Pillars are the vertical or near vertical supports of a car's window area or greenhouse—designated respectively as the A, B, C or (in larger cars) D-pillar, moving from front to rear, in profile view.
The consistent alphabetical designation of a car's pillars provides a common reference for design discussion and critical communication. As an example, rescue teams employ pillar nomenclature to facilitate communication when cutting wrecked vehicles, as when using the jaws of life.
The B pillars are sometimes referred to as "posts" (two-door or four-door post sedan).
In the case of the B (or center) pillar on four-door sedans, the pillar is typically a closed steel structure welded at the bottom to the car's rocker panel and floorpan, as well as on the top to the roof rail or panel.This pillar provides structural support for the vehicle's roof panel and is designed for latching the front door and mounting the hinges for the rear doors.
As the most costly body components to develop or re-tool, a vehicle's roof and door design are a major factor in meeting safety and crash standards.Some designs employ slimmer, chamfered windscreen pillars, A pillars, to help improve driver vision (thus reducing blind spots) through the use of stronger alloy steel in these components. As "perhaps the most complex of all the structures on the vehicle", the center or B-pillar may be a multi-layered assembly of various lengths and strengths.
Closed vehicles without a B-pillar are widely called hardtops and have been available in two or four-door body styles, in sedans, coupes and wagons.Designs without a center or "B" pillar for roof support behind the front doors offer increased occupant visibility, while in turn requiring underbody strengthening to maintain structural rigidity. In the early 1970s, General Motors broadened their definition of "hardtop" to include models with a B-pillar although: "up to then, everybody thought a hardtop was a car without a center pillar."
Pillars are implied, whether they exist or not; where a design's greenhouse features a break between windows or doors without vertical support at that position, the non-existent pillar is "skipped" when naming the other pillars. Thus a two-door hardtop or a three box designed coupé could have its rearmost pillar called the C-pillar even in the absence of a B-pillar. Conversely additional doors, such as on limousines, will create additional B-pillars; the B-pillars are then numbered, B1, B2, and so forth.
In addition to the pillar nomenclature derived from viewing an automobile in profile, some older cars have a two-part windshield or a split rear window, with the two halves separated by a pillar. Posts for quarter windows (a smaller window typically between the front window and the windshield) are not considered a named pillar.
A station wagon, also called an estate car, estate wagon, or simply wagon or estate, is an automotive body-style variant of a sedan/saloon with its roof extended rearward over a shared passenger/cargo volume with access at the back via a third or fifth door, instead of a trunk/boot lid. The body style transforms a standard three-box design into a two-box design — to include an A, B, and C-pillar, as well as a D-pillar. Station wagons can flexibly reconfigure their interior volume via fold-down rear seats to prioritize either passenger or cargo volume.
A convertible, cabriolet or spyder/spider is a passenger car that can be driven with or without a roof in place. The methods of retracting and storing the roof vary between models. A convertible allows an open-air driving experience, with the ability to provide a roof when required. Potential drawbacks of convertibles are reduced structural rigidity and cargo space.
A coupé or coupe is a passenger car with a sloping or truncated rear roofline and two or three doors.
The Ford Galaxie is a full-sized car that was built in the United States by Ford for model years 1959 through to 1974. The name was used for the top models in Ford's full-size range from 1958 until 1961, in a marketing attempt to appeal to the excitement surrounding the Space Race. For 1962, all full-size Fords wore the Galaxie badge, with "500" and "500/XL" denoting the higher series. The Galaxie 500/LTD was introduced for 1965 followed by the Galaxie 500 7-Litre for 1966. The Galaxie 500 prefix was dropped from the LTD in 1966, and from the XL in 1967; however the basic series structuring levels were maintained. The "regular" Galaxie 500 continued below the LTD as Ford's mid-level full-size model from 1965 until its demise at the end of the 1974 model year.
A sedan, or saloon, is a passenger car in a three-box configuration with separate compartments for engine, passenger, and cargo.
The Buick Electra is a full-size luxury car manufactured and marketed by Buick from 1959 to 1990 over six generations — having been named after heiress and sculptor Electra Waggoner Biggs by her brother-in-law Harlow H. Curtice, former president of Buick and later president of General Motors. The Electra was offered in coupe, convertible, sedan, and station wagon body styles over the course of its production — with rear-wheel drive (1959-1984) or front-wheel drive. For its entire production run, it utilized some form of GM's C platform. The Electra was superseded by the Buick Park Avenue in 1991.
Car body styles are variable.
The Ambassador is an automobile manufactured and marketed by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from 1957-1974 over eight generations, in two-and four-door sedan, two-door hardtop, station wagon and convertible body styles. It was full-size from 1957 to 1961 and 1967 to 1974, and mid-size from 1962 to 1966.
A hardtop is a rigid form of automobile roof, which for modern cars is typically constructed from metal. A hardtop roof can be either fixed, detachable for separate storing or retractable within the vehicle itself.
The Ford LTD is a range of automobiles manufactured by Ford Motor Company for the 1965 to 1986 model years. Introduced as the highest trim level of the full-size Ford model range, the LTD introduced options and features normally reserved for more luxurious Lincoln and Mercury models. The largest vehicle produced by Ford in North America for most of its production, the LTD was joined by the intermediate Ford LTD II from 1977 to 1979; the LTD II served as the replacement for the Torino/Gran Torino range. At various times throughout its production, the LTD range included two- and four-door pillared and hardtop sedans, a two-door convertible, and the Country Squire five-door woodgrain station wagon.
The Dodge Monaco is an automobile that was marketed by the Dodge division of Chrysler Corporation. Introduced as the flagship of the Dodge product line, the Monaco was introduced for 1965 to replace the Custom 880, later superseding the Polara model line. During its production, the Monaco was offered in multiple body configurations, including two-door and four-door hardtop sedans, four-door sedans, two-door convertibles, and station wagons.
The Starlight coupe was a unique 2-door body style offered by Studebaker Corporation of South Bend, Indiana from 1947 to 1955 in its Champion and Commander model series. It was designed by Virgil Exner, formerly of Raymond Loewy Associates.
A phaeton is a style of open automobile without any fixed weather protection, which was popular from the 1900s until the 1930s. It is an automotive equivalent of the horse-drawn fast, lightweight phaeton carriage.
The Mercury Marquis is a model line of automobiles that was marketed by the Mercury division of Ford Motor Company. Deriving its name from a French nobility title, the Marquis was sold across four generations from 1967 to 1986; through its entire production, the model line was the Mercury divisional counterpart of the Ford LTD. Initially introduced as the flagship Mercury range, the Marquis line was later expanded to include the Mercury Grand Marquis slotted above it.
A glossary of terms relating to automotive design.
The Dodge Custom 880 is an automobile that was marketed by Dodge from 1962 through the end of the 1965 model year. It was to fill Dodge's product offer in the mid-price full-size market segment, as well as to help fill the void in Chrysler's lineup left by the discontinuation of DeSoto in 1961.
The Rambler Classic is an intermediate sized automobile that was built and sold by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from the 1961 to 1966 model years. The Classic took the place of the Rambler Six and Rambler Rebel V-8 names, which were retired at the end of the 1960 model year.
The configuration of a car body is typically determined by the layout of the engine, passenger and luggage volumes, which can be shared or separately articulated. A key design feature are the car's roof supporting pillars, described from front to rear of the car as A-pillar, B-pillar, C-pillar or D-Pillar.
The Rambler Six and the Rambler V8 are intermediate sized automobiles that were built and marketed by American Motors Corporation (AMC) from 1956 to 1960.
Quarter glass on automobiles and closed carriages may be a side window in the front door or located on each side of the car just forward of the rear-facing rear window of the vehicle. Only some cars have them. In some cases, the fixed quarter glass may set in the corner or "C-pillar" of the vehicle. Quarter glass is also sometimes called a valence window.
Postwar American sedans, with two doors or four, can be recognized by the B-pillar, or “post,” located between front and rear side glass.
The two Pettys alternated between a 1959 Plaza two-door post sedan and a Savoy two- door hardtop.