Why cars went from boxy in the '80s to curvy in the '90s
It turns out it was largely due to three interrelated factors: European style trends, a government-mandated push for fuel economy, and new technologies that allowed manufacturers to more easily design and create curved shapes. By the 1980s, making curved cars wasn't an entirely novel idea — it had just largely gone out of fashion among US automakers. In Europe, though, fuel was always more expensive, and designers — especially in Germany — explored aerodynamic designs much earlier on, says Penny Sparke, author of A Century of Car Design.
By Joseph Stromberg