Sunday, June 06, 2021

Continuous Lines

"Wouldn't you really rather have a Buick?"

Harley Earl's design for the 1942 Buick Super and Roadmaster was longer, lower, and wider than its predecessor. It also had memorable styling. Due to the production interruptions in Detroit caused by the war effort, the basic body style was still used through the 1948 model.

Called "Airfoil" fenders, the line of the front fenders swooped in a downward curve along the car's flanks until it met the rear fenders, creating a continuous styling swoop along the side of a Buick that was quite distinctive.

It was so distinctive that, even after the era of separate fenders had ended, it lingered on as a chrome styling line, known as the "Sweepspear" as seen on this 1957 Buick Special.

With the two-tone paint schemes popular in the Fifties, the Sweepspear was the dividing line between the different paint colors.

Buicks didn't get much longer, lower, and wider than this 1967 Buick Wildcat, and the general shape of the Sweepspear is still visible in its body lines.

The 1967 Wildcat featured the new 430cid Buick big-block V8, replacing the old 425, which was the largest-displacement variant of the "Nailhead" Buick. The 430 would eventually get a displacement increase to become the legendary 455.

Even after the swoopy space-age styling of the late Sixties and early Seventies devolved into the dull formal angularity of the late Seventies and early Eighties, the Sweepspear clung on, albeit in the most vestigial of forms. Check out the shape of the pinstripe accent line running along the top of the fenders on this 1985 Riviera convertible...