Journal: Can Something Be Captivating Because It’s Uncommon?

Can Something Be Captivating Because It’s Uncommon?

By Michael Banovsky
October 2, 2015

In the early ’70s, Porsche—like every other carmaker—decided to add stripes to its 911. Stripes themselves are nothing new, least of which in Stuttgart, but instead of taking the easy route, designers envisioned a more polarizing look. I can imagine the styling studio exchange now:

Designer #1: “What if ‘911’ covered the hood of the car?”

Designer #2: “Sounds cool, what if it was so bold and obvious and brilliant that we could remove the Porsche crest from the hood as well?”

Designer #3: “…this is so contemporary, we should offer them in different colors, too!”

The result, you see above in a Porsche photo from its first driver training outing in 1974, were the so-called “Safety Stripes”, available in black, silver, orange, or gold. What makes them safer? They’re matte, with a number of sources saying the finish was to reduce glare. Rare? Yeah, you bet, and accurately replicating the look isn’t simple: cars originally ordered with them were fitted with hoods without the holes needed to affix the Porsche crest.

The 1974 911 was completely revised for a number of safety-related items, including its bumpers. The “Safety Stripes” are but one example, but I think I’ve fallen in love with how they look.

Is there a vintage accessory you’re equally captivated by? 

Images via

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Bobby Degenhart
Bobby Degenhart(@bobbydgo)
4 years ago

Interesting… In 1974 Chevy gave the Camaro Z/28 the exact same graphics treatment. Wonder who was aping who. My guess is Chevy was the follower here, not the leader…

Brynner Batista
Brynner Batista(@fb_471126716399555)
6 years ago

How about this for uncommon? Seems like a stretch today, but these really were the usable supercar of their day: the MB 300SL. Furthermore, with the sweltering cabin, using one as a winter car almost makes sense! (Taken at Palos Verdes Concours 2015)

6 years ago

Rally cars of the same era also had matte black hoods for the purpose of glare reduction.

Guitar Slinger
Guitar Slinger(@gtrslngr)
6 years ago

There’s a plethora of ‘ uncommon ‘ items and design elements , graphic and otherwise , that have found their way on to cars [ and M/C’s ] over the years that are anything but .. ‘ captivating ‘ .. looking entirely out of place and doing more to detract or distract from the looks than add anything to them .

No Mr Banovsky .. what makes the 911 ‘ Safety Stripes ‘ so absolutely goram ‘ captivating ‘ is the fact that they were so bloody well designed and integrated into the overall design .. even as you’ve stated requiring body modifications in order to fit them .. to the point that they appear as if they’ve been on 911’s since the 901 .. which of course they hadn’t .

THAT … good sir .. is the art .. as in A-R-T of graphic design at its finest . Adding something new that looks like its always been there and does everything to enhance the overall looks rather than detract or distract from them

Alexandre Goncalves
Alexandre Goncalves(@cacem)
6 years ago

Probably mud flaps – Both of my cars have the original ones. According to legend, Ferrari made them go away over here in Portugal, as they wouldn´t sell any Ferrari with them on…)