Styling Faux Pas: Chrome Noses
Today we begin a new series spotlighting ill-conceived design trends, styling decisions that provoked more than their fair share of head scratching and features that turned out just plain ugly. Think of it as a repository for all those little mental “design notes” I file away as I observe the cars around me on my commute.
Designers have a number of “hail marys” they can throw when unable to successfully resolve the lines on a particular area of the car, but perhaps none is so obvious as the classic technique of just loading up the region with chrome.
Visualize any of the cars in this article with color-keyed bodywork in place of the chrome. What happens? The fascias of the cars become boring, uninteresting, dull, evidence that the contours and lines—the car’s visual bedrock—weren’t successful enough to stand on their own, without the “enhancement” of the shiny stuff.
For the record, I have no problem with chrome in general—when applied in a restrained, tasteful manner that supplements the car’s proportions and shapes, rather than becoming the main attraction (or detraction). As it is, with the examples shown, among others, there’s more frosting than cake.