Fender/hood mounted side mirrors
August 16, 2006 8:53 PM   Subscribe

What is benefit of old style fender/hood mounted side mirrors on vehicles? and why are they gone?

There are some cars in 60s and 70s that have fender/hood mounted side mirrors.... What are major benefits? I can see that a driver will have a greater viewing angles and minimum head and eye turning radius...

Why are they gone? Many of asian cars seems to have them even in 80s.....

Was there major aero deficiency? or some bad side safety reasons?? What reasons do you assume that they are bad ideas for cars now days?

Thanks for any comments...
posted by curiousleo to Technology (7 answers total)
Why are they gone?

well, i'm not car industry insider, but i can point out one reason they're not as good as the door-mounted ones:

simple optics. the closer a mirror of some given size is to your eye, the more solid angle you'll be able to see in it. the closer they are, the safer and more useful.
posted by sergeant sandwich at 9:12 PM on August 16, 2006

When a left-side mirror is mounted on the fender, it's not within arm's reach of the driver and that makes it much less convenient to adjust.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:00 AM on August 17, 2006

It's hard to put a mirror (or turn signals, for that matter) on the top of the rounded hoods that modern cars have.
posted by madajb at 12:44 AM on August 17, 2006

Best answer: Fender-mounted mirrors are common in Japan because the streets are so narrow -- imagine having to turn left onto a very narrow city street with your side mirrors mounted on the doors.

I have no idea why they are gone on American cars.

A friend of mine restored a 1975 Datsun Fairlady and it has a separate switch to enable you to turn on ONLY the front amber parking lights. We were both fairly perplexed by this; it turns out this is so that you can turn on only the front amber lights to make the car more visible when it's parked on a narrow street at night. If it's parked tightly on a corner at night, it'd be easy to clip its nose if you couldn't see it as you turned onto the street.

Needless to say, the Japanese Fairlady has a number of differences to compensate for differences in where/how it's used as compared to its American version, the 280Z.
posted by the matching mole at 7:10 AM on August 17, 2006

Best answer: Fender mirrors have a wider field of view but a smaller image. North American car buyers prefer larger images. For example consider the progression of mirrors on Dodge minivans, every restyle they get bigger.
posted by Mitheral at 7:34 AM on August 17, 2006

Best answer: Fender-mounted sideviews were actually mandated by law in Japan up until some point in the 80s (I think). They're still comparatively common there.

I'm not sure what the benefit to having them out there is, but I speculate it may be 1) both mirrors are more in your forward field of view, so you'll be more likely to see them; 2) having them further in front should help eliminate blind spots on either side.
posted by adamrice at 7:40 AM on August 17, 2006

The benefit is that they have no blind spot. The reason they are gone is that before the advent of electric mirrors they were very difficult to adjust (get out the car, tweak, get back in test etc) The reason they didn't come back after electrical adjustment became the norm is aesthetics.
posted by zeoslap at 10:16 AM on August 17, 2006

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