sheep. They WILL FOLLOW what they are told to do.
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57chizler
Posted 2019-10-05 3:55 PM (#588446 - in reply to #588441)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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StillOutThere - 2019-10-05 8:42 AM
People are sheep. They WILL FOLLOW what they are told to do.


Yep, as much as I loved the fins I hate a lot of the current auto trends like black wheels.
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56D500boy
Posted 2019-10-05 4:18 PM (#588449 - in reply to #588446)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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57chizler - 2019-10-05 12:55 PM

I hate a lot of the current auto trends like black wheels.


I agree. I am hearing that chrome wheels in general are no longer likely to happen because of all the environmental issues surrounding the mining, refining and plating of the chrome.

That may or may not be true. (?)

BUT what is likely true is it is cheaper to paint a wheel than to go through all the steps to chrome it.

I say fine, painted silver wheels are fine with me.

However, *I* think the trend to black wheels is driven by people who are too lazy to wash their cars regularly, and in particular, the front wheels. As a result, the front wheels accumulate an unsightly amount of black brake dust on them. Lazy people (in my opinion) have realized that if their wheels are black, the brake dust is not going to show (as much) and they can continue to drive without that nasty inconvenience of cleaning their wheels (and maybe their car too). Hence, they select/prefer black wheels when purchasing a car.

RANT MODE OFF
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Doctor DeSoto
Posted 2019-10-05 10:44 PM (#588457 - in reply to #588449)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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Location: Parts Unknown
Anyone here ever read Pirsig, ... Zen and the Art of .... ?

"Phadrus, ask not what is new, ... ask what is good"

I have never understood the mindset that follows and craves fashion and trends.
What is good, IS good. What is bad, IS bad. It has nothing to do with being newer
or older. A 126 Series Packard is and will always be an awesome car. A 1952 Ford
is a turd, ... doesn't matter how much bacon grease you pour on it. Kapische ?

We, as a culture, have been brainwashed into believing black is white and day is
night, so to speak. The drums of the money machine beat on, and the public, in the
main, follows along mindlessly, never realizing they are being f$#%d in the #@!

What ?
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BigBlockMopar
Posted 2019-10-06 4:58 AM (#588465 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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Location: Netherlands
Real chromed wheels have to be made out of steel which adds rotating weight which hurts economy on a modern heap, so I think safe to say that won't happen easily anymore.
"Flash" (?) chromed aluminium 20+" wheels will mostly only appear on the clownesque pickups for the I-need-my-car-to-compensate-me crowd where mileage isn't much of an issue still.

Black wheels are 'in' these days on some models because it's considered to look 'performance' and made a car look 'tough'.
For the rest of the modernday car-buying-sheeples our there's always aluminium paint or even worse, plastic wheelcovers.

I've been driving around on a set of 17" aluminium wheels on my '73 Dart.
After some time I painted them satin black because the aluminium was getting ugly of pitting due to winter roadsalt, and I think they looked better in black for the car itself.
I left a thin edge on the wheel aluminium colored as a touch to 'break' the 'all black' appearance.
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57chizler
Posted 2019-10-06 5:57 PM (#588483 - in reply to #588465)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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For the bright wheel, polished aluminum with clear coat is an option, same cost as black paint and silver paint is quite attractive. My current daily driver has silver painted aluminum wheels.



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58coupe
Posted 2019-10-06 6:22 PM (#588485 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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I don't want to hijack this thread but I am leery of using chrome plated steel wheels because of the problem of hydrogen embrittlement that is introduced into the steel when it is chrome plated. Just what the term implies, it can cause the steel to be brittle and crack. Not sure if this problem has ever been completely solved but many years ago I had a chrome steel wheel crack and split open for no reason.
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57chizler
Posted 2019-10-07 2:11 PM (#588515 - in reply to #588485)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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Location: NorCal
Considering the millions of chrome wheels in use over the years, I don't see hydrogen embrittlement as an epidemic problem.
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lozrox58
Posted 2019-10-07 5:12 PM (#588525 - in reply to #588421)
Subject: Re: Why did the public accept tailfins?



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People don't accept a product.
They get sold a product by advertisers. Advertisers tell you what you need or want. And then we race out and buy it.
The most popular adverts of today sell a lifestyle. "You need a four wheel drive to enjoy the great outdoors, but you also need a top of the range car to keep up with the neighbours"
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