While Kimberlee over at Buggy Side has been blogging about awesome and sensible mechanical wonders that operate on the tundra, I have been distracted by a different automotive trend. It’s neither awesome nor sensible. Either it’s stupid, or I don’t understand it. Here’s a picture of what I’m talking about:
Fake porthole vents adhered to the front fenders of cars…why? I was trying to describe this to my sister Andrea, recently, because she had not seen it, living in Arizona where people probably don’t do such things. My information is certainly limited, but here is what I have observed and my conclusion about it.
For many years during its heyday, the Buick division of General Motors had as one of its trademarks the porthole vents. They were likely functional for a while, but eventually they were fake, even as early as the 1963 Buick LeSabre my parents had when I was a kid. Every now and then, Buick will attach similar portholes to their new models; in fact, some of their current cars use them. (What do you mean “use”, Patterson; they don’t do anything!) But now I see these stick-on “vents” on all manner of modern automobiles. And they aren’t coming from the factories that way. People are feeling the need to affiliate their modern ride with historical Buick. Again, I don’t know why.
The photo above is of a very fine-looking BMW. It has no need to look like a Buick! That’s like deciding to improve the looks of the Biltmore House by putting plastic flowers in all the windows. The BMW still looks good, I will admit, but it’s just wrong. Most of the cars that display the portholes do so to the detriment of their appearance. What is this all about? It obviously has transcended the Buick status symbol and taken on a life of its own. Over the last few days I have observed these chrome-colored plastic scars on two Cadillacs, a Suzuki, two Dodge pickups, a Chevrolet pickup, and (this is so sad) a Nissan Xterra. In recent weeks I have seen them on Mercedes, Mitsubishi, Hyundai, Lincoln, and probably many more. Some of them are diamond-shaped instead of round, but the idea is the same.
Maybe there is a reasonable reason behind it and someone out there can explain it to me. Until then, it’s just a popular trend, and therefore to be ridiculed and resisted.