Home » My Car Prejudices: I Hate Chrome Door Edge Trim

My Car Prejudices: I Hate Chrome Door Edge Trim

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Like any human being, or at least near-human primate, I am replete with flaws and preconceptions and assumptions and unfair biases. I’m full of half-baked ideas and opinions, especially about cars and car-adjacent things. One opinion or bias or prejudice or whatever that I’ve realized I hold is something that, in hindsight, I’ve had for decades, ever since I was a kid.

It’s this: you know how some people put strips of chrome trim on the edges of their car doors? Well, those never look good. They look awful.

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I know there may be some readers who have cars with such chrome trim, and I don’t mean to offend, but I can’t stay silent on this any longer. When I was a kid, my family had a 1980 Honda Accord sedan, and my mom, my very own mother, had the dealer install chrome trim on the door edges, and even as a child I knew something was wrong, something had been debased. Of course, back then, as a child, I didn’t have the words to express what I felt. But now, as a vastly older child, I do.

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This sort of trim isn’t something that’s some relic of the past, it’s still very much alive today, and as you can see above, people are spending hundreds of dollars to make their cars look vastly worse.

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So, why do I harbor such animosity for chrome door trim? Because it looks good on precisely zero cars, give or take no cars. It breaks up the overall form of the car, and no car seems to work better when the door shut lines are emphasized and delineated with shiny trim. Sure, there are some cars that pay special attention to the shape of the door shutlines, and I certainly respect it when designers pay attention to such details, but this crap simply does not work:

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Car design since the 1930s has been about overall form; the era of cars being made of discrete, independent visual elements ended in the ’20s, and the only reason it ever was A Thing was because manufacturing ability needed to catch up. The bright piping on the door edges reminds me of one thing, and I don’t think it’s particularly flattering:

Captainkangaroo

Yes, Captain Kangaroo‘s coat. The white piping, outlining the lapels and pockets. That’s what it looks like. And if you’re not a decrepit, old bastard like myself you may not be familiar with Captain Kangaroo, but that doesn’t really matter. Look at that dude. Is that the look you want for your car? Really?

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I am, as always, interested in your opinion, since this is the world’s most influential automotive community. So, let’s do a poll about this, to see how The People really feel about terrible car door trim that manages to ruin the look of pretty much any car, ever:

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Bob Boxbody
Bob Boxbody
2 months ago

I never knew these were add-ons that people used deliberately. When I think “chrome door trim” I picture old 70s battleships that tried to hard to look premium. I have a feeling that now that I’ve read this article, I’m going to be seeing this stuff all over the place.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
2 months ago

You are not alone. I think it’s one of the most subtly trashy car accessories.

The ultimate barf combo:
Chrome door edges
Vinyl top
Chrome wheels

Extra credit for gold-ified (?) emblems like they used to do on cars in the 90s.

Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago

the tacky gold emblems were a mandatory dealer applied accessory at a lot of Toyota dealers around me in the 90’s. Nothing says high class and big monied like driving a Tercel with gold badging on it!

David Escargot
David Escargot
2 months ago
Reply to  Greensoul

All that being said… some of the Honda’s that came with gold badging looked ok in royal blue… might’ve worked on black as well… but on any other colour it’s worth spewing over

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
2 months ago
Reply to  David Escargot

It could also be because all 1990s Hondas were good, so we can look past it haha.

Bizness Comma Nunya
Bizness Comma Nunya
2 months ago
Reply to  Greensoul

YES you’re right! I remember it being on 4runners and Land Cruisers back then.

Jakob K's Garage
Jakob K's Garage
2 months ago

I actually have China chrome ones on the Figgy… I think it fits that silly overdone car.

But I would never dream of having it on the Porsche. Or VW. Or CItroën.

Mr. Frick
Mr. Frick
2 months ago

I agree, the door trim is awful. However, do not be throwing shade on my man, Capt. Kangaroo. I never missed a show. Keep it up and I will say harsher words. Also, shout out to Bunny Rabbit.

Urban Runabout
Urban Runabout
2 months ago
Reply to  Mr. Frick

Mister Moose and Mr Green Jeans have thoughts about this.
Beware the Ping Pong Balls

Turn the Page
Turn the Page
2 months ago
Reply to  Urban Runabout

Fully agree! Dissin’ The Captain, Mr. Green Jeans, Bunny Rabbit, Mister Moose, and Grandfather Clock is unnecessary. In the immortal words of JD, “Is this where you wanna be when Jesus comes back?”

Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago

here’s some proof, it takes a lot of money to look that cheap

Mechjaz
Mechjaz
2 months ago

This is the correct take. It looks gross, tacky, draws your eyes to all of the wrong places.

Assuming you can see after 40,000 lumen light bar blocking the bottom of the radiator has left you with an afterimage of every single LEDs.

On the Civic/Accord or Sentra/Altima on which it’s all installed.

MrLM002
MrLM002
2 months ago

I hate all fake chrome on new cars, it gets wrinkly fairly quickly and starts to resemble a chrome version of a biological “beanbag”

Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

The shiny parts on my Ram’s grill started doing that the 3rd year after getting it. Ram actually replaced it for me under warranty.

MrLM002
MrLM002
2 months ago
Reply to  Greensoul

In your shoes I would have asked them to replace it with the non “chrome” variant.

Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

They said no. I tried. All of the plastic body parts on that ruck were total rotted out crap after 3 years. UV protectant and avoiding leaving it out of the sunlight were to no avail. First and last RAM I’ll ever own. Interior looked like it had 200k worth of wear by 45k.

MrLM002
MrLM002
2 months ago
Reply to  Greensoul

Oof. Thank you for sharing. One more reason why to go with a base model over the “luxury” trims

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago
Reply to  MrLM002

That depends on the quality. My 1995 f150 has a plastic chrome grille and is just thinking about getting delaminated and wrinkly 29 years later. But some cars get wrinkly and gross after like 8 years.

MrLM002
MrLM002
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

I’ve never seen real chrome do that ever, so to me it has the advantage if you want a chrome look.

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
2 months ago

Maaannn, you just don’t get it! Dig! It’s got to be gold to match the wire wheel hubcaps on a saweet 76 Eldorado with giant headlights. Goldfish platform shoes, leopard skin coat, and fedora complete the ensemble.

Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago
Reply to  Hoonicus

Those shoes were the highlight of the whole show

Hoonicus
Hoonicus
2 months ago
Reply to  Greensoul

Yeah, I’m not sure if channeling Starsky&Hutch, or I’m gonna get you sucker.

Chronometric
Chronometric
2 months ago

So how do you feel about wheel opening chrome edging? I think the BMW 3.0 CSL, a car with sporting pretensions, looks tacky with its flashy wheel edging but the 1964 Corvair Coupe looks good, especially in dark colors.

photo credit WikiPedia
https://photos.app.goo.gl/d8F64iTMtvJhj8796
https://photos.app.goo.gl/3MsVj8gsr1AF5ppt9

Last edited 2 months ago by Chronometric
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  Chronometric

To my eyes, the only real problem with the BMW’s is that it’s the whole thing, so it stands out too much. The Corvair’s on the other hand is just the very edge of another design element, so looks less tacked-on, more subtle.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jack Trade
Col Lingus
Col Lingus
2 months ago

Holy crap. Thanks for the early childhood flash back. Even at age 3 that show sucked the big one. I always though the Capt. and Mr. Green jeans were just a little too weird. The photo also suggests that at least one of them is pretty stoned.
But the Dancing Bear was cool. /s

Paul B
Paul B
2 months ago

They’re hard to find, but colour match ones blend in quite well.

Very handy when you have younglings who swing open doors in parking lots.

Memphomike
Memphomike
2 months ago
Reply to  Paul B

This is the original purpose.

Andrea Petersen
Andrea Petersen
2 months ago

Hey now, let’s leave jackets with piping out of it, a bit of contrasting trim never hurt anyone in fashion! But yes, chrome trim on door edges always looks awful for precisely the reason you said. It ruins the generally horizontal flow of the car with big, bright, cheap af vertical lines.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

That’s what I find intriguing about it – it seems a reaction to the amorphous monochrome blob thing we’ve had to deal with once car design went aero in the late 80s.

But producing long, horizontal trim to mimic the pleasingly break up effect on older cars is prohibitive (not to mention probably near impossible for the average person to install straight), so they produce the only other option, and I’m sure they eventually talked themselves into “this is totally classy, right??” but yeah…

Crank Shaft
Crank Shaft
2 months ago

You don’t like the Pep Boys Look? 😀

Last edited 2 months ago by Crank Shaft
Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago
Reply to  Crank Shaft

The look is not complete without the misaligned chrome stick on fender and hood vents!

Dennis Birtcher
Dennis Birtcher
2 months ago

It doesn’t look completely out of place on that… first gen Camaro?… about halfway down the article. But anything outside the age where chrome was applied by the pound, absolutely agree.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

Except a first gen Camaro is already out of the age when chrome was applied by the pound.

Dennis Birtcher
Dennis Birtcher
2 months ago
Reply to  Rust Buckets

To me, the Chrome Age ends when the 5 MPH bumper gives way to body color bumper covers. Mid to late 70s if I have to put a year on it. Anything after that, chrome door edges, absolutely not. Before that… maybe.

Rust Buckets
Rust Buckets
2 months ago

Yeah I can see that. I was thinking about how 1960 had a massive reduction in chromage compared to 58-59, and how Pontiac and John Deloreans were already getting rid of chrome front bumpers in 1963(?)

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago

Costa Rican Series Land Rovers must be your automotive hell. The ones I’ve seen have add on chrome trim on every accessible edge, doors , wheel wells and even the hardtop panels

Mark Tucker
Mark Tucker
2 months ago

Even worse is when you buy a used car with this crap on it, peel it off, and then have to deal with the adhesive left behind.

Chronometric
Chronometric
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

But no door edge chips! A little goo-gone and some wax and Bob’s yer uncle.

Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
2 months ago
Reply to  Mark Tucker

Used kia soul I got for my son, had the hood and window deflectors. Dang it took so much time to get that adhesive off.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

Captain Kangaroo is perhaps the outlier on the bad end of this look; the outlier on the good end is of course Number 6 once he’s in The Village.

Be seeing you.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jack Trade
Icouldntfindaclevername
Icouldntfindaclevername
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

Wallace & Ladmo with Gerald entered the chat

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago

Hey, I wore a jacket with piping like that almost every day in high school, it was green with yellow trim, looked fine in context

But it doesn’t belong on car doors

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

You just keep on telling yourself that.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

So your family couldn’t afford mirrors when you were in HS?

Peter Andruskiewicz
Peter Andruskiewicz
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

Green with yellow trim… I’m picturing a tennis ball

Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago

Green jackets with yellow piping pair up nicely with bellbottoms jeans. Don’t ask me how I know….

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  Greensoul

We weren’t allowed to wear jeans, so never clashed that badly.

James Davidson
James Davidson
2 months ago
Reply to  Ranwhenparked

John Deere rep somehere in the family?

JumboG
JumboG
2 months ago

See the problem is you don’t have the rest of the chrome accessories that make it look good. You know, the fake portholes and words plastered on the back that have nothing to do with the car, both of of above misaligned with anything on the car.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
2 months ago
Reply to  JumboG

My favorite portholes are the ones that are A) the wrong number of cylinders and B) mounted on the door.

Ranwhenparked
Ranwhenparked
2 months ago
Reply to  JumboG

And an airbrushed cursive “Blessed” license plate on the front with a rhinestone frame. And a fluffy pink steering wheel cover

Slow Joe Crow
Slow Joe Crow
2 months ago
Reply to  JumboG

That reminds me, I need to track down some three hole Venti-Ports for my old LeSabre (V6 with Custom trim so three is the number you shall count)

JumboG
JumboG
2 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

Four shalt that not count, neither shalt thou count two, excepting that thou then proceedeth to three.

Chris Stevenson
Chris Stevenson
2 months ago
Reply to  Slow Joe Crow

The one acceptable use of stick on portholes: Buicks.

Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago

Related, it’s funny watching Ford go back and forth on stick on chrome vents.

And it’s been at it for decades at this point (e.g. the original Mustang’s vestigial side radiator vents).

Last edited 2 months ago by Jack Trade
Jack Trade
Jack Trade
2 months ago
Reply to  JumboG

There’s an SN95 Mustang in my neighborhood on which its owner has used these chrome trim pieces to spell out his name across its doors. All at right angles.

Last edited 2 months ago by Jack Trade
JumboG
JumboG
2 months ago
Reply to  Jack Trade

See, see, he gets it.

CTSVmkeLS6
CTSVmkeLS6
2 months ago
Reply to  JumboG

^^correct. Pickups seem to take it next level with the stick on chrome door handles, chrome gas door, chrome mirror plates above the rockers all they way down, and redundant back window sticker repeating the trucks brand. Bonus for the extra led blinker/ brake below the tailgate

Last edited 2 months ago by CTSVmkeLS6
Greensoul
Greensoul
2 months ago
Reply to  CTSVmkeLS6

Don’t forget to leave out the big back window mural with a dead loved ones name/memorial

Soso Tsundere
Soso Tsundere
2 months ago

This is one of those things that I never knew existed, but now that I do will likely see it everywhere…

A. Barth
A. Barth
2 months ago

I think the people who install this stuff (chrome or otherwise) want to be able to ding other peoples’ doors with impunity while protecting their own.

The people who like the chrome version probably installed one of those chrome fuel filler flap covers, too, for that added touch of dumbassery.

Canopysaurus
Canopysaurus
2 months ago

It does make finding doors easier when you’re drunk. Oh, would you look at that, the old Grandfather Clock in the corner is saying it’s time to go …

Data
Data
2 months ago

The door trim is terrible, but Captain Kangaroo was awesome. Disagree with me and I’ll drop ping pong balls on you. 😀

Steve Schriefer
Steve Schriefer
2 months ago
Reply to  Data

Totally agree. Trim is bad, but the Captain was the man. Moose and rabbit also agree.

MaximillianMeen
MaximillianMeen
2 months ago
Reply to  Data

Pshaw! Mr. Green-Jeans totally carried the Captain! (looking at the ceiling now)

Rad Barchetta
Rad Barchetta
2 months ago
Reply to  Data

Growing up in Cincinnati, I was more of an Uncle Al kind of guy.
(Fun fact: The Uncle Al show was going to be what Captain Kangaroo was, but ABC wouldn’t let Al out of his contract to go to CBS, and the rest is history.)

TheNewt
TheNewt
2 months ago

Whoa. Throw-back photo with Mr. Green Jeans. Wow.

Dan Parker
Dan Parker
2 months ago

It appears that at least some folks are willing to pay an awful lot to look *that* awesome.

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