Sunday, 23 February 2014

Design Highlight - Boomerang Taillights

1998-2001 Maserati 3200 GT
One of the key parts of designing an attractive automobile is getting the proportions right - balancing glass and metal volumes, balancing overhangs, putting the roof in the right place, etc. - but quite often the thing that sets a cars apart from others is a detail of some kind. A signature grille, perhaps, or a well-judged piece of surfacing, or even just fancy lights (a trend that has recently exploded). One recurring design feature that I always like is the "boomerang tail lights," first seen and best demonstrated on the Maserati 3200 GT above. Back when this car came out around 15 years ago, the vast majority of cars still used conventional bulbs in big red and grey shapes on the back, so to see these skinny little boomerangs with LEDs in them was very, very cool. It helped of course that they were sitting on the back of a V8 grand tourer, but they work pretty well on other cars too, such as these.

2002-06 TVR T350C

2013 Volvo Concept Coupé

2014 Lamborghini Huracán

1968 Pontiac Bonneville
I'm not sure why I find it so appealing, but I really do. In fact, when designing something I'll put them on anything I can get away with. They can be used to accentuate the width of a car like they do on that massive Pontiac above, or frame the tail like they do on the Maserati. The tragic thing about the latter is that when they revised it to make the 4200GT and GranSport models, the boomerangs were taken away and replaced with the most generic tail lights imaginable, I think because US regulations people didn't like them. Curse you, US regs! First the hideous sticky-out "impact bumpers" in the '70s and now this! Anyway, if you want to see boomerangs flying then feel free to watch the video below of a 3200GT at Spa Francorchamps. May the boomerangs one day come back!

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