One thing is certain, the vast majority of the designs on this list of cars with traffic stopping rear ends, more often than not are the product of a single mind. Design by committee seldom works.
However, a great deal also rides on the design of a car, so however the final design is arrived at, a lot of thought must go into designing a car. From the original sketches to the CAD renderings, to the clay sculptures—coming up with a workable design for a car is a painstaking process.
You have to consider the type of car, it’s place in the market, where it fits in the manufacturer’s lineup, the models it’s slated to compete against, contemporary fashion, popular culture, safety regulations…the list goes on and on and on.
While many people consider the front of a car to be the most important element of its design, we submit the rear end is important too. In many cases, the rear end is the last glimpse someone gets when they see the car on the street and are moved to buy it because of the way it looks.
Yes, the face of the car is important, but it has to have a traffic stopping rear end too.
Equally attractive coming and going, the Audi super sports car’s rear end is broad, subtly curvaceous, and nicely adorned with lights, exhaust outlets and air vents—all of which are entirely functional. The mid-engine design also affords the Audi the ability to showcase its engine underneath its rear window, so when that beautiful rump draws you close, yet another visual delight is waiting to be revealed.
Subtle and delicate, the visual weight of the BMW Z8’s rear end belies the actual heft of the rest of the car. The way it tapers, with those two thin slivers of taillights and the pair of exhaust outlets peeking out of the rear valance suggests both lightness and confidence all in the same instant. The varied surfacing adds additional visual interest to keep the eye glued as it absorbs all of the fine details.
Angularity combines with just the hint of an arc to make the Cadillac ELR’s rear end stand out as a beautiful example of Cadillac’s Art and Science design language. Flowing nicely into the sides of the car to present a particularly fetching rear ¾ view, the Cadillac ELR easily ranks on the best looking car rear end list. Too bad more people don’t buy the Cadillac; this is a view I’d love to see on the road every day.
Photo by Megan Green
Back in ’63, the split window rear styling of the Corvette Sting Ray was an instant sensation. And for good reason; it spoke volumes about the performance potential of the car, even while serving as a graceful trademark. Nothing else ever looked like it, neither before nor since. This is why the model has become one of the most collectible Corvettes ever. Show car styling for the street, this was one beautiful backside.
From the rear, the Chrysler Crossfire was one of the most dynamic-looking cars on the road when it was introduced in 2004. The way the car seemed to grow up from out of the ground and lithely stretch forward had muscularity to it no car had ever managed before. If the Chrysler’s design team had come up with an equally eye-arresting front end, the Crossfire might well have been considered one of the best looking cars of all time.
Evocative of the rear end styling of what is universally agreed upon as one of the most beautiful cars of all time—the Jaguar E-Type—the new Jaguar F-Type Coupe’s rear view has an air of genteel power to it. Given the sound of the car and its dynamic capabilities, this design choice reflects the philosophy a Jaguar should be as much about grace as it is about pace. In other words, all the F-Type has to do is be pretty. The way it goes will firmly seal the rest of its reputation.
The Murcielago is a pick because its rear view is a study in contrasts. The car is outrageously powerful, and yet its rear end is deceptively simple. In a time when most designers construe the number of exhaust outlets they can fit to the rear of a car a statement of its capabilities, the Murcielago confidently sports but one. Granted, it’s hella huge, but it’s all alone.
If you stand directly behind a Gullwing SL and look down at its rear end, the car looks like it is growing out of the ground. Wholly organic, as well as an exceptional powerful statement about the stability of the car at speed, the gracefully tapering rear end is also tantalizingly beautiful to see.
Roundly proclaimed as the single best view of the car, the rear ¾ view of any 911 is one of the most enticing lines ever seen on a motorcar. The fact its appearance is so light completely belies the reality the engine resides in the rear of the car. It is not until you open the cover you believe the design capable of housing an engine.
It is remarkable how many of the most powerful cars ever offered have such gracefully delicate looking rear ends. In the case of the Shelby Cobra, the shape is oh so very curvaceous in an oh so very feminine manner. Remarkably, that manner completely belies the ferocious performance of the car.