Wow, was just watching this video and couldn’t help but notice how much the rear of the car (e.g. rear window and trunk-top area) looked like that same area of the XJ-S, five years ahead of its time. Have to wonder if the designer(s) of the XJ-S were maybe influenced by it …
Interesting: never put that together before, if only because I despised the Cougar.
Several cars had similar looks in the early/mid 70s…it was the fastback era, and the XJS by no means invented the look, Jaguar was just conforming. Look up 68 Oldsmobile Toronado, that’s the earliest fastback I can think of, and remember what happened to the Ford Mustang in 69/70?. By mid-70’s, it evolved a bit into the flying buttresses on some cars. 1975 Ferrari 308 and 1975 Corvette are two more I can think of off the top of my head, besides the Cougar.
It was a fad that quickly went out of style as fast as it came in. I think they look very cool on the XJS, especially today, and I think it’s so Jaguar that they continued to make their mid-70’s flying buttresses well into the mid-90s.
Another that comes to mind–and the only “flying buttress” car I sorta liked-- was the Maserati Merak.
You lost me on the Toronado and Mustang on that, Greg. I have looked up several specimens of both online and all I see on either one is a sloping-backwards rear window – nothing like the look of the XJ-S. Agreed though on the Corvette & Ferrari. Since they were '75s, too, as was the XJ-S, I’d say it is a tight question as to “which came first” in the mid-70s with that style, although the Merak (as noted) did have a similar style in the early '70s. IMHO, the Merak buttress though appears to be more of a vertical rear window (similar to the Porsche 914) but with supporting “beams” for same on either side. The Cougar predates same by a single year, and its buttress, by contrast, is “fully-encased”, similar to the XJ-S backside. Again, this brings back the original conjecture (IMHO) that possibly it was the Cougar - as much as it may have been hated in its day - that set such a design trend.
I mentioned the fastbacks like the Mustang and Toronado because I think they were the precursor, and evolved the look into the flying buttresses, to look even MORE aerodynamic.
I always presumed that the buttresses were a design trick to make a car look like a fastback without actually being a fastback, because real fastbacks build up too much heat inside in a sunny parking lot.
Sure, the 68-75 Corvettes had “buttresses”, so wouldn’t you say the Cougar came after?
Pretty sure the buttresses were an aerodynamic feature. That’s why they were mainly on high speed cars.
What’s aerodynamic about a buttress? If the designer gave a $$%^ about aerodynamics, the car would be a fastback.
The buttresses do provide structural rigidity over the rear axle in a stressed-body car.
like having two rudders keeping things straight?!
Yeah, they probably provide some rudder action. Not much. And since the Cabriolet gets by without them, clearly not necessary.
Funny you mention that … I was driving home a few days ago - around 40 mph - and happened to have a small, plastic, empty grocery bag in my left hand, with the window down. I had meant to transfer it over to my right hand to toss onto my floor board, but it got away from me (I swear I was NOT littering ) … The vacuum created at the open window sucked it right out, and I was amazed to see in my driver’s side view mirror that it traveled down the left side of the car TIGHTLY and zoomed around to exit at about the mid-line of the backside of the vehicle. So yes, I can believe the XJS is quite aerodynamic (at least along the sides) …
Remember, Malcolm Sayer had a big part in the XJS’s design. He used to be an aerodynamics engineer working on planes. So he didn’t add them just for looks. His aerodynamic design for the E-type allowed it to be one of the few cars back in the early 60s to have a top speed of 150mph!
And then there was the Mercury Capri.
Had a 1973…kinda glad the wife killed it while I was in Korea.