After reading Jim Grey’s Curbside Classic on the 1968 Plymouth Valiant over the weekend, I continued thinking about the frontal styling on the car. I never liked this style of Valiant as well as the later versions, but there was something about the look of the ’68’s snout that bothered me. It finally hit me. The front of the 1967-68 Valiant is almost a direct copy of the rear of the 1966 Plymouth Fury line. I should have realized this right away, as a former four-year owner (and periodic washer and waxer) of a 1966 Fury III.
The similarity is striking. On the Fury, the sculpting and indentation of the deck lid and the center of the rear panel was always unique. I never cared for the high crown in the center that tapered down on either side, but others certainly disagree. This feature is picked up almost exactly on the Valiant. Ditto the convex rear panel with the center crease – again, there it is on the front of the Valiant. I couldn’t find a good picture of a Fury I with no reverse lights, but one of those (with bright trim added) might have completed the look almost exactly. Or, in the alternative, imagine a Valiant with quad headlights with parking lights between, a’la Oldsmobile. Finally, there is the bumper shape. Again, almost a direct translation.
This got me wondering whether the front and rears of any other different related cars have ever been so similar. But rather than hurt my little head thinking about it, I decided to kick this one to the curbsiders. Do any other examples come to mind?
To me the obvious example has always been the tail of the 1966 full-size Pontiacs and the front of the 1967 (non-Grand Prix) cars. Of course I’m speaking of the extreme left and right ends only; nonetheless it seems to me that one clearly inspired the other. I recall how radical the 1967 front seemed, a huge departure from the 1965-66 cars (my folks owned two ’65 Bonnevilles at the time) while still retaining the stacked headlamps for one final year.
Off the top of my head I’m not remembering another car with such similar front and rear looks. During 1965-68 Plymouth was trying very hard to develop a cohesive design that differentiated it from Dodge. They succeeded fairly well — but then threw the look away by the early-70s. Too bad.
During the 1960s Brooks Stevens and Dick Teague experimented with designs that had a which-way-is-it-going look. For example, a 1965-66ish concept car by AMC (the Cavalier?) had interchangeable front and rear doors and even attempted to share some front and rear panels. Rather awkward but interesting. All that made it into the production 1970 Hornet were interchangeable front and rear bumpers and a thrust-forward grille with a similar look to the back.
The 72 Imperial looked pretty much the same at both ends
Call me silly, but I cannot help but be reminded of the small child insult of calling someone a “buttface.”
Back on topic, the rear grilles on some late 50s and early 60s cars created some front/rear visual similarity, for no functional reason. Early 60s Lincoln Continentals with wide rectangular front and rear grilles and peaked front and rear fenders are the best example that I can think of.
This one looks remarkably similar both coming and going!
Another one of Caption Janus’ creations? 🙂
I think that the Valiant front was intended to look like a simplified version of the front of a 67-69 Barracuda, but I can certainly see the resemblance to the rear of he Fury.
Hunh. How interesting. Plymouths had a “look” about them back then, which I know now was a similar design language. But I never put together the similarity between the Valiant front end and the Fury rear.
The 1967 Thunderbird looked like itself coming or going .
was the 1967 mercury cougar inspired by it? if so the cougar doubly benefits from the association with thunderbird.
WithOUT a Thunderbird In the lineup, Big or Small, Fords lineup is like a line of Sears cars, 3 sedans, a hatch, and a mustang…2 of those sedans double as what’s left of Lincoln. WHEN NOT Combined with their Ford Ka and other European offerings, Their 5 car line up us rather dated as well as dull.
theyre styld like 5 aero jelly beans of different lumps or sizes.
Oooh – I just thought of another one:
I must be the only one who likes the 70 Coronet/Superbee would love a Moulin Rouge/Panther Pink Superbee.Barbie’s muscle car! Never saw the similairity of the front and rear before now.
I almost talked a guy into trading his yellow on black with black vinyl top 383-powered ’70 Coronet 2-door hardtop like that for a 1960 Lincoln Premiere sedan I had at the time, but he changed his mind at the last minute.
In 1970, Dodge got the ‘loop’ bumpers first (Plymouth still had a traditional front bumper), so the 1970 Plymouth Road Runner Super Bird actually used Coronet front fenders.
I’m convinced that the 1970 Coronet front end was done with the sole intention of having a front fender design that would accomodate the Super Bird NASCAR nose cone.
An interesting theory. The 70 Coronet certainly is a polarizing look, you either love it or hate it. I’m in the former camp.
Here’s the car that first asked the question, “Is it coming or going?” The 1949 Studebaker Champion
JP, that Fury rear end also has touches of the 67-69 Barracuda in it, too.
I thought of the Barracuda but the hood sculpting is different with a bulge instead of an indentation. Grille theme is certainly similar.
The forgotten Barracuda ignored by classic car magazines,my brother had a very nice metallic green 69 fastback with a 318.
I always thought the front end of the 89-90 Cougar had an uncanny resemblance to the rear of the 83-86 T-bird.
Good catch. I’ve been subconsciously aware of these for decades, but never let it quite boil to the surface. Humans love to conserve mental energy; why not recycle ideas such as this? Beats coming up with something new.
That explains why new cars look the way they do. 🙂
Of course. the Nash Metropolitan used the same stamping for both doors, with the hardware reversed. The ’67 Shelby Mustang recycled taillights from the 1965 T-Bird. Taillights from the 1969 Maverick migrated to the Pinto and the Torino.
Speaking of recylced taillights, the first generation Dodge Durango used Caravan taillights. It always amused me that the Dodge SUV used parts from a minivan, given that most SUV owners avoided minivans like the plauge.