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Features Why (and when) Fender Skirts Work...

Discussion in 'Traditional Customs' started by Jive-Bomber, Mar 20, 2014.

  1. Jive-Bomber
    Joined: Aug 21, 2001
    Posts: 3,286

    Jive-Bomber
    MODERATOR

  2. syxxstring
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 37

    syxxstring
    Member

    I'm seriously debating skirts for the 61 falcon wagon. I love them on the sleds.
     
  3. hotrodderhaag
    Joined: Jan 22, 2007
    Posts: 2,109

    hotrodderhaag
    Member

    skirts give a car that early custom look that is unexplainable. . i think they are great!. from the chopped mercs to the zyphers, the late 30's fords, they all look great!...
     
  4. KK Hickey Designs
    Joined: Sep 10, 2008
    Posts: 277

    KK Hickey Designs
    Member

    I have a pair that came with my 62 when I bought it. I'm kinda up in the air on if I like them or not. I need to throw them on and photoshop them into the correct color to see what I think. Stance is a big factor when considering them too.
     
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  5. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,363

    flynbrian48
    Member

    My '48 Pontiac convert and '51 Pontiac wagon both have fenders made for flush fitting skirts, and happily, I have them for both cars. The wagon, used mainly to tow our Spartan trailer, looks a little better without them, if only because I think it's more "purposeful" looking with them off (and, they don't clear the hubcaps with the slightly wider Buick wagon limited slip rear).

    I made skirts for my '59 T'Bird (build thread called '59 T'bird radical custom"), that complete the body lines that Ford left dangling in the air. The idea with that is I'll be able to go from aggressive, race-y look, to smooth custom with a wheel/tire change, and adding or taking away the skirts.

    Two cars in one.

    Not all cars look good them, agreed, and not all skirts look right on every car. Too many guys choose skirts for build styles that don't mesh, or use skirts from a different era, that look tacked on and un-integrated with the style of the car.

    Not that I haven't been guilty of all the above...
     
  6. FlatheadFanFromMI
    Joined: Oct 26, 2010
    Posts: 65

    FlatheadFanFromMI
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  7. BootleggerMatt
    Joined: Aug 17, 2011
    Posts: 258

    BootleggerMatt
    Member

    They look good on mid 60's cars if you're going for the custom/lowrider style... but those cars also look good without them if you're going for more of a hotrod street strip car, like me. Everyone keeps telling me I need skirts and wide whites on my 64 Galaxie and I just shake my head... they don't get it.
     
  8. RainierHooker
    Joined: Dec 20, 2011
    Posts: 1,996

    RainierHooker
    Member
    from Tacoma, WA

    I think my litmus test is the wheelwells they are meant to cover up.

    If the fender just has a simple cut-out to clear the wheel, like the Zephyr pictured in the article, skirts all day long. If the wheelwell defines part of the fender, think early Dodge Dart, no fenders, what so ever.

    Skirts should 'complete' the designer's vision of the fender, not add additional dimensions to it.

    PS, all bets are off with the right cruiser skirt on the right car...
     
  9. Roger O'Dell
    Joined: Jan 21, 2008
    Posts: 1,089

    Roger O'Dell
    Member

    If two is good four is better
     
  10. the Collins 34 is one of my all-time favorites!

    To me, it quietly SCREAMS "smooth".
     

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  11. syxxstring
    Joined: Dec 30, 2010
    Posts: 37

    syxxstring
    Member

    KK, if you decide against them let me know. Im kinda tempted to photoshop some on an OT car like a Flex or Scion XB. But that would only lead to wanting to do it in real life.
     
  12. Brad54
    Joined: Apr 15, 2004
    Posts: 6,008

    Brad54
    Member
    from Atl Ga

    Some cars need them because it makes the car look longer, lower, and keeps the lines all flowing.
    When the lines are incorporated into a factory wheel opening, like the teardrop opening on '50s Chevys, Oldsmobiles, etc., I think skirts aren't needed.
    BUT, on a '55 Chevy, or '54-'56 Buick, I think they clean up the lines because those wheel openings just don't "flow."

    For me, skirts are all about uninterrupted body lines and fixing the flow of a car.

    -Brad
     
    CHUCK50DODGE likes this.
  13. the-rodster
    Joined: Jul 2, 2003
    Posts: 6,602

    the-rodster
    Member


    Some people might argue with you. :)

    Rich
     
  14. 49ratfink
    Joined: Feb 8, 2004
    Posts: 17,656

    49ratfink
    Member
    from California

    if you want to see a car that looks worse with skirts find a picture of a 61 Dodge Dart with skirts. they have swoopy wheelwells and the skirts just look odd, I bought a set for mine, put them on, took a picture and took them back off.
     
  15. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
    Member
    from Chino, Ca

    Chevys always look good with skirts but you'd be surprised about some of the skirts that were made for certain cars. Example: Skirts were available for the 64-66 Mustangs. Foxcraft was the most popular manufacturer (they were to skirts what Appleton was to spotlights).
     
  16. Special Ed
    Joined: Nov 1, 2007
    Posts: 5,840

    Special Ed
    Member

    My car actually came factory-equipped with 'em. I believe they visually lengthen the car, and that's the look they were attempting to achieve. Here's a comparison.


    [​IMG]


    [​IMG]
     
  17. I think my car would look cool dropped in the rear a bit with skirts.. thoughts?
    [​IMG]
     
  18. motleycrue
    Joined: May 13, 2013
    Posts: 194

    motleycrue
    BANNED

    gonna drop my rear 3inch
     

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  19. texasred
    Joined: Dec 3, 2008
    Posts: 1,060

    texasred
    ALLIANCE MEMBER
    from Houston

    I have never seen a 54/56 Buick that looked better with skirts and I like skirts..
     
  20. belair
    Joined: Jul 10, 2006
    Posts: 8,365

    belair
    Member

    I like the 55-57 Buicks without them-the trim helps define and makes up for uninspired shape of the wheelwell. The skirt makes the quarter panel look too big and blank to my eye.
     
  21. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,537

    50Fraud
    Member

    Aaaarrrrgggghhhh. You have awakened my schizophrenia. When i first became aware of custom cars in the early '50s, skirts were in fashion. I accepted and loved them. By the time I was driving, I considered myself a hot rodder, skirts were out of fashion, and I couldn't imagine how I had once admired them.

    In the nostalgia of middle age, I tried them out on one of my own cars. After a little fiddling and tuning, I thought they looked great:

    [​IMG]
    DRD57 photo

    ...but I felt like an imposter driving my own car with skirts on it, because I had scorned them for fifty years. What's more, the car expressed its displeasure by throwing off one of the skirts and running over it, so I took them off and returned the car to its hot rod stance.
     
  22. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
    Member
    from Chino, Ca

    Heck yeah! Drop that tail and throw on some skirts
     
  23. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,537

    50Fraud
    Member

    But wait, there's more. In those early-'50s years, I thought that this looked terrific:

    [​IMG]

    ...and, among boxier later-model cars, I thought these were great too:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    I still think those are all good-looking cars, but the skirts now seem kind of affected to me. They make the cars look more like they are permanently parked, rather than speeding down the road.

    I've tried to think about design history a bit, and I suspect that skirts may have first been used on European fastback coupes, things of this sort:

    [​IMG]

    As Jay wrote, the skirt completes the line of the rocker, and together with the roof line, the result is kind of an aerodynamic egg, a whole teardroppy shape that is approximately symmetrical top-to-bottom. Once this thought occurred to me, skirts on the early coupes and convertibles didn't look quite as appropriate as they did on fastbacks:

    [​IMG]

    Anyway, my conclusion is that I admire them when they are used correctly on certain of other people's cars, but I guess I outgrew them around 1955. No, that's not fair; I changed my style around then.
     
  24. jcmarz
    Joined: Jan 10, 2010
    Posts: 4,636

    jcmarz
    Member
    from Chino, Ca

    ok,ok, I get it, you don't like skirts. Hey, whatever floats your boat.
     
  25. Ulu
    Joined: Feb 26, 2014
    Posts: 1,750

    Ulu
    Member
    from CenCal

    Subscribed...
     
  26. the-rodster
    Joined: Jul 2, 2003
    Posts: 6,602

    the-rodster
    Member


    Just because you can, don't mean you should...



    [​IMG]
     
  27. 50Fraud
    Joined: May 6, 2001
    Posts: 9,537

    50Fraud
    Member

    That wasn't my point. I was talking to Jay's original "why and when skirts work" title.
     
  28. flynbrian48
    Joined: Mar 10, 2008
    Posts: 6,363

    flynbrian48
    Member

    I'll get hammered for this, but while your car (and other early cars) look good with that bubble skirt, they'd look MUCH better if the skirt were flush. I know, I know, that means modifying the fenders and custom made skirts, but, they're supposed to be customs, not a platform for aftermaket stuff that "fits all". Flush skirts always look better, added on skirts look, well, they look added on. Since you've ditched the skirts anyway, I'm not worried about hurting your feelings! ;)

    Brian

     
  29. von Dyck
    Joined: Apr 12, 2007
    Posts: 678

    von Dyck
    Member

    But never on any year pickup truck. Never.
     
  30. chriseakin
    Joined: Jan 21, 2009
    Posts: 333

    chriseakin
    Member

    I have seen a few trucks that looked good with skirts but they were late forties-early fifites models and lowered right down to the ground. So they can look good on a truck, I'd have to go back in time in look at them again to see if they would look better without.
     

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