Darren Cassey profile picture Darren Cassey 5 years ago 82
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6 Crazy Wing Mirror Designs You Can't Help But Admire

There are more glamorous aspects of car design, but the humble mirror hasn't changed in principle since the car was invented. Some designers take that principal and go a little mad

Remind me later

1. LaFerrari

6 Crazy Wing Mirror Designs You Can't Help But Admire - Blog

The LaFerrari’s design is so extreme it’s almost overwhelming. There are curves, vents and wings all over the place, but it all just works. Once you’ve composed yourself from the visual onslaught, one thing stands out: the wing mirrors. Protruding from the glasshouse like insectile antennae, the mirrors provide visibility over that expansive rump by sitting atop foot-long carbonfibre stalks. So damn cool.

2. Pagani Huayra

6 Crazy Wing Mirror Designs You Can't Help But Admire - Blog

The Huayra has the most gorgeous set of wing mirrors ever created. No argument. Protruding in a similar fashion to the LaF, Pagani’s effort manages to escape the gawky look thanks to the leaf-shaped works of carbonfibre art stuck on the end of each stalk.

3. Mercedes W124, W201, others

6 Crazy Wing Mirror Designs You Can't Help But Admire - Blog

This appears to be a feature that found its way onto a number of late eighties to late nineties cars, including the W124 and 190 Mercs, as well more subtly on the E36 BMW M3. The reasoning is unclear, but the best answer appears to be that it was to make the passenger side harder to scrape on narrow roads.

In Merc’s case, the passenger side mirror was made narrower, then taller to compensate for the reduced field of view - incidentally making the surface area larger than the driver’s side. Also, the passenger side was electrically operated, while the driver’s side mirror was manually operated as it was within easy reach, making electric control an unnecessary extravagance.

4. Volkswagen XL1

6 Crazy Wing Mirror Designs You Can't Help But Admire - Blog

The XL1’s presence in this list is notable for its absence of wing mirrors. In the traditional sense, at least. The object on the door, between the wheel and the side window, is actually a camera that beams live images to screens inside the cockpit. Why? The XL1 is all about efficiency, and its teardrop design is intended to create as little drag as possible. Traditional wing mirrors would ruin a lot of that hard work.

5. Audi RS5 DTM

6 Crazy Wing Mirror Designs You Can't Help But Admire - Blog

This is one of those times when form and function meld into one. The curving stalks have an elegance that is at odds with the typical aggressive aero styling seen in the DTM series, but the triple wing design actually helps to aid air flow along the side of the car.

6. McLaren 650S GT3

6 Crazy Wing Mirror Designs You Can't Help But Admire - Blog

This odd contraption is by far our favourite on the list: wing mirror air conditioning. During a race, one of the most difficult factors to control is a driver’s temperature. A traditional air conditioning unit would be unacceptably heavy (though some championships require it for driver safety), so engineers come up with ways of creating openings to force air into the cabin.

That’s what’s happening here. It’s a clever solution as apertures create a small amount of drag, so incorporating it into a device that already creates drag saves ruining a slippery surface elsewhere.

Any others you’d like to suggest? Hit the comments section below.