Return of the Boomerang

James Kraus

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1958 Edsel Roundup

History has remembered the 1958 Edsel lineup chiefly for its novel styling. While most recall the vertical Alfa Romeo-esque front grill and maybe the eyebrow-shaped rear tail lamps, an all-but-forgotten Edsel styling flourish was the inward-facing boomerang tail lamp design found on the Bermuda, Villager and Roundup station wagons.  

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Formica Boomerang plastic laminate

Boomerangs were a popular styling motif at the time, often appearing in furniture designs, upholstery fabric and plastic laminates used for table and counter tops. Both Formica and Wilsonart have recently reintroduced their vintage Boomerang patterns.

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1960 Chrysler New Yorker

Chrysler presented their interpretation of the boomerang tail lamp on their 1960 models. As the flamboyance of the late 1950s segued into the more rational and functional design of the sixties, boomerang shapes went into a long hibernation.

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Nissan 370Z

In 2009, the Nissan 370 Fairlady Z sported a set of boomerang-esque tail lamps that remain in production today, complemented at the front by correspondingly shaped headlamps. A similar rear lamp design was utilized on the Altima a few years hence.

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Toyota Prius

Of late, there has been an outbreak of boomerang rear lamp clusters, most recently appearing on the latest Toyota Prius and Honda Civic.

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Honda Civic

At last week’s Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance, Cadillac displayed their new Escala Concept.

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Cadillac Escala

The Escala not only features the now-ubiquitous BMW Hofmeister Kink C-pillar, but yet another rendition of the Boomerang tail lamp; this time a unique tripodal design that pays tribute to the classic Australian icon from both side and rear views. An obtuse boomerang from the side, and an acute iteration from the rear.

The Boomerang. It’s back.

3 thoughts on “Return of the Boomerang

  1. They will never beat the Cadillac tail lights from ’48 to ’56.

  2. Maybe I am missing something, but to me the aforementioned ’48-’56 Cadillac tail lights are just sort of “eh.” Rather restrained for a Caddy.

  3. My favourite Cadillac rear lamps of course are the colour-changing lights of the 1960s, particularly the 1962, 1964 and 1965-66. Below; the 1965 version:

    Interestingly, Cadillac did return to a style reminiscent of the ’48-’56 rear lamps on their 1969 models:

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