Thursday Trivia

Thirsday Trivia

Welcome to Thursday Trivia where we offer up a historical automotive trivia question and you try and solve it before seeing the answer after the jump. It’s like a history test, with cars! 

This Week’s question: What is the first mass-production car to have a curved windshield?

If you think you know the answer, make the jump and see if I’ve actually thrown you for a curve.

Windshields are a boon to automobiles, allowing drivers and passengers alike to ride in comfort and safe in the knowledge that they would’t get smacked in the face by an errant cicada or road apple, prevalent threats in the early auto age.

StudeomOf course those early automotive windscreens were little more than flat sheets of glass, and in an accident they presented a flip-side safety issue as shattering turned the sheet into shards. Major advancements were, first the use of first tempered glass, which was much stronger, and then laminated glass, which as its name implies is two pieces of glass with a clear layer – typically polyvinyl butyral – in-between. This prevents the glass from coming apart when broken, and is probably the greatest leap forward in auto glass safety in history.

It’s safe to say the greatest advancement in automotive windshield aesthetics is the development of curved glass. The ability to wrap a windscreen into the roof and A-pillars provided enormous opportunities for styling and aerodynamics, but what was the first car to offer such a feature in large quantities?

From Hemmings Daily:

The 1947 Studebaker Starlight Coupe was the first model to be produced in large quantities with a curved windshield (the 1934 Chrysler Airflow was the first car to feature a curved windshield), followed by the 1953 Cadillac Eldorado. By 1957, most production cars used a curved windshield as standard equipment.

So, props go to Chrysler for being the first to offer a curved windshield, and, more than a decade later, to Studebaker for putting them into large-scale use. That ’47 Starlight Coupe was also notable for its wrap-around rear windows. Comprised of four sections and narrow joints, they offered unimpeded views, but engendered complaints from critics that one couldn’t tell which direction the car was pointing.

Thanks to Longrooffan for this week’s question!

Image source: Motor Life Blog

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