TOP 10

Coolest Tail-lamps

Car India - - TRAILING END - Com­piled by: Chris Chilton

The last thing you want if try­ing to shake off the cops is dis­tinc­tive tail-lights. But we love ’em, es­pe­cially th­ese

1 BMW Z8

The look was bla­tantly pinched from BMW’s clas­sic 507; the cabin cre­ated in a par­al­lel uni­verse where it’s al­ways 1958, ex­cept with mi­crochips. Yet amid all this r etrore­hash­ing, BMW had the fore (or rear-) sight to graft on some of the slimmest , coolest tail-lights ever seen in the pr eMil­len­nium era.

2 Mer­cury Cougar

An up­mar­ket Mus­tang spin-off us­ing most of the same har dware, Mer­cury’s pony car got a stretched wheel­base and more posh, with hid­den front lights and some ver y cool se­quen­tial rears copied from the ear­lier Thun­der­bird, that pulsed in the di­rec­tion you were in­di­cat­ing. So cool, Carol Shelby nabbed them for his mod­ded 1967 Mus­tangs.

3 Maserati 3200GT

Though they looked iden­ti­cal, Maserati’s raw 3200GT was rad­i­cally re-en­gi­neered in 2002 to be­come the much bet­ter Coupé, swap­ping a twin-turbo V6 (and op­tional auto) for a nat­u­rally as­pi­rated V8 (and op­tional robo­tised man­ual). Sadly, the best fea­ture of the orig­i­nal didn’t make the tran­si­tion — the oh-so el­e­gant boomerang rear lights.

4 1959 Cadil­lac

Fifty-nine was the peak, quite lit­er­ally, of Detroit’s ob­ses­sion with fins, but the showy sheet-metal ap­pendages wouldn’t have looked half as loud with­out that year’s twin-rocket-flame­shaped lamps at each side. For 1960 the lights were neatly in­te­grated into a pair of dis­tinctly at­ro­phied fins.

5 Mazda Fu­rai

The strik­ing threads of il­lu­mi­na­tion on this 2007 con­cept car looked like a shower of sparks light­ing the mid­night black­ness of the L e Mans 24 Hour race that the con­cept longed to con­test. Sadly, there were more than sparks com­ing from the Fu­rai when ‘Top Gear’ bar­be­cued it dur­ing test­ing for the tele­vi­sion show in 2008.

6 Audi Swarm OLED

Back in 2013 Audi gave us the first taste of the OLED tech­nol­ogy it pro­duc­tionised in time for last month’s Frank­furt show. The bizarre Swarm lights look as if the y’d es­cape up the road if your lamp e ver got smashed in a fender ben­der. Worth Googling for a video if you missed them the first time round.

7 Mk1 Cortina

You want mash with that? Ford’s iconic pie lights, or Pye, if you re­mem­ber the pe­riod hi-fi brand, are as recog­nis­able as the Lo­tus version’s green stripes, and turned up on TVR’s Gran­tura in an early bit of kit-car scav­eng­ing. BMW’s 02 Se­ries riffed on the same theme.

8 Dodge Charger

Charg­ers al­most al­ways had cool lamps, but it’s not the four cir­cles of the much-ad­mired Bul­litt-era ’68 that the 200-mph mod­ern version ref­er­ences. In­stead it’s the full-width light bar of the very first, back in 1966, com­bined with a bit of Duk es’-spec ’69 for good mea­sure.

9 Lam­borgh­ini As­te­rion

Lambo lamps were lam­en­ta­ble un­til Sant’Agata turned the wick up on the Mur­cielago to cre­ate the trick Reven­ton. Now they’ve set­tled on an in­stantly recog­nis­able mo­tif, you’ll still be able t o tell a Lam­borgh­ini from lesser su­per­cars even when elec­tri­fi­ca­tion fi­nally si­lences the V12 — though that’s not hap­pen­ing just yet.

10 McLaren P1

You can’t truly ap­pre­ci­ate how sen­sa­tional the P1 looks un­til you’ve seen one at night , im­pos­si­bly slen­der tail-lamps wrap­ping around the rear fas­cia like a neon mo­tel sign on Route 66. But this is a McLaren, so there’s science in­volved too: con­ven­tional lights would have stopped the colos­sal amount of heat the V8 gen­er­ates es­cap­ing.

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