The Chevy Citation is a deeply, richly boring car. It’s name is a synonym for a traffic ticket, and it just goes down from there. It may very likely end up on Meh Car Monday at some point (it’s coming back, I promise), but it’s got one strange little design detail I can’t quite wrap my head around.

The detail is on the inside, and it’s something that’s usually associated with much more exotic cars, like the Citroën SM or a DeTomaso Pantera. It’s this:

There it is. The vertically-oriented radio. Hardly any American cars used a radio in this orientation. Really, very few cars did, and the ones that did decide to set their radios up like little skyscrapers tended to be cars that were so weird and/or cool that they just couldn’t be bothered with shoving a radio in the dash like everyone else.


At least, that’s how it felt in cars like the DeTomaso Pantera and the Citroën SM—they were giving you a radio, sure, but they so didn’t give a shit about it they just chucked it in wherever. A few other equally French or exotic or just weird cars stuck radios on their sides as well, but there were never that many.

And certainly none as otherwise mind-slappingly dull as a Citation.

That’s strange, right? I wonder why that decision was made? I’d like to think the Citation started off as a novel, interesting car, but GM management systematically went through and took out everything that made it interesting.


Except one little thing survived. The vertical radio. A little tower of defiance in an otherwise dull landscape.

And, I bet annoying to use, too.