newmediacampaigns has a rather interesting article zooming in to a fine detailing on BMW’s automobile design – the Hofmeister Kink. As seen above (highlighted in blue) in the BMW 1500 launched in 1961, the kink describes the bend at the C-Pillar (rear pillar), representing a turn in the window lines that one may have expected to flow smoothly towards the rear.
The Hofmeister Kink (named after BMW’s design director at that time) persisted throughout BMWs – and according to newmediacampaign, as BMW became more established as a car marque with qualities of luxury, high-end and quality, the kink itself became a subtle element representing these qualities as well.
Other carmakers caught on, and the application of the kink helped to differentiate similar cars/platforms tweaked towards different market segment – for instance, the Taurus has the smooth lines that coincide towards a sharp angle, while the Lincoln MKS sports the kink.
Quite an interesting read – though I’m sure you will be able to find counter-examples, I thought this was an interesting back story to a design detail that most of us would never even have noticed. Head on the their full article for a more comprehensive read.