It’s getting darker earlier now that we’ve somehow shoved our clocks back, which means there’s more time for us to contemplate taillights, which is, as we know, the most worthwhile activity a person can do. So, tonight, allow me to submit a set of taillights for your musing: the taillights of the Ford Cirrus.

The Ford Cirrus was actually a pretty remarkable car, even if we ignore the taillights. Based on the Ford (of Britain) Escort RS1600, the car was designed Michael Moore, who won the Daily Telegraph’s British Styling Competition in 1970.

The coachbuilding firm Woodall-Nicholson Ltd. was awarded the job of building the car, and I think the results are attractive and striking. It’s a fastback design, with a very handsome, clean front end with interesting glassed-over headlights, clean lines, and door handles that look a lot like AMC ones, but, based on where it’s from, I suspect they came from an Austin.

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The most interesting part, though, is the rear. There’s a bold, vented rear haunch that kicks up right at the C-pillar, and the all-glass hatch is novel because of the way the glass bends down over the rear of the car.

But I’m here to talk taillights, because I like the way these are handled on the Cirrus. They’re interesting because of how they’re not so much a pair of lights, but rather a little colony of lights, all working together to do the job of taillight-ify-ing the car.

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The indicators are completely separated, and are neat little triangular lamps that perfectly cap off the truncated tail of the fenders, and nestle just so against the chrome frame of that glass hatch.

The rest of the lights — tail, brake, reverse, and reflectors — are, interestingly, divided into three groups— brake, tail and a reflector on each side, then a middle unit, forming a reflector-reverse-reverse-reflector sandwich.

It’s a design that plays with the full-width taillights common on so many American cars of the era without just copying it. The separate indicators are somewhat reminiscent of the Citroën DS, and, even more so and even more surprisingly (and triangularily), like the Soviet-era Moskvitch 412IE.

So, please, take a moment and just pause and reflect on these novel taillights that, sadly, never saw production. And try not to get upset that even this car’s name was taken decades later by a pretty boring Dodge. Don’t think about that. Just enjoy those taillights.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.

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