Coke Bottle Styling - Development


Studebaker introduced the Raymond Loewy-designed Avanti with pronounced Coke-bottle look in 1962. That began the trend of Coke-bottle influence on automotive design of the 1960s. The 1962 Pontiac full-size models "had a subtle horizontal crease about half way down and a slight wasp-waist constriction at the doors which swelled out again in the rear quarters" One of the cleanest examples of the “Coke bottle” styling was the 1963 Buick Riviera.

Automotive designers quickly succeeded to incorporate the "wasp waist" body shape among numerous passenger cars. Chevrolet first tried the coke bottle look on Bill Mitchell's 1963 Corvette Sting Ray as a styling theme since the area rule does not apply at road speeds. By 1966, the General Motors A-body sedans received a mid-riff pinch and "hop up" fenders. The 1968 Corvette looked even more like a bottle bulging at both ends and a narrow middle. Intermediates such as the Pontiac Tempest, Dodge Charger, and Ford Torino soon followed suit, as well as compacts such as the Ford Maverick and Plymouth Duster. General Motors also styled their "B" body full-size cars from 1965-68 with this style, which is most prominent on the "fastback" 2-door hardtop models. Chrysler's "interpretation of the Coke-bottle styling treatment to its struggling B-body cars ... ... smooth lines, subtly rounded curves, and near perfect proportions." Design "themes" such the "hop up" fenders became so pervasive across the industry that American Motors' all-new 1967 Rebel was criticized because "viewed from any angle, anyone other than an out-and-out car buff would have trouble distinguishing the Rebel from its GM, Ford, and Chrysler Corp. competition." Notable automobiles with this style include many of the muscle cars during this era, such as the Pontiac GTO, Chevrolet Camaro, and Dodge Charger.

As tailfins were influenced by jet aircraft of the 1950s, stylists such as Ford stylist Bill Shenk who designed the 1970 Ford Torino were inspired by supersonic aircraft. Aircraft such as the F-102 were designed with narrow waists and bulging forward and rear fuselages to conform to the area rule to achieve supersonic speeds.

This styling "was to be seen right across the marketplace and, before long, around the world." Japanese, European, and Australian automobiles also adopted this style during the 1970s. The smallest car with this style is usually considered to be the 1967 Suzuki Fronte 360, which was less than 3 metres (10 ft) long.

Not all cars displayed the full "plan-view" Coke bottle styling, with the waist narrowing. Some of them, like the British Ford Cortina Mark III achieved a similar look in their profile with the front wing curving up over the front wheel area and a much more pronounced curve over the rear wheel arch. The 1969-70 Mustang is another example of this rear wheel arch kick-up.

By the late-1970s and early-1980s, cars like the Ford Fairmont and Chrysler K-cars moved towards straight lines. The Audi 5000 and Ford Taurus led towards functional aerodynamic styling. The revived Dodge Charger and similar Dodge Avenger does not have a complete Coke bottle body, but they have a rear fender line evocative of the 2nd generation Dodge Charger.

Modern muscle cars like the Fifth-generation Chevrolet Camaro and Dodge Challenger also have Coke bottle styling.

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