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Attention-grabbing graphics are nothing new in the auto industry, sometimes borne out of marketing’s desire to celebrate an event and sometimes utilized to perform CPR on a model whose sales graph is flat lining. The following includes some schemes that are heavy on humor, some that are light on taste, and some that are tough on the eyes, but all are memorable.
- Datsun B210 Honey Bee: Datsun could claim the highest MPG rating in the USA in 1975 with its B210, and the Honey Bee was the optionless stripper model that had an unpretentious looking bee with a carefree expression buzzing along its flanks, typically over yellow paint.
- 1977-80 Chevrolet Monza Spyder: Originally designed for a Wankel-type rotary engine, the Monza was introduced in 1975 with a range of engines that included a 70hp four and a 5.7 V-8. In 1977 the Monza Spyder was introduced with graphics featuring a spider on the hood that appeared ready to pounce upon pedestrians that got too close to the cars’ front flank.
- 1976 Triumph TR7 Victory Edition: Introduced with truck-like “Spoker” wheels, vinyl roof and contrasting stripe package, the Victory Edition celebrated TR7 wins in SCCA competition. As successful as the car was on the track, those of us who lived with these cars on the road on a daily basis saw some irony in TR7 and victory being spoken in the same breath.
- Porsche 911 with Safety Paint: From 1973-1975, Porsche offered an option for the 911 called “safety paint,” consisting of three stripes running down the hood that terminated with 9-1-1 at the end by the front bumper. This tri-stripe design was loud enough to ensure rarity today; few cars were ordered with it new, and even fewer retain it after restoration.
- 1973 BMW 2002 Turbo: BMW added a KKK Turbocharger to the 2002 in 1973 to create the wonderful 2002 Turbo. This 170hp screamer displayed the now-famous M-type blue/blue/orange motorsport stripes and, in a mild display of Swabian arrogance, “2002 Turbo” spelled in reverse on the front spoiler making it legible in the rearview mirror of the motorist ahead. Upon gazing in his rearview and seeing it fill rapidly with the image of this speedy Bavarian, he could then accept the inevitability of being passed by this exotic BMW and just move over without protest. As presumptuous as this may have been, it was nonetheless often how an encounter with a 2002 Turbo would end.