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BangShift Question Of The Day: What Is The Latest “Iconic Body Style”?

BangShift Question Of The Day: What Is The Latest “Iconic Body Style”?

Once I’m done writing tonight and snore for a few hours, I’ll get up and start working the Danchuk Tri-Five Nationals for the weekend. It’s the one weekend of the year that the Corvette gets told to sit down and shut up in it’s hometown, because 1955-57 Chevrolet products are flooding the streets of Bowling Green and have been for the past few days. From perfect restorations to some of the meanest sons’o’bitches to roam around, the car that America still swoons over to this day will be well represented. And don’t worry, I’ve already seen one particular green 1956 two-door on the property at Beech Bend, so we can check that box.

Certain cars transcend their proper time line and fall into icon status. The Model T Ford might be the first, the 1932 Ford hot rod is up there, and the Tri-Five Chevrolet, especially the 1957 Bel Air, is in that same rarified air. You don’t need a model name, just pick a year and say, “Chevrolet” and you’re done. It doesn’t matter if you are for the 1955, 1956 or 1957 version. They all are recognized for their style, their advancements, and their ability to become whatever the owner wanted them to be.

Now, here’s where today’s question gets good. Are there any other iconic body styles that came out since that fit the same role? The 1964 Ford Mustang, of course, is there. But after that? You might be able to argue for the 1969 Dodge Daytona/1970 Plymouth Superbird on their sheer outlandishness and “at all costs” design strategy. But after that…is there an iconic car? Let’s go even easier…an iconic shape, a platform?

I’ll offer up one very loose possibility: the 1983-88 Chevrolet Monte Carlo SS. Style-wise itself, not so groundbreaking. But much like Mopar’s aero cars, the Monte Carlo SS shines not because of the street car, but because of it’s track-side performance and the imagery that it brought to the table. Drivers like Dale Earnhardt, Darrell Waltrip, Benny Parsons and Terry Labonte fought with Fords, Oldsmobiles, Buicks and even the last holdouts of Chrysler products on tracks across America. The Super Sport nosecone was unique to the model and while the street car was a bit of a pup, it looked the part properly. You could easily see the relationship between NASCAR stocker and the car someone drove to the track, and there was more than just sticker service at hand.

After that, though, I don’t know. You could make arguments for and against such vehicles as the first-generation Ford Bronco, the 1994 Dodge Ram and the 1994-96 Chevrolet Impala SS, but none seem really to stick. That’s where you come in, readers. What body style post-1957 that isn’t the first-generation Mustang is worth calling “iconic”?

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23 thoughts on “BangShift Question Of The Day: What Is The Latest “Iconic Body Style”?

  1. jerry z

    That’s an easy one, ’79-’93 fox body Mustang. It’s amazing they started producing this car 40 yrs ago!

  2. Glen Hayes

    I look at the 1968-1969 Sports roof Torinos because of their success in Nascar. They are the reason that Dodge built the Daytonas and Plymouth built the Superbirds. That was an era when auto manufacturers went all out to win and to sell cars.

  3. Jeepster in Tennessee

    Jeep JL JK TJ from 1997 – present and these actually
    trace back to the CJ5, 6, 7 and CJ8 Scrambler iconic body styles
    designed from 1953 !

    Iconic, possibly the most American on the planet.

  4. Matt Cramer

    I’m going to throw out a curveball: Second generation Toyota Prius.

    Are you screaming that this barely counts as a car? That it looks like a gigantic garden slug instead of a work of automotive art? That it’s the ride for extreme eco-hippies who only use it because they can’t ride to work on a dolphin? That’s the point: You won’t mistake it for anything else, and if you see one, you immediately think of what it stands for. Like it or not, it’s an icon. There’s a reason that when American Racing Headers wanted to commit the ultimate sacrilegious engine swap, they put a Hellcat in a Prius.

    On the other end of the extreme, the Dodge Viper also comes to mind. Take the biggest motor in Chrysler’s lineup, change it from iron to aluminum, and wrap it in the smallest package possible, with a menacing snake’s head shape to boot. It’s an exercise in how much crazy you can fit in a 3,400 lb package. If the Team America: World Police theme song had wheels, it would be a Dodge Viper. I can’t think of a better late model icon of pure, glorious automotive excess.

    1. Raul

      WTF is the big hard on for the Prius It has absolutely nothing to do high performance vehicles.

      Seriously, WTF?!?!

    1. MotoMichael

      I do have to agree with Jeepster and Jerry Z\’s nominations though. They are definitely the latest/ more current.

    2. MotoMichael

      I do have to agree with Jeepster and Jerry Z’s nominations though. They are definitely the latest/ more current.

  5. Piston Pete

    1978-1982 Chevrolet Malibu station wagon. But, the real, right answer is Fox Mustang.

  6. Mopar or No Car

    Note that nobody has nominated any passenger car less than 25 years old. There is a reason for that — by and large the body shape and contours are determined by aerodynamic design.

    I nominate as the modern icon the ubiquitous wind tunnel design passenger car hood/winshield/roof/trunk swoop. No need to identify an individual car, just look and you’ll see it everywhere.

  7. old man

    Fox mustang is to days 55 chevy when i was a.kid Low buck ride killer small block and started todays new muscle. Newer has to be challenger hellcat and redeye mopar got it right. Ford gt and the new shelby gt 500 lighting f150 in truck 67-69 nova and camaro all will be looked back on Best bang for the buck of all time 68-69 roadrunner.

  8. aussie351

    Here downunder, three shapes have hit iconic status.
    The HQ Holden Monaro coupe
    The XB Ford Falcon Hardtop
    The VH Chrysler Charger

    Instantly recognisable, forever legendary.

    But they’ll never top our XY GTHO as the true iconic Aussie muscle car

  9. BeaverMartin

    1977-78 Pontiac Firebird. Super Iconic. Square Body C10s are the quentisential truck to me, though I’ve owned more 67-72’s.

  10. headstrong

    Guess this will be biased toward your era of coming of age.
    What was new when you were counting down the days till your permit test.
    The 1979-81 turbo t/a in black with gold pinstripes and wheels and tan interior, is one. add the 77-78 bandit to that “group”. The monte SS, g body and even the Pontiac 2+2 because watching them wheeled on track, and they just looked different than the normal models. not fast, but looked it.
    The 86-88 t bird turbo coupe same reason, watched them on the track and that model looked like the street car could go 200+.

    but I’d say the latest biggest icon is the 77-81 t/a no matter what country your in, people know what it is. Smokey and the bandit put that car on as many boys bedroom walls as there was lambo’s and 308’s .

  11. AnOldsguy

    I think the late model Challenger has to be a contender. It’s been in production for a decade without any major changes and is widely recognized. Another contender would be the 80’s GM g-body platform. So many were made that they are still available and relatively affordable, plus they are cheap and easy to build.

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