I believe any talented designer would have originally drawn up their designs with lower lids. Why? because they had talent and an eye for balance - that was their job. For coachbuilt cars, they mostly got away with it because they were commissioned by people who wanted something fantastic looking and were willing and able to pay for something unique, and lets face it, most of those coachbuilt cars were huge, so the smaller lid (in proportion to the rest of the car) still left plenty of head room. However, if you were a designer working for a major mass-manufacturer, that is when the boss came in and said 'needs more head room' and made you alter your design. The majority of people have no clue about beauty and balance, they just want function and don't want their hat knocked off when they enter the car, so they don't care about stuff like proportions. I have a hard time believing that the same designer that was talented enough to lay out the wonderful lines of a 36 Ford (for instance) would have then had the lack of vision to not see that it would look much better with a little bit lower roofline. I believe he originally designed it the way it looked best - with a lower lid, and was then FORCED to alter it into a bulbous roofline to please the masses (and his boss). But neither is an example of 'chop' - that has nothing to do with designing. That came later as -modifying- bodies to make yourself something unique, fast, beautiful from something previously bulbous and mundane began to surface. They saw and were influenced by the best designs of the era and most of those had a proportionately lower lid. They said to themselves, 'damn that looks good' and broke out the hacksaw. Who knows when or where was the earliest guy to realize he could make something great from dad's old junk.