Know what the car biz needs a whole lot more of? Rad graphics. Big, bold factory sticker packages were huge in the 70s and 80s, and the era produced such all-time greats as the screaming-chicken Pontiac Trans-Am, Ford Cruising Wagon and Cruising Van, and soooo many pickup trucks with absolutely killer door-to-tailgate stripes and graphics. Even humble vehicles like the Toyota Tercel SR5 wagon could be had with dynamite decals that totally went for it.
From the grille to the tailgate, yesssss. Jeep Honcho, crushing it. Image: Stellantis
Come on Ford, give us a Cruising Explorer with wrap-over stripes and a bubble window. We promise, it’ll sell. Image: Ford
Spotted this SR-5 wagon on Cars and Bids. What an absolute beast! Image: seller.
We can’t talk over-the-top graphics without including this guy. May the chicken forever scream. Image: GM
Rad graphics are mostly a truck thing these days. Ford gets it! Images: Ford
So tell us, what are your favorite sticker-slathered looks from the go-hard era? Or any era, right up to now–there are still some bangers out there in 2023. Let’s talk about them. To the comments!
Brat sticks out in my mind.
It sure would be nice to be able to post pictures on a discussion like this…
Screaming chicken is my favorite and most iconic
Everyone I knew called it the flaming chicken. It’s a FIREbird.
Anyone remember the Bacon Wrap Ford Fiesta in 2013? https://www.usatoday.com/story/driveon/2013/08/28/ford-fiesta-bacon/2711885/
How about the El Camino Black/Royal Knight graphics?
When I had my white, basically invisible, Nissan Frontier I was serious at one point of adding the ubiquitous in the 1990s Jazz design graphics to it.
I loved the honcho as a kid. They were not common, but present in Colorado when I was growing up.
Somebody did that with a late ’90s Dakota and brought it to RADwood Charlotte last month.
Rangers had some great graphics in the late ’80s/early ’90s.
Can’t forget the 80’s VW Rabbit pickup “SPORTRUCK” full-body-length, reflective decals!
I would have to go with Dodge’s line of “adult toys” from the 70s.
I love me some graphics, so I have no real favorites, but I’ll highlight the consistent quality of 70s and 80s Toyota Pickup graphics. From the fading lines to the zigzags, they are all great. My favorite, though, were the optional graphics on the turbocharged models that had a hockey stripe with “TURBO” inlayed with it.
How about the Santana/Susuki Samuraï Perrier’s limited edition from 1989 :
I’ve been searching for a cheap used conversion van (usually 90s/early aughts are closest to my price range) and they tend to have subtle-to-tasteful decals. Better than plain, that’s for sure. Distinction without being gaudy.
No mention of the Little red express yet?
Small cars, specifically hot hatches. Otherwise, how are you going to see them from SUVs on high?
The 80’s/90’s Jeep Wrangler Islander.
If you want to tie in with the crap-car theme you’ve been on lately, check out the ’76 Plymouth Volare Roadrunner. Terrific stripe package.
79 Mustang Pace Car or Pinto Cruising Wagon.
Easy, Shelby Dakota.