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Sajeev
Community Manager

Community Question: what are the best tail light designs of all time?

For this week's community question, we want to know your choice for the best tail light design you've ever seen on a car. Maybe you have a personal connection to some light design, maybe you saw something in a magazine, or maybe you just saw a 1959 Cadillac at a car show and said, "oh man, that's stunning!"

 

Whatever it may be, we'd love to hear your thoughts on the best tail light designs of all time. 

HagertyHagerty

56 REPLIES 56
Hagerty Fan
Not applicable

These made quite the impression on me in my adolescence. Maybe someone did them earlier, and others have wonderful modern LED versions. But for innovative style and impact I haven’t seen them done better…

https://youtu.be/uAIq1U5Tb14

NITRO450EXP
Technician

Caddy Bullets are pretty hard to Beat.

That IS the STANDARD.

 

Nitro

DUB6
Specialist

No argument, even though not my personal fave - but if you did a blind poll of car show attendees, I'm pretty certain that the largest percentage would vote for (or at least recognize) them...

SJ
Technician

Cougar sequential taillights.

Cobraguy427
Pit Crew

1967/68 GT350 or 500 Taillights.

Mobey
New Driver

These are actually Cougar and T-Bird taillights

Billmuros
New Driver

Cougar had them first in 1967

Bartman1958
Pit Crew

No, Thunderbird had them first in 1965. 

Bartman1958
Pit Crew

2ndeagle
Pit Crew

T-Bird was 1st.

Ragtop69
Detailer

They were actually used on the Shelby Mustangs starting in '67.

greatscott73
Intermediate Driver

1959 Chevrolet. Especially at night.

Jarp
New Driver

1959 Impala & 1957-60 Corvette "teardrop" style are tops.

ecuriekansas
Pit Crew

I have to agree on the 57-60 Corvette ones, it was those that first hooked me on them to the point I bought one. . .

scubaron
Pit Crew

1957 Thunderbird - classic fins and tail lights along with the rest of the car!

Jpdelpozo
Intermediate Driver

Aside from the early 1939 Ford taillights, it has to be the 1958 Eldorado taillights!  The styling for the times is just awesome.  

chrisgall65
New Driver

For me it's the Triple Tower Tail lights on the fins of '57 - '58 DeSoto Adventurer and Fireflite.  I've had a tail light shot as my screen saver on my cellphone for over 6 years now....I'd call it an obsession.

DUB6
Specialist

@chrisgall65 - also my personal favorite.  But maybe as much because of the entire fin look as just the taillights themselves.  The entire package is what attracts me.  In my mind, these were the epitome of the fin/rocket-lights look.  Much more subdued than the '59 Caddy and others of the period, but still dramatic and impossible-not-to-notice.

57 Desoto 2.jpg

Dadzcad
New Driver

As a guy rooted in the 1950s and before, I vote for the 1955 and 1956 Packard tail lights.  Very stately.

dooscoop32
Detailer

The 1961-63 Thunderbird taillights look like a rocket engine ready for takeoff, especially at night.

dooscoop32_1-1636399013800.jpeg

 

 

 

In fact, Ford is still using that same basic theme on their current supercar, the Ford GT.

dooscoop32_0-1636398848908.jpeg

 

 

 

Bartman1958
Pit Crew

As a 1962 Thunderbird roadster owner, I agree. I also had a 1965 and 1966 Thunderbird with the sequential tail lights, they were pretty cool too. 

DonLafferty
Pit Crew

68 Dodge Charger.  Only year they had the iconic dual round lights if I recall.

LloydStolworthy
New Driver

Your correct every year had its own lighting. Either the marker light tail light and grill or louver on the door.  Mine were the 69 and 70 tail lights.

LloydStolworthy
New Driver

I currently own a 1973 Monte Carlo the tail lights are a one of a kind, and very little parts will fit it! That year was the first Body and it is 1.5 in longer than the rest of them. 73 thru 77 resemble each other in looks.

gyashko
Intermediate Driver

I like understated, so my favorites are the '67 Pontiac Gran Prix and the similar style on the GTO. I always thought they had a nice frenched custom look. Speaking of the '67 GP, the etched logo on the front window glass was a pretty cool "custom" touch, too. Oh yeah, and the rounded door corners; all classic customizing tricks!

swilber69
New Driver

For me, it was the 1958 Eldorado Biarritz convertible and the 1959 Buick. I know everyone thinks of the 1959 Cadillac, but at the time (I'm 74) I thought they were excessive.

WESUDALE
Pit Crew

1956 Packard Clipper tail lights Used in more customs than Caddy bullets

Swamibob
Technician

It's difficult to beat the '59 Caddilac tail lights, but for Honorable mention; I'd say any Desoto tail light from the fins era.  They were all excellent.  Also the Dodge Coronet tail lights from '65-70.  Loved all of them.

 

Also the '66 Pontiac Lemans taillight.  Another classic!

LoudV8
Intermediate Driver

Maybe not the coolest of all time but I liked them.

LoudV8_0-1636402588728.png

 

Spookysgarage
Intermediate Driver

I have always been a fan of the 1959 Chevrolet cat's eye design.  So much so that I used these on my '59 Edsel I am building

Spookysgarage
Intermediate Driver

olive2.jpg

Roger1
New Driver

All great answers. Let’s face it 50/60 s taillights are all iconic and never will be duplicated. They were all an important part of styling for those years 

love those fin era tailighting 

 

59SilverHawk
Pit Crew

Although wildly popular, the '59 Caddy's bullets are a little too grandiose for my taste. I've always been partial to clean simple designs such as the '41 Studebaker

John
Intermediate Driver

I like simple.  My two favorites are the 1970- 73 Camaro and the 1967 - 69 Mustang.  Simple and understated, did not detract from the clean lines of either car.

John
Intermediate Driver

Probably should add the C3 corvette to that list.

Ragtop69
Detailer

I have a couple of '69 Mustangs.  A SportsRoof and a convertible.  I love the design evolution of the little, unimposing tail lights of the '65-'66 Mustangs.

 

robertschick
New Driver

2EA5FE9D-1C21-4C52-A03B-6FBE1199B821.jpeg

I cast my ballot for the 1960 Mercury. Best tail lights and bumper too!

Sachf563649
Pit Crew

B235FA98-AC4B-42F9-A23E-7CD1CBD6F517.jpeg‘60 Chrysler

oldscool
Pit Crew

Without question, and the 61 Chryslers too. When you see them up close and live, it's just WOW.

Ragtop69
Detailer

My mother-in-law had a white over red '61 Newport convertible that was a real head turner.  I could have killed her when she sold it to some guy who stopped her on the street.

RT
Pit Crew

The '62 Chrysler Imperial with its stand alone lights on top of the rear fins.

 

Andretti
Intermediate Driver

My favourites would be the ‘59 Bonneville and ‘67 Eldorado

5161FA47-81F0-4858-BA0E-27005CEAAF0E.jpeg

F180A454-D79A-45F7-8F87-F923F7604145.jpeg

TheB
New Driver

CAC1A4E8-16CE-457A-B2E2-9309EDE07FB8.jpeg

3D0FA4FC-57FB-4DC3-A3E8-614DCB465CB0.jpeg

 my favourite is the one year only 1961 Plymouth Fury.  So cool. 

SilentBoy741
Instructor

For me it's the 1991 Geo Storm.  My ex had that car, and the day those taillights disappeared over the horizon, I was struck with a blissful euphoria like I've never experienced before.

dooscoop32
Detailer

And let us not forget those unique boomerang taillights on the 1958 Edsel station wagon.   Enlarge for best effect.

dooscoop32_0-1636492693553.jpeg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BruceA
New Driver

1967/68 Mercury Park Lane/Monterey. 

82C1B3C7-1F6A-4A9F-B107-77E408B19D63.jpeg

Bruce Adkins
OregonMotorCo
Pit Crew

Nothing better than the 1961 Cadillac.

 

1961-cadillac-fin-frank-salle.jpg

cestor01
Intermediate Driver

Propeller design of the 1964-66 Imperial

cestor01
Intermediate Driver

Also the round lights of the 1971-72 Chevelles set right into the bumper.