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Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

Posted September 24, 2019 9:00 AM by dstrohl
Pathfinder Tags: automotive Concept Discussion model

It’s easy for old car enthusiasts to dismiss today’s cars as bland, undifferentiated transportation modules, just as it’s easy for new car enthusiasts to dismiss old car enthusiasts as cranks who simply aren’t willing to get with the times. However, as we take stock of the current automotive cohort, at least one criticism of new cars that old car enthusiasts frequently make holds true – it’s mighty hard to identify a car’s model year by looks alone anymore.

All too often, when you hear or read a story about somebody who works with cars for a living, they establish credibility by claiming they could rattle off car names at an early age or at night just by the configuration and shape of their headlamps or taillamps. Indeed, they were able to do so because annual model year changes once went far beyond tweaks to the car’s software and options package. Almost as a rule, lighting and trim often changed from year to year, and sheetmetal occasionally went through mid-cycle revisions.

But along the way, body style became less indicative of model year.

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#1

Re: Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

09/24/2019 11:00 AM

Car designers should take the 50's and 60's body styles and just upgrade the drive trains and other unseen components that make the car more efficient and dependable...

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Re: Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

09/24/2019 12:46 PM

I'd opt for another 1968 Dodge Charger, thank you.

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Re: Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

09/24/2019 11:25 PM

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Re: Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

09/25/2019 7:01 AM

I think one reason for the similarities of the new vehicles is aerodynamics of the body shape.

It is almost impossible to hit a bird with the windshield anymore,the air flow simply directs it over the car.

I never wanted to hit a bird,but traveling many miles over many years,I have noticed the difference.

Car body shapes are merging toward the ideal low resistance shape to achieve the least wind resistance and maximum efficiency.

Changes from year to year are minor because of this.

I do miss the old styles that made it easy to distinguish models by year and manufacturer.

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Re: Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

09/25/2019 10:52 AM

Personality.

It is hard to find in the cookie cutter aerodynamics driven design studios.

Instead of developing more efficient engines, they do this.

Not a good business model unless you are being subsidized to look the other way and not improve the engine and drive train.

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Re: Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

09/26/2019 7:46 PM

You DO realize that the current administration has rolled back all auto gas mileage requirements for ALL new American vehicles to former standards, don't you?

There's now no incentive to produce more efficient engines.

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Re: Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

09/27/2019 10:01 AM

Exactly Lyn, and with years and years of government subsidies, there never was.

But it has happened. The age of oil as our primary mover is dead. VW and Daimler have both announced they are suspending ICE development and building electric car plants. VW has just inked a deal that will put them in the battery business like Tesla.

Then there is China and India. The two biggest markets on the planet. One has already set the death date, the other is working on it.

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, FCM has bought up all of Teslas carbon credits so they can keep building the Hemi machines for a while.

We didn't used to be this slow. America used to proudly lead on these sorts of things. Amazing what pandering to the rich will do to your country.

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Re: Open Diff: When Were Car Model Years Last Identifiable by External Appearance Only?

09/30/2019 11:09 AM

Yes, because Mother Nature has done the evolutionary "weeding," such as why almost ALL eggs are similarly shaped regardless of who laid them.

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