When Marcello Gandini first put pen to paper and let inspiration guide his hand in the creation of what would eventually become the Countach – a car that would be named for the emotive expression called to mind upon first seeing it – the design looked a lot more like its precedent Miura than did the final production cars. That original, which was all clean flowing lines dominated by a steep rise leading to the front wheel arch and a longer, more gentle one describing the rear, was a visceral expression of both beauty and the beast. It also was woefully inadequate in providing sufficient ventilation for the big V12 that sat amidships.
Because of the need to be both visually arresting and capable of traveling more than a mile before suffering a seized engine due to overheating, Lamborghini added a number of ducts and, most prominently, a pair of air catchers that looked industrial in their inspiration, and expedient in their execution. These haunch-capping scoops fundamentally changed the look of the car, causing it to shed its sinuous sixties persona for what would become perhaps the most emblematic icon of seventies angularity.
That’s just one example of an automotive styling element made necessary by either function or convenience, and that sticks out like a sore thumb. Others include the strange Weber-clearing hood bulge on the Aston Martin V8 Zagato, or the weird front bumper whiskers that Nissan claims provides fractional improvement to the GT-R’s aerodynamics. So many cars have had to carry such styling blemishes, some awkwardly, while others like a badge of honor. What do you think has been the most egregious example?
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