Design

Drink a Coke, drive a Coke

Today, Americans celebrate their national drink: "Coke", also known as Coca-Cola. And we celebrate the automotive design trend of the "Coke Bottle Shape" from the 1960s, which made the curved lines of the legendary lemonade bottles the design benchmark. Our top five vehicles in bottle shape.

  • Text
    Alfred Rzyski

If you had to sum up the 1960s in one design: It would probably be the "Coke Bottle Shape". Initially used in military aircraft for performance reasons, the shape is characterised by a narrow waist and an accentuated hip that forms a gentle curve between the front and rear parts of the design object. The resulting line is reminiscent - as the name implies - of the bulbous and perhaps best-known lemonade bottle in the world. In the air, with an aerodynamic advantage around the speed of sound, the "Coke Bottle Shape" quickly became the standard on the road, too. Tail fins now gave way to narrow waists and flared hips on the rear wheel arches. At 100 miles per hour, the aerodynamic advantages were not as great as in aircraft construction, but the visual presence was modern and superior - making the cars particularly attractive. Our top five.

With its unique contours, the Coca-Cola bottle designed in 1915 is a real design object with a permanent place in the New York Museum of Modern Art. It inspired not only artists like Warhol or Dalí, but also the car industry.

Studebaker Avanti (1962)

The pioneer of "coke-bottle" styling in automotive design. Designer Raymond Loewi drew the compact car for the now defunct US brand and used the lines as presumably the first car designer. The Avanti immediately stood for progress: a body made of glass-fibre reinforced plastic, avant-garde at the front, iconic lines at the rear.

Credit: Wikimedia/Mr.choppers (CC BY-SA 3.0)
Credit: Wikimedia/Mr.choppers (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Chevrolet Corvette Stingray (1963 / 1968)

One of the cars that made the styling legendary. The strong wheel arches at the rear pick up on the styling, but also the whole car with its long bonnet seems like a bottle of Coke on wheels. The successor Corvette C3 later took the concept to the extreme, some see the design concept overused here - we simply see a beautiful car. Which in turn became the model for the Opel GT in Germany.

Credit: Chevrolet
Credit: Chevrolet
The powerful wheel arches at the rear pick up on the styling, but the whole car with its long bonnet also seems like a bottle of cola on wheels. The successor Corvette C3 later took the concept to the extreme.

Ford Mustang & Chevrolet Camaro (1967)

It doesn't get much more American than this: a pop culture icon inspiring two other legends. Starting in the mid-1960s, the shared history of the two vehicles extends to the present day. And it is literally shaped by the "Coke Bottle Shape". In the case of the Mustang, the recipe was as simple as it was ingenious: European leanings with American spirit, and everything as sporty as possible. This was the reason for the dynamic lines towards the rear. Ford design chief Joe Oros recalls: "I told the team that I wanted the car to appeal to women, but I also wanted men to desire it." Goal achieved. And Chevrolet subsequently followed suit with the Camaro.

Lamborghini Miura (1966)

The V12 bull in the "bottle shape": The Lamborghini legend Miura also belongs in this list. Designed by the talented designer Marcello Gandini in Bertone's service, it redefined what a sports car must be capable of. The curved wheel arches and the nevertheless slim profile are still the perfect combination of elegance and brutal functionality today.

Toyota 2000 GT (1967)

To the untrained eye, the Toyota 2000 GT is simply a Japanese Jaguar E-Type. But what the eye actually sees is probably the most important, most beautiful, most influential sports car from Japan to this day. In 1967, it was the initial spark for the highly praised sports car culture of the country today. One of the factors here: the acclaimed and flowing design. Naturally characterised by the aesthetics of the "Coke Bottle Shape".

Credit: Toyota
Credit: Toyota

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