Over the years, car designers have committed some horrendous crimes of fashion, taking bad taste past the point of forgiveness. This is especially true of most of the cars that rolled off the assembly line in the late '70s, sporting cheap-looking or tacky details that were not only ugly, but in most cases completely useless.
One particularly heinous example is fender vents. None of the Chrysler, Lincoln or Buick "personal luxury" coupes that Detroit pumped out at the end of the Disco-era actually called for a ventilation system in their front quarter panels, yet there they were. In an attempt to harken back to turn-of-the-century classics such as old Cadillac V12s, these decorative slats gave off the impression that there was an engine under the hood so powerful that it needed room to breathe. In reality, most of these boats barely moved, and only featured large engines to complement the cars obesity.
But this is far from the worst offense that plagued the "personal luxury" coupes of the '70s. The interiors, though comfortable as any lazy-boy, did not age well in most cases. In the Cadillac Eldorado of the era, the bench seats inside more closely resembled a tacky sofa. These seats came with button-tufted pillow tops that were surely a driving hazard for the nap-prone grandfathers who actually bought these mattresses-on-wheels. Unlike many of the best interiors of the '60s, which featured timeless bucket seats that were firm and had plain detailing, all you'd need to do is hang a disco ball from the rear view mirror of one of these '70s models to make it seem anymore dated.
The worst crime committed by Detroit in the 70s? Chromed plastic. It seemed to take no time for cars that featured faux-chrome accents to start shedding pieces of silver paint as they cruised on into the '80s and '90s. Though the detail was developed with the best of intentions, instead of adding luxury without the added expense, the cars only looked cheaper as the elements took their toll.
The '70s weren't all bad by any stretch, but like disco, it's best to leave some of the more egregious trends in the past.
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