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Hagerty Employee

Car Design Fundamentals: Wheelbase, overhangs, and the crucial side view

In the studio, designers rarely draw a straight side-view perspective for presentation (they look a bit static and boring) but they are nonetheless essential for sorting out proportions and overhangs. The side is the first view we practice when learning to sketch cars, and it is (relatively) the easiest to master.

Adrian, You have focused on body mass and proportion issues but one can influence the perception by changing the wheel and tire proportions. Yeah, there is the outrageous diameter thing but I have sought subtle influences with two projects. I have restyled an old Brooks Stevens Series I Excalibur Phaeton into a 1929 Mercedes SSK Roadster. The E-cal had 15 inch wheel/tire
at 27 inch OD. That results in 3.2 diameters between tires. With my 18 inch wheels and 30 inch tires, the spread is 2.6 diameters. The Merc SSK wass 2.4 diameters between. In comparison the Excalibur looks wrong.
I also have a replica of a Ferrari Dino.The Dino originally had 14 inch wheels and 24.9 inch diameter tires; 2.7 diameters between. My replica has exaggerated fender proportions and 17/18 inch diameter wheels.with 23/24 tire diameters. That results in 3.0 diameters between and a more contemporary aggressive look. The replica tires are quite wide, and they need it.
New Driver

Isn't the 1976 Lincoln Continental Coupe the perfect car to lead into an automotive article entitled, the "Crucial Side View"??

Pretty interesting study. Proportions are important. The '59 Cadillac is just a boat but a good looking boat for sure.
Intermediate Driver

Great series of articles. Thanks for writing them.