Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Questionable C Pillar Trim…..


During Auto Show season this past year, I was appalled at the cheap “C” pillar trim on the new Jaguar XJ series sedans. To me, something this tacky should never be on a car in this price range, let alone one costing half as much. So I thought that this topic was a perfect subject for Encyclopedia Hoonatica.


How many cars can you name with especially tacky “C” pillar trim to try and cover up some design or engineering defect, or just added on as some sort of jewelry? Besides the aforementioned Jaguar, there is at least one SUV, a few domestic sedans, and at least a couple of questionable coupes that have this design “feature”. Remember, please read the comments first and avoid duplicate posts.
DIFFICULTY: This one should be rather difficult for the average car enthusiast, but then again, you’re not the average car enthusiast……

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68 responses to “Encyclopedia Hoonatica: Questionable C Pillar Trim…..”

  1. Reuven Avatar

    That chrysler/dodge avenger.

  2. Alff Avatar

    I find the C (or D) pillar trim/taillight combo on the CTS wagon pretty abhorrent.

  3. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    The worst is when the C-pillar is hiding glass. This manipulation usually happens when the manufacturer decides to shrink the rear quarter-window during part of a low-budget facelift…without actually shrinking the rear quarter window. The two most jarring examples? The "opera window" Matador Barcelona and the Omni-based Dodge Charger.
    <img src="http://www.gatsbyonline.com/Users/8/Images/GatsbyAutomobilesDivers/MatadorX-14.jpg&quot; width="520">
    <img src="http://www.frenchlakeautoparts.com/shelby1.jpg&quot; width="520">
    I'm not sure if that's exactly a response you were intending, Jim, but it's still in the spirit of the question.

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      It just occurred to me that Ford went in the other direction in '87, having to extend the glass over part of the C-pillar when they chucked the louvers.
      <img src="http://mustangview.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/10/1987FordMustang_large.jpg&quot; width="400">

      1. straight6 Avatar

        From the other side of the atlantic Mercedes´approach to fit the rear glass into the sides of the SLC – add louvres. Highly discussed at the time, still a bit quirky, but I think it aged well.
        <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/d/da/Mercedes-Benz_SLC_%28C107%29_window.JPG/800px-Mercedes-Benz_SLC_%28C107%29_window.JPG&quot; width="600">

      2. TurboBrick Avatar

        The way the side windows are done on Fox bodies has always bugged me. The blacked out part is odd, but the fact that the side isn't flush because the door window "sinks" in just really doesn't go with my sense of aesthetics.

      3. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        "Glass over part of the C-pillar" is common these days, with seemingly-useful quarter windows being, in reality, the size of a deck of cards and thus functionally worthless.

      4. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

        and also in '86 with the Sable: (I know this is a '92+ model, but it started in '86 and this is the best C-pillar picture I could find quickly)
        <img src="http://www.fordf150.net/images/sablerear.jpg"&gt;

  4. dwegmull Avatar

    The Saturn SW line of station wagons looked like an after thought or an exercise in part sharing with the sedan (most likely the latter as the only way to make financially possible to produce the wagon):
    <img src="http://www.canadiandriver.com/articles/bm/images/00saturn_sw2_1.jpg"&gt;
    Picture from: <a href="http://www.canadiandriver.com/2001/02/19/used-vehicle-review-saturn-sw-1996-2001.htm” target=”_blank”>http://www.canadiandriver.com/2001/02/19/used-vehicle-review-saturn-sw-1996-2001.htm

  5. Feds_II Avatar

    Saturn Ion, Saturn Ion, a million times Saturn Ion
    <img src="http://cdn.getauto.com/photos/7/155127/1c/1G8AJ55F86Z147905-1c.jpg&quot; width=500>
    How many people remember that the ill-fitting trim starting at the A-pillar and arcing back to the mess of a C-pillar was designed to be replaceable, as in, you would buy tiger-print pieces to replace it so you could personalize your Ion. In the first year, it wasn't even colour matched.

    1. P161911 Avatar

      I don't think I have EVER seen a customized trim piece on an Ion. I remember when they came out that was supposed to be a big deal.

    2. Mr_Biggles Avatar

      I remember the Ion from the auto show the first year it came out. A friend put a deposit down on one largely because that trim piece on the show car was in an Edith Prickly style leopard print. Two months later they told her they weren't releasing the leopard print for production so she canceled the order.

      1. CSM Avatar

        That was a good call. Friends don’t let friends buy Ions.

  6. Goingincirclez Avatar

    Aw crap, The Angstmobile cometh again.
    <img src="http://goingincirclez.com/Kaleid/Albums/75MarkIV/800/010_M4_CC.jpg&quot; width=700>

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      Lol! So Is that beauty yours?

      1. Goingincirclez Avatar

        Indeed it is! Well, sorta… by virtue of me remobilizing and restoring the beast after 17 years of it festering, I sort of inherited it sans title from my in-laws. But it's stored there meanwhile, I get free all-access use of it whenever I like, and do all the work / maintenance / etc although they generously chip in some of the $ at their whim. So who needs a title? It's sort of a win-win for everyone!

        1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

          I have a secret and unhealthy fetish for the 74-76 Mark IV. No other Continental quite does it for me. Show me one in red or light green and I go ga-ga. It's neither logical nor explainable. Baby blue works on yours quite well…

  7. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

    <img src="http://autodata.ibsrv.net/images/?IMG=U4FOGEE2.jpg&WIDTH=425"&gt;
    I always thought that the way the molding continued around the top and bottom of the C-pillar on the later Ford Tempos looked out of place, like one of those old cars that've had the vinyl top removed, but the trim is left.

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      I liked it better then the "baby Continental" look of the Topaz's C-pillar
      <img src="http://www.edmunds.com/pictures/VEHICLE/1993/Mercury/2173/1993.mercury.topaz.7611-396×249.jpg"&gt;

  8. ZomBee Racer Avatar

    The C-Pillar trim found on some late MGBGTs was allegedly cheaper than finishing the bodywork on the panel joint. Hide shoddy with Tacky!
    <img src="http://www.simoncars.co.uk/mg/slides/aa_MG MGB GT MkIIIa badge.jpg" width="500" />

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Jaguar did the same thing with the XJ40 sedans – put a piece of chrome at the bottom of the C pillar to hide a seam. Ford money finally fixed it for 1995 with the major facelift.

    2. Slow Joe Crow Avatar

      Volvo did the same thing to the 140/240 series cars, although later ones ise a body color piece to make it less obvious.

      1. FuzzyPlushroom Avatar

        True indeed – here's my parts car, a 1989 244DL.
        <img src="http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4142/4905988135_47face053d_z.jpg&quot; width="600/">
        I always thought they pulled it off well, considering. I love the obvious straight lines in the bodywork, too.

  9. fisheater Avatar

    I really like the SVX but the windows/roof in general have never really worked that well.
    <img src="http://sherriesjournalthoughtsofacomplexmind.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/svx5.jpg&quot; width="600">

  10. Festiva_Movemnt Avatar

    While technically a d-pillar, the upsweep on the side dlo of the Murano seemed to do nothing but lessen visibility and add visual weight to the rear of the vehicle. About 5 years ago I did a photochop of this same image, replacing the 3/4 window with a more conventional design. Looked pretty good IMO.
    http://2010nissan.org/images/nissan_murano_1.jpg

  11. Alff Avatar

    … then we'll make it a design signature, uglifying our vehicles for the next decade.

    1. ZomBee Racer Avatar

      Sugoiiiiiiiiii!!!" Kampai Kenmeri!!!! Ooooiii!!

  12. tonyola Avatar

    Like many Japanese manufacturers in the '70s, Toyota never really knew when to stop when it came to adding chromey bits.
    <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2008/08/20/00/52/1976_toyota_celica_gt_liftback-pic-32238.jpeg&quot; width=500>

  13. tonyola Avatar

    "Let's make a heavy and awkward roof design even futzier by adding more trim!"
    "Great idea!"
    <img src="http://www.velocityjournal.com/images/full/2009/448/ra1965marlin44829212.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Deartháir Avatar

      Sadly, I love that one…

    2. Goingincirclez Avatar

      I've always loved that car. The transition from flank to trunk to roof is actually quite graceful. I'll give you this though: it would probably look even heavier without that little styling element to break up the expanse.

      1. tonyola Avatar

        The '67 Marlin did away with the double trim around the side windows and looks far cleaner for it.
        <img src="http://www.nashnut.com/ch07-67marlin2.jpg&quot; width=500>

        1. Goingincirclez Avatar

          Hmm, I guess I'll grant you that. However the earlier model almost appears to be moving while standing still… like the window is being stretched with speed. I guess this is one of those subjective things, but I'd more than gladly have either one! I do prefer the uptick in the quarter panel haunches for '67 though.
          BTW here's a near-twin to your '67. A work in progress I'd probably keep as-is for a while. Love the wheels on it, not sure about the bumper though.
          <img src="http://goingincirclez.com/FGImages/2009_Somernites/Cool_Customs/Marlin_3.jpg&quot; width="640/">

  14. tonyola Avatar

    1979 Chrysler New Yorker – possibly the worst use of vinyl and opera windows ever.
    <img src="http://static.cargurus.com/images/site/2009/08/19/23/07/1979_chrysler_new_yorker-pic-8060784950418106364.jpeg&quot; width=400>
    1979 Volvo 262C – A vinyl roof on a Volvo is like putting Grandma in a leather miniskirt.
    <img src="http://carphotos.cardomain.com/ride_images/3/2886/3103/32214051040_large.jpg&quot; width=400>

  15. tonyola Avatar

    Any of the '60s Thunderbirds with the S-shaped landau bars is a blow against good taste, but the '67-'71 four-door has to be the worst.
    <img src="http://www.collectorcarbuff.com/collector/tbird68.jpg&quot; width=500>

    1. Peter Tanshanomi Avatar

      My neighbor had one of those when I was a kid. I thought it was really bad looking at 6 years old. Considering how much gimmicky, overstyled stuff I thought was cool at six, that's really saying something.

    2. Goingincirclez Avatar

      I have a hard time trying to determine which was a bigger embarrassment to the Thunderbird name: these, or those horrid bricks from 1980-82.

  16. Macky D Avatar

    I have always, always, always hated the XJS C pillar . So much so that I bring it up in conversation at least once a month. I need help.
    http://memimage.cardomain.com/ride_images/2/4159/

  17. James S Avatar

    Ford Contour rear quarter glass always bugged me. How hard would it have been to put a piece of real glass there? The worst were the ones that had a polka dot bump pattern in them so they don't even look like glass. Tasteless.

  18. dragon951 Avatar

    I for one dislike this c-pillar intensely:
    <img src="http://automobilesdeluxe.tv/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/porsche-panamera-profile-automobilesdeluxe-640×427.jpg&quot; width="500" />
    I would much rather see it more like this (to hell with back seat headroom):
    <img src="http://www.autoevolution.com/images/gallery/medium/PORSCHE944Turbo-TurboS-951–medium-3030_4.jpg&quot; width="500" />

  19. dragon951 Avatar

    It could be worse. sigh It could be worse…
    <img src="http://www.caradvice.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2006/12/2007PorscheCayenneTurboRear.jpg&quot; width="500" />

  20. ptschett Avatar

    I'm going to get heck for this, but…
    <img src="http://www.fordvehicles.com/resources/ford/mustang/2011/accessories/mst11_acc_gtcpapp1.jpg&quot; width="500">
    (Yes, I know the original fastback had louvers. I prefer the GT350-esque quarter window.)
    Image source: FoMoCo's own site

    1. tonyola Avatar

      Fortunately those louvers are only an option.

    2. engineerd Avatar

      As a Mustang owner and general Ford fanboi, I would like to disagree with you. Sadly, I'm not so hardcore of a fanboi as to not see fault in some things Ford does, and this is one of them.
      Luckily, it's an option and/or aftermarket add on.

    1. tonyola Avatar

      The new 1971 Charger was introduced right on the tail end of the intermediate musclecar fad, so for the next few years, Chrysler desperately tried to re-position it as a "personal-luxury" car. The results were pretty sad, as you illustrate. For '75, the Charger became a Cordoba clone without much more success.

  21. Jim Brennan Avatar

    OK Guys, this is what I was thinking: Generation I Dodge Intrepid:
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/7f/Dodge_Intrepid_LB_1993-1997_19feb2007.jpg&quot; alt="">
    I think it would look better without the cheesy plastic…..

    1. Maymar Avatar

      My first thought too (I owned one). I still like the floating roof look, but given mid-90's Chrysler fit 'n finish, coupled with 15 years of fading, and it doesn't look so great.

  22. Thrashy Avatar

    <img src="http://autogreenmag.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/05/honda-cr-z1.jpg"&gt;
    Honda did it on the other end of the new CR-Z. Just another reason to kill it with fire.

  23. Balestra Avatar

    Dare I say I like the Flex? Particularly the floating roof. It's a traditional wagon, albeit an oversized one, and that by itself earns points with me. It just kinda works…

    1. Lex Avatar

      I'm with you. I think a special edition woody, with real wood, would look out of sight on a Flex.

    2. engineerd Avatar

      I don't hate the Flex either, but when we get on the subject of blacked out c-pillars, the Flex always comes to mine.
      OMG! Where did my pillars go! Oh, there they are.

      1. Balestra Avatar

        But that's kinda why I like them. Plus, it looks like a giant toy. it's a bit retro, but done right. AND it has a fridge!

  24. Feds_II Avatar

    This one is questionable… if the question is "Why can't all manufacturers get it this right?" Go on, find the rear door handle, I dares ya!
    <img src="http://www.niot.net/niot_570/alfa%20romeo%20156%20gta%20sportwagon%20niot.net%20%288%29.jpg&quot; width=500>

  25. straighteight Avatar

    <img src="http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3662/3307544010_297aa9bd16.jpg"&gt;
    Humber Sceptre estate
    It was bad enough that Chrysler slapped the Humber name on a Rootes Arrow, but making a wagon version was just criminal. The B-, C-, and D-pillars got wretched black or brown vinyl trim. Keep in mind the wagon did not have vinyl roof, so these tacky strips had no reason to exist. The sedan, on the other hand, had a full vinyl roof – but no pillar strips.

  26. Deartháir Avatar

    Whew! She's yummy enough that I don't care about the Jag!

  27. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Anyone fancy a Renault Fuego?
    <img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9e/Renault_Fuego_GTX_2.0_1981.jpg&quot; width="500">
    The C-Pillar is actually alright, I'm nodding towards the louvred plastic trim, and in fact I'm going to lobby for extra bonus points for what I believe is its unique employment from headlamp-to-taillamp. The Fuego must have made a big impression on me, seemingly every car I drew as a kid had some kind of plastic trim running the whole length.

  28. Rust-MyEnemy Avatar

    Also, allow me to express my discontent with the Toyota IQ, whos' C Pillar belongs to the wilfully wavy line school of automotive design.
    <img src="http://blog.carlist.my/wp-content/uploads/2010/06/toyota_iq_concept_1_x.jpg&quot; width="500">
    On the other hand, what I wouldn't give to see what lies beneath those slacks.

  29. Mr_Biggles Avatar

    We inherited a first gen ML from the in-laws. The B pillar is blacked out in cheap plastic, but what I really love is the D pillar is covered in some tinted lexan type stuff, similar to what's on the Jag XJ above. I guess it is supposed to look like continuation of the tinted rear and quarter windows. It's so crappy that the drivers side one has a horizontal crack running through it, likely since nearly new, and every other one I've ever seen on the road has the same crack.
    My feeling is the whole vehicle could be used for a study on how to rush a crappy vehicle to market to cash in on the SUV craze, but that is getting off-topic.
    <img src="http://home.surewest.net/mihir.dalal/images/ML320_4.JPG"&gt;

  30. engineerd Avatar

    On my way home from work I was looking at the various c-pillars. One of the most disturbing things I found was a treatment given to many vehicles from many manufacturers. Here it is demonstrated on a Ford Escape:
    <img src="http://www.cashforclunkersfacts.com/wp-content/uploads/ford4.jpg&quot; style="width: 500px; height: 315px; border: 0" alt="imgTag" />
    Do you see it? That little blacked out bit in the corner. Now, I know why that's there. However, why do so many car stylists just black it out? The only time that looks good is on a black car. Everything else seems to accentuate it, even though the designer was trying to hide it. To me, it shows the designer was being lazy. He didn't want it there, but it has to be there. So, instead of doing something to make it look good, he just tries to hide it.

    1. Age_of_Aerostar Avatar

      I rode in an Escalade once, and noticed that the rear side windows were different sizes, because of something hidden in the c-pillar. you can barely see that the glass extends over it, but at least it's better hidden:
      <img src="http://www.desktopcar.net/wallpaper/21706-2/Cadillac_escalade_90-1600.jpg&quot; width="400">

  31. tonyola Avatar

    Nissan Cube. Here was an opportunity to do some clever body engineering and create a truly panoramic wraparound rear window to eliminate the blind spot. How disappointing to discover that the expanse of glass covers thick rear pillars in the rear corner.
    <img src="http://image.trucktrend.com/f/10874134+w750+st0/163_0811_2008_laas_09z+2009_nissan_cube+rear_glass.jpg&quot; width=400>

    1. engineerd Avatar

      I drove a Cube for a few days while on a business trip last month. It is surprisingly not a bad car.
      I was a bit disappointed about the glass going around the pillar, too. However, it makes sense. We have rollover standards.

  32. Dolo54 Avatar

    This one always makes me want to puke. It doesn't look so bad in pictures, but in real life, that black plastic piece used to create the silhouette looks awful.
    <img src="http://www.autocity.com/img/actualidad/galerias/Do/Dodge_Avenger_2.0_CRD_SXT_3758_29.jpg&quot; />

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