Tailfins: Which Classic Wore Them Best?
I know, right? The moment you see the Citroën DS Safari’s well-hidden and beautifully-integrated tail fins—that start just ahead of the cockpit, as on many airplanes—is a great time to reflect on the most memorable Jet Age styling cue. Which classic car wore the best tailfins?
The brief is simple: they should exist mostly for styling, and the addition of both chrome trim and styled rear lenses is a bonus (as with the Safari) but not a strict requirement. I adore the Safari’s modest and sleek fins, but there are examples of outlandish ones that fit the bill. My favorite fins are on a European sports car, feature brash chrome alone the top, afterburner-style taillight lenses, and were drawn by one of the most famous Italian carrozzeria.
Better still: they’re on one of the most affordable European sports cars available: the Volvo P1800.
“The P1800 has tailfins?!” you may be thinking, but look: there they are. So well-integrated into the overall shape, the fins aren’t pointed at the top of their trailing edge as on many American classics that also wear the styling cue. Volvo even included a ton of chrome to brighten things up, but again, the trim is on a surface that naturally receives a lot of sunlight, so it’s not really noticed until you see a P1800 without it and wonder why it looks so strange.
For a dash of provenance, Volvo asked a design house to help assist during the car’s development. Even the original Frua-penned prototype wears the fins and trim that entered production, which is (in my estimation, at least) one of the few times a carrozzeria design was reproduced without much alteration in such large numbers.
Anyway, which classic car do you think had the nicest-looking set of tailfins?