Spannerhead Dot

Cars That Look Awful Without Spoilers

May 22, 2012 by Matt

As a designer, I’d like to think that my designs don’t stand or fall depending on whether or not a certain design element is present. Especially given that engineers have to comb over the design and alter it so that it’s able to actually be manufactured economically, it’s wise to not cling too tightly to any one particular element.

Unfortunately, many automakers all too often anchor their designs too firmly in a particular styling detail (the BMW E38’s rocker panels, for example), and frequently it happens to be one that isn’t integrated with the car’s proportions or worse, removable. The cars featured in this post fall into the latter category, and the absence of their factory-designed spoilers, or rear wings, completely compromises their styling integrity.

Mk4 Mark 4 Toyota Supra JZA80 No Spoiler Wing

’93-’98 Toyota Supra: Notwithstanding its legendary status in the import tuner scene, this car’s styling was never warmly received by the automotive press at large. One publication aptly described it as a “pastiche of styling cues from other, more coherent cars.” And with its dramatic spoiler removed, the flaws in the Mark 4 Supra’s proportions stand out all the more.

Mitsubishi Mitsu Evo Evolution 10 X MR No Spoiler Wing

Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution: Here’s an instance where a vehicle needs its spoiler not only for visual balance, but also to reinforce its “rally-ready” image. The Evo and archrival Subaru WRX STI wouldn’t be what they are without a liberal sprinkling of scoops, fins and wings. Bereft of its spoiler, the Evo’s econobox proportions scream.

Porsche 924 Red No Spoiler Wing

Porsche 924: Credit Porsche for recognizing this problem, and tackling it head-on with the later 924 and 944, which were never, ever seen without their giant rubber spoilers. The early 924’s cool reception (owing mainly to its mixed Porsche/VW pedigree) was chilled even further by the car’s unfinished-looking, egg-like rump.

Mazda MX-6 MX6 No Spoiler Wing

Mazda MX-6: With its fetching teardrop proportions, Mazda’s second-generation MX-6 is undoubtedly one of the loveliest cars of the mid-’90s era. All the more tragic, then, to witness a spoiler-less example, with its awkward profile. A winged MX-6 is such a study in taste and automotive grace that even a step away from that peak of design is a steep drop, visually-speaking.

Filed under: Aesthetics, Miscellaneous


  1. John D says:

    Amen to all that. You picked great examples and I agree wholeheartedly.

    I’m sure I’ve told you about the MX-6 that I almost got instead of the ’96 Camaro, haven’t I? It was a very nice car…but I’m sort of glad I got the Camaro instead. Low speed burnouts and kicking the tail end around tight turns was tons of fun and I was never really temped to push the car too hard at speed because I just knew it wouldn’t react very well. With the MX-6 I may have been temped to push it’s handling limits at higher and higher speeds because, frankly, that’s the only way you’re going to have much fun with it. ;)

    • Matt says:

      No, I never heard about the MX-6. Tim and Matt Kertchmar bought a V6 example back in the day, which they flogged and promptly blew up, IIRC.

      I’m glad you got the Camaro too. Once you go RWD, you can never really go back…

  2. Ryan says:

    I’m almost always a fan of spoilers on cars but their are rare exceptions, so I enjoyed your thoughts on this topic. Another vehicle that particularly annoys me without a spoiler is the second generation Acura TL’s. I suppose I’m a little more aware of this particular vehicle since my wife drives a 2003 Type-S. But none the less, the back of this model just seems to slope away too much, and resemble the front of the car too closely, without a spoiler. That’s just my humble opinion though. I have a buddy with the exact same model as my wife’s car and he can’t stand them WITH a spoiler… too each their own I suppose. I think he’s just biased though, lol. The spoiler was one of my prerequisites when looking for the car in the first place, or it was going to be added soon after purchase if I found THE car sans spoiler.

    All of your above examples are spot on, except I have to disagree with the Supra. I still think with the right set of wheels and suspension stance that it can look rather sexy without a spoiler. I do still tend to prefer one though.

    Anyway, glad to see some more posts from you.


    • Matt says:

      Thanks Ryan. I’m doing what I can—very busy these days between kid/family stuff, work and working on the Z.

      TL Type-S’s are nice cars! I have to say I can’t really visualize what you’re saying about the spoiler, though—to me the shape looks pretty balanced overall, so it could have one or not. But as you allude to, beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

  3. Pete says:

    This is an excellent little article I stumbled across whilst trawling for a lower profile rear wing for my ’94 Supra. I have now changed my mind and will happily accept what the designers intended and will simply leave the factory spoiler in place. I am also a fan of ‘everything factory’ and firmly believe that things like wheels, bodykits and paint colours originally supplied with the car should remain unchanged. Designers know…
    Tarted up cars are unattractive, much like tarted up people.

    • Matt says:

      Hi Pete. Thanks for commenting! I agree with you that in the vast majority of cases, efforts to “improve” upon the designers’ decisions meet with utter failure. They’re paid the big bucks for a reason, haha.

      That said, just because the mk4 Supra doesn’t look good without a spoiler doesn’t necessarily mean the factory piece is the only one that looks good on the car. I happen to think the TRD spoiler looks quite good. It’s less cartoon-y than the OEM unit, much more effective in actually creating downforce (the purpose of a spoiler), and it could even be argued that it’s a Toyota-sanctioned add-on.

  4. The thing with the Lancer Evo is that a spoiler only reinforces its dreaded boy racer stereotype (which I’d say is far more pervasive to the average onlooker than its rally heritage). With the spoiler delete, at least there is a whiff of ‘hey, I’m at least trying to be understated; give me some credit, okay?’ I would drive the car (and love doing so) with or without the spoiler, but given my druthers, I’d ditch the spoiler.

    • Matt says:

      It’s true; the spoiler is very cartoonish (albeit functional, but there are so many imitators out there that you wouldn’t know). It’s a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t” situation with the Evo, sadly. I’d have the spoiler and endure the jabs.

  5. Jeremiah says:

    I would add the MKII MR2

  6. Dick Milky says:

    The Supra actually looks way better without the wing

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