Poll: F1’s Halo vs IndyCar’s Aeroscreen – which looks best?

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The increased head protection offered by the Halo is the most dramatic way in which single-seater racing cars haves changed in recent years.

When F1 first tested the Halo there was widespread criticism of how it changed the aesthetics of racing cars. But those complaints have quietness as the Halo had becomes increasingly ubiquitous, spreading to F2, F3 and beyond.

That hasn’t stopped other series looking for better solutions, such as IndyCar, which has introduced the Aeroscreen this year. Developed by Red Bull technologies and based on a design F1 considered and rejected when the Halo was introduced, the canopy is strikingly different in appearance.

Of course as long as both save lives then it doesn’t matter how they look. So as we have to have one, it might as well be the one which looks best. So which suits a single-seater chassis best?

Pictures: F1’s Halo and IndyCar’s Aeroscreen

Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, AT-01 first run, Misano, 2020
Pierre Gasly, AlphaTauri, AT-01 first run, Misano, 2020
Marcus Ericsson, Ganassi, IndyCar, Circuit of the Americas, 2020
Marcus Ericsson, Ganassi, IndyCar, Circuit of the Americas, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, W11 launch, Silverstone, 2020
Lewis Hamilton, Mercedes, W11 launch, Silverstone, 2020
Will Power, Penske, IndyCar Aeroscreen test, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2019
Will Power, Penske, IndyCar Aeroscreen test, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, 2019

You say

Has IndyCar chosen the kind of design F1 should have adopted? Or do you prefer the look of the Halo to over the Aeroscreen? Compare the pictures, cast your vote and have your say below.

Which do you prefer the look of: F1's Halo or IndyCar's Aeroscreen?

  • F1's Halo looks much better (39%)
  • F1's Halo looks slightly better (28%)
  • Neither (9%)
  • IndyCar's Aeroscreen looks slightly better (13%)
  • IndyCar's Aeroscreen looks much better (10%)
  • No opinion (1%)

Total Voters: 360

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Keith Collantine
Lifelong motor sport fan Keith set up RaceFans in 2005 - when it was originally called F1 Fanatic. Having previously worked as a motoring...

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  • 93 comments on “Poll: F1’s Halo vs IndyCar’s Aeroscreen – which looks best?”

    1. You should never put the point in terms of better-looking device. We all know that halo and aeroscreen are both intended as safety measure first. Maybe, one could argue about which one is safer, but the ideal solution for safety should always be used even when ugly.

      1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
        16th February 2020, 8:56

        Maybe, but aesthetic appeal was a big sticking point for fan appeal over these devices. So no harm in having the discussion.

        1. You should never put the point in terms of better-looking device. We all know that halo and aeroscreen are both intended as safety measure first.

          I acknowledged this point in the article.

          1. And why would you use a poll instead of tests to decide which is safer? The poll is about people’s opinions on it.

            1. Because F1 fans cannot answer that question! Who are we to say which is safer, come on.

            2. Ah I re-read it, sorry you agree!

        2. yes..correcto :-)

      2. The “ideal solution” would be to not race.
        it’s all trade off

      3. Vittorio, or you could also have read the article and simply agreed with this statement:

        Of course as long as both save lives then it doesn’t matter how they look. So as we have to have one, it might as well be the one which looks best.

        1. @coldfly, it is still a somewhat flawed argument to say “So as we have to have one, it might as well be the one which looks best” because, as gt-racer has pointed out in the past, the Halo and the Aeroscreen had very different design briefs and therefore perform quite differently under impact loading.

          They’re designed to provide different levels of protection for different types of debris for the different situations that both series have to address – before taking the aesthetic question into account, there really needs to be the question of “does the aeroscreen actually address the issues that F1 wanted to solve when designing the Halo”? Just saying that we need to have one of those devices doesn’t really take into account whether they are both fit for the purpose you are trying to use them for.

          1. Anon personally I don’t think F1 could even use an aeroscreen due to the degree to which it would affect the whole car aerodynamically, however, Keith is asking a simple question about the appearance of it vs the halo, not about the performance of one vs the other.

            Personally I prefer the looks of the halo. Didn’t mind it from the start, and very quickly got used to it.

            1. Robbie, if it were mandatory in F1 (which it probably will be with the next generation cars) it would have the same aero and weight impact for all.

          2. Don I’m just saying that while you are right that the impact would be the same for all, I think the impact for all would be a total redesign of the car, and not just a bolt on like the halo is. Of course I am speaking of the current cars. Not speaking of the redesign for 2021, but just if they were to try to bolt an aeroscreen onto the existing cars as they are, I just don’t think they’d be able to. It would so upset the way air currently gets into the airbox, and goes around it and over the rear wing that I think everything would have to be changed to accommodate what I suspect to an aerodynamicist would mean going back to the drawing board from the front wing back.

            As to the 2021 redesign, I’m not aware of an aeroscreen being implemented for them either. As far as I know they’re sticking with the halo.

            1. The aero side of the Screen has not been discussed. Not anywhere that I have seen.
              For Indycar, being a spec series, it (sort of) doesn’t matter. My guess is some teams will get caught doing some interesting things around the screen and inside the cockpit. Naughty boys ….
              To integrate it into F1 will indeed result in a major redesign of the entire car. Even the Halo had a big aero impact. But for indycar and the issues with racing on ovals, the screen is probably better at achieving the objective (overall safety) than the Halo.
              My preference is still to call the Halo what it is, The Front Roll Hoop.

        2. Vittorio wanted to be first, so he just posted his melodramatic comment without reading the article.

      4. These drivers are paid millions in F1( in most cases) for not even full-time work. When you become a race car driver you accept the life risks involved…..one can’t be asked to protect them beyond reasonable means….DO NOT RACE…then you might be safer in your life…it is their choice to do this and they are very well awarded for that..yes..with that comes a risk of dying…but then, all of us face that risk every day just crossing downtown streets ( how many people die a day hit by a car in the world) and how many F1 ( or any race) drivers die in a year?! “1.25 million people die in road accidents a YEAR”

        Redesign the car for full-size military jet cockpit, install fire, ejection and oxygen supply systems.. reeally.. who will watch that then….I wonder if anybody…

        1. … for not even full-time work.

          Well here’s someone who doesn’t have the slightest clue what it takes to be an F1 driver and the amount of work they put in and the personal sacrifices they make to compete at the highest level.

          1. You’re right. It takes money, mostly. Lots and lots of money is a good way to get started. But he’s right about the mostly part time comment. Working out and staying fit through the off-season and going to functions for sponsors still doesn’t rise to the level of what real folks consider work. Don’t wanna hear about personal sacrifices either. An empty platitude that sounds good with no corroborating evidence. What sacrifices? Give me a break.

            1. Both of you have no idea what it takes to compete at the highest level in sports apparently… It doesn’t just take money (it helps of course). It takes motivation and dedication for years since a very young age. They sacrificed family, friends, entertainment, food and other everyday stuff we took for granted. Without these sacrifices people don’t reach that level unless you are someone like Stroll, which shoes in his performances… It is a tough job and not everyone can do it, just because they are paid millions and race every other weekend doesn’t mean they don’t work harder everyday than all of us office workers…

      5. The aeroscreen can stop small debris like the one than made Felipe Massa unconcious for a while and crash while driving with Ferrari. Not sure if that was adressed with newer helmer designs

    2. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
      16th February 2020, 8:54

      I don’t know if it’s the 80’s speedboat look, but the aero screen makes the Indy cars appear so old fashioned. The halo is fairly sleek and I got used to it really quickly (after stamping my feet over the world ending when it was introduced). Some nice liveries blending it into their design this year too.

      1. I have the same impression. I think it might have to do with the angle of it (it seems very vertical to me) and the rivets used to attach the screen to the frame on top.
        All in all, looks slightly like something that come off an american truck. The kind ya drive for a livin.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          16th February 2020, 13:53

          Yes that’s exactly it.

      2. @rdotquestionmark You find the Halo ‘sleek’?! I feel it’s bulky and large as hell.

        Yes, I got used to them being there too and to be fair, the hybrid generation of F1 cars is quite bulky, blocky and large to begin with. However, the cars themselves still have somewhat of an aerodynamic look and feel to them. The Halo does not and painting them in colors that blend in with the livery does help, but can’t hide that.

        1. Roth Man (@rdotquestionmark)
          16th February 2020, 19:37

          @jeffreyj Not from the head on view it does look bulky but other angles I think it looks okay.

      3. ….the problem with the aeroscreen is that it was made in a shed.

    3. The Aeroscreen should be more integrated with the chassis.

      1. The chassis is still the DW12 tub dating back to 2012. So that means that the aeroscreen was designed AFTER the tub was designed, and it also means that the tub designers back in 2012 will not have had to include better mounting options for an aeroscreen, as they will not be able to see 7 years into the future when the aeroscreen was proposed.

        I would say they did as best they could, considering it is an ‘add on’.
        The 2021 or 2022 car is supposed to be a completely new redesign, so they will design the new tub to integrate better.

    4. I need to get used to the look of the aeroscreen but right now? I never thought I’d say this, but the Halo disrupts the “normal” look of the car a lot less… It works better. And you get to see the driver a lot more.

      But that probably has to do with being used to the look. It’s been a couple of years already. It’s still hideous, but what are we going to do… it’s part of racing now.

      1. Agreed. I always say that any major changes to the cars takes a few races for fans to get used to, I’m already unfazed by the halo. However, I’m not sure these will improve with time in quite the same way. I’ll have to wait and see.

        For now though I had to vote that the halo is much better.

      2. Well put @fer-no65; I also think that the aeroscreen would look too bulky on F1 cars – it might do too on indycars, but there (also with the wider nose) I sort of see it as making the rest of the car seem less big and heavy, which makes me think it more nimble and light if that makes any sense. Above, someone said it makes the indy look old-fashioned, not sure I would word it like that, but maybe harking back to earlier times, which to my mind isn’t so bad for indy, with their focus on racing over technology.

      3. @fer-no65 – agreed, well said. I voted for the halo looking slightly better, and I think it’s just this reason, the halo is familiar to me.

    5. Halo has looked god awful from day 1. Technological advancements could make the areoscreen better the halo ain’t

    6. They both look bloody hideous.

      The main issue for fans, or probably more so people that aren’t fans who are watching, is that they can’t really identify with the driver as he/she can’t be seen. It’s hard to get emotionally invested in a piece of machinery as a bystander.

      The reason the complaints have stopped is because we all know it’s here to stay unless something better is developed.

    7. I voted for ‘no opinion’ because I simply don’t care either way anymore. The aesthetics-aspect is secondary anyway also with cars.

      1. @jerejj – ditto. As long as either serves its purpose and doesn’t break F1, then I am ambivalent. Both are a step towards a closed cockpit – which I may have different feelings about of course.

    8. Yes it’s much easier to get emotionally invested in the race if I can see a plastic helmet zipping around the track.

    9. The halo is less safe and ugly.

    10. That aeroscreen doesn’t look finished.
      If it’s just between these two options then the halo is just so immensely better integrated in the overall car design and therefore gets my vote.

    11. Now, just indulge me for a second, but what if we had… a HaloScreen(TM)?

      Of course, realistically, we all know the best safety option would be Auto-targeting Lasers that zap anything coming towards the drivers head, but the FIA only seems to care about looks.

      1. That is the plan iirc. At least at some point having a device that can sustain both heavy and small debris impacts.

        Lasers would be cool, though if like in Spa 2018 the “debris” is Alonso sent over Leclerc’s car we would run into a Star Wars battle between both systems anihilating each other defenses.

      2. Auto-targeting Lasers that zap anything

        How do you get the shark into a car, though?

        1. Ask No.2… and he will ask Dr.Evil.

        2. or Scotty…. ’cause he’s on fire!

      3. TR, IndyCar’s Screen is esentially a Haloscreen. There is a titanium Halo under the screen.

    12. There are no side on images. From a direct frontal point of view I think the Halo looks much better. You can still see the driver as well.

      I think the Halo looks at its most unattractive looking directly from the side. I have not seen the Indy aero screen from this angle. I still reckon the halo might be better though.

    13. Next-gen AeroScreens that get designed as part of the car will no doubt look more integrated and I’ve had some time to get used to the Halo. The AS was really on track for the first time as more or less a finished product this week so it’s still new and of course next year my opinion could change. Right now though I barely notice the halo, the AeroScreen looks out of place.

    14. They’re both ugly as sin, but the halo looks slightly less worse than the super cumbersome aeroscreen so I chose that

    15. Never (before either of them were adopted) thought I would say this – Halo, hands down.

    16. I’m still disappointed that the halo is the best solution the sport that takes pride in being ‘the pinnacle of motorsport’ could come up with.

      The Aeroscreen, in my opinion, looks good from the side, but bulky from the front. Probably because of the straight sides of it.

      Therefore I voted for the Aeroscreen, also because the implementation on F1 cars (looking back at the Red Bull and Ferrari tests) looked much more elegant than the final Indy version.

    17. bryan krahenbuhl
      16th February 2020, 12:55

      I predict the aeroscreen will blend in better with the chassis over the next few years. And then just like the halo, the fickle fans will not care as much. It’s a necessary evil.

    18. Just imagine if you woke up tomorrow and every single person on the planet, yourself included, no longer had a nose. A lifetime of a human face looking a certain way, then suddenly human appearance is fundamentally altered and (unless you like people with no noses) everyone would appear unattractive and weird.

      But a child born the day after everyone had no noses would grow up considering noselessness to be entirely normal and their picture of attractiveness would be a face without a nose.

      These add-ons are the same to me. If single-seaters had always looked that way, neither would look bad at all. But because I’ve grown up with single-seaters being open-wheel, open-cockpit, and because my brain still expects them to look that way, they’re both unattractive. And of the two, the aeroscreen is significantly less visually pleasing.

      But my theoretical child will have no idea what all the fuss is about.

      1. @neilosjames I disagree. Of course a child born into 100 percent ugly population wouldn’t know he’s ugly but ugly he’ll be nonetheless and should an outside observer, one in possession of a nose, see him he’ll be ugly to him as well.

        And so it is with halo and aeroscreen. As soon as this hypothetical child of yours sees a picture of a pure open wheel car he’ll know immediately that he’s been ignorant of the truth and all he’s seen so far are ugly cars.

        A fact is a fact irrespective of perception. All the rest is post modernist nonsense

        1. @montreal95, even within a relatively short period of time, I have seen many here wildly contradicting themselves on what they once proclaimed to be ugly cars that they now profess to love, showing that the interpretation of what is and isn’t ugly can shift quite noticeably with time.

          For example, going back 10-15 years, I can recall how many fans loudly complained about how “ugly” the cars of the late 2000s were – but I’ve now seen a number of fans who called those cars ugly at the time now praise their aesthetics and describe them in much more glowing terms now than they did back then, and even gone from loathing to loving those cars.

          1. @anon This is only because today’s cars are even uglier. And for the record I’m not one of those who changed opinion. I always said that early 2000s cars were the last beautiful ones, some of them. then there were the late 2000s cars with all the ugly appendages and it only went down hill from there. So again I don’t believe that anything has really changed. There are many people who change their mind every Monday and Thursday about everything. doesn’t make it true

        2. @montreal95 but the no-nose population wouldn’t be 100% ugly – it would have the same spread of attractiveness that the existing world has. If it was normal to have no nose, a person with a nose would be seen as the ‘ugly’ one. They’d look as odd to the rest of the population, and to themselves, as someone in our world would if they grew an extra nose on their forehead.

          Facts are facts, but our perception of beauty isn’t a factual matter.

          1. @neilosjames Yeah if everyone looks like that skullface villain from the Avengers no one will notice how ugly they are. But the question wasn’t about perception. it’s about what’s beautiful and what’s not.

      2. Prediction for the child’s name … Nostrildamus.

    19. No competition here: halo.

    20. Neither the Halo or Screen make the cars look better or are attractive. If the question was “which device protects better?”, the winner would be the Screen 100%. The Screen looks good at most angles, but has a weird reflection / optical illusion from straight on that makes it look boxy and flat – which it is not. It looks pretty good though considering it wasn’t part of the initial design. The next generation IndyCar’s will have this as part of the design process and will look much better. The Halo may look slightly better because were used to it now, but doesn’t offer any protection from smaller pieces / components flying in a crash that could be deadly. Especially important for IndyCar where they can be averaging speeds of 230 mph at Indianapolis, or 220 at Texas. Speeds that F1 hits for a few seconds a lap at a few circuits.

    21. I think overall the Halo looks better as it’s better integrated into each teams overall design.

      The Indycar aeroscreen just been a thing that they have stuck onto the existing design just isn’t as integrated into the overall design. It doesn’t look too bad from the side but just looks bulky & doesn’t seem to fit the overall flow of the car when viewed from the front.

      When they design there next car i’m sure they will be able to integrate it better & it should therefore end up looking a lot better.

      1. I am guessing Massa thinks the AS looks better.

    22. Both are awful, but the Halo is better.

    23. I think the aeroscreen has the potential to look better, but it just doesn’t. It makes the Indycar look like a Transformer toy car. It looked better on the Red Bull. And the original Indycar windscreen looked a lot better than this abomination.

      1. Oxnard, you are correct. The initial IndyCar PPG prototype screen was a much smaller shield. It was really cool looking but did not have a Halo behind it. The shape and size changed when RBT got involved. IndyCar should have went with their initial design and put a Halo behind it. It didn’t offer as much side protection but would have been fine, and a much better looking alternative.

    24. I think the Halo looks better than the screen. The screen may look better in the future, but right now it is butt ugly.

      My real question is if safety was such a concern then why did it take till now to implement these devices? If safety is that important then just enclose the cockpit and be done with it.

    25. Halo looks better to me. I suspect it has an advantage in an appearance poll due to people having time to get used to it.

      I think the Aeroscreen is probably safer. It certainly would have prevented the spring from almost ending Massa’s career and possibly life while the halo wouldn’t have.

    26. both are horrible but at least the halo is still kinda open cockpit, you can see the driver. Indycar now is closed cockpit
      but it doesn’t have the benefit of a side door like a LMP car, in case of an accident or a rapid extraction could make things worse. i know that indy needed more debris protection but man just run some LMP’s and thats it or don’t race anymore or race by control remote.

    27. To me the one that looks safer by a small amount is the Aeroscreen, although in hindsight maybe I should have voted for it being safer by a large amount. The reason being is the large amount of small debris that seem to explode through the air when cars collide. So this isn’t just the cars that collided, but also the cars that are close behind. It looks like the Aeroscreen shields the driver better from those debris, e.g. carbon fibre splinters, fragments of front wings, nearly boiling radiator fluid, lumps of running board, etc, that go flying through the air when there’s a collision. Also, when drivers are irresponsible and drive too fast around a track with a flat tyre, where there’s bits of tread flailing around and breaking off the tyre. My suspicion is Halo provides almost no protection from these sorts of debris.
      The downside to Aeroscreen is it looks like the driver has less optical clarity to the world than Halo does, in that regard Halo is superior. My guess is usually this isn’t a serious problem, but it could be a problem in some light conditions, e.g. at sunset, or when it is raining. Nevertheless, Aeroscreen is appears to be far superior to Halo when it comes to protecting a driver.

    28. I say the Halo looks slightly better


      I like the quietness drivers are allowed behind the aeroscreen. I hope that leads to more attentiveness and not to lapses of overconfidence.

    29. Aeroscreens makes the cars look like those bicycles covered in plastic to make it more aerodynamic and/or to keep the occupant dry.

      Tell me that this MyPod isn’t a spitting image of an IndyCar with aeroscreen:

    30. One’s a halo, and one’s a halo plus glass.
      The lesser evil is the halo unfortunately.

    31. I spoiled my ballot in protest.

    32. The lack of a screen gives F1’s Halo a ‘lightness’ to it, while it causes the Indycar device to appear like a solid mass.
      Whether through familiarity or design, the Halo ticks more of the boxes for me.

    33. I didn’t like the Halo look at first, but it has grown on me.

    34. Halo looks much better. The aeroscreen’s a decent alternative but it looks a bit silly really.

    35. Missing option: “I do not like any of those devices.”

    36. In the photos, the Aeroscreen looks to have an extremely tight top, so tight in fact, I’d wonder just how easy it would be to exit the car.

      I know with the Halo, there were a number of tests to ensure that drivers could be extracted safely in a timely manner. Has the same been done for the screen and are the results the same?

      Was not really a fan of the Halo when it was introduced, but as many have said, it didn’t take long to get used to it. Not so sure that we’d get used to a screen like the one IndyCar is trialling anywhere near as quickly as it looks even uglier and not even close to the original one proposed by RBR.

      1. At the test the drivers were getting in and out pretty easily – since it’s essentially a halo inside the Aeroscreen. You’d assume Red Bull took what they learned from the the halo when they designed this Aeroscreen.

        As for its looks I agree it doesn’t look brilliant but hopefully IndyCar, Dallara and Red Bull can make it look more integrated when the next car comes around.

    37. I really like how Mercedes have painted their Halo, using black and an edge within their livery to lessen the visible impact of it as a whole component.

      That said, I don’t really pay attention to the Halo anymore. I think the aeroscreen looks better on some cars than others – the mclaren looks great for example.

    38. When they design the chassis around it, the aeroscreen will look better.

    39. The Halo is less jarring.
      The aeroscreen is better protection (personal opinion).
      Unlike the Halo, the aeroscreen would have saved Massa at the Hungaroring.

      1. Unlike the Halo, the aeroscreen would have saved Massa at the Hungaroring.

        I think once this has been running in IndyCar for a while F1 won’t be able to ignore it.

    40. Well I’m with 11% of people. Indys version looks rough but the design is much better than f1.

    41. The indy design is easily the safest. With the halo it’s amazing that they figured putting an obstruction in the middle of your vision 100% of the time didn’t decrease safety. The halo leaves 2 big gaps to hit your face. Neither design flows with the esthetics of the cars. And of course they are betting that there will never ever be a roll over fire never ever ever again.

    42. Aeroscreen is a massive failure IMHO. FIA showed only Halo is able to protect against the biggest threats like flying wheels and other cars. And now we see how much this screen reflects and blocks vision to the helmet. I’m glad everyone got over the Halo (thinking of you, Martin!) and we’re all used to it in all FIA categories.

    43. It’s like asking what would you prefer, constipation or diarrhea. Neither would be my answer if could choose.

      1. @drulia +1! And CoTD.

    44. I think they both look terrible but neither were really designed for the car they are bolted to. I’m used to the halo now and I’m sure I’ll be used to the Aeroscreen soon enough. Once they’ve had a few generations to work on them I’m sure they’ll look more integrated with the car.

      I do prefer the look of the cars without them but you can’t hold back safety – in fact if the Aeroscreen works great in IndyCar I don’t see how F1 can avoid putting it on their cars.

    45. Right now, the Halo looks better, however, F1 has had a few years to integrate the design into the car. Indy is still working with the Aeroscreen. As pictured, it seems a bit too upright, I would like to see it with a little more rake sloping back into the car more organically.
      That said, I don’t think either is the end result for the push for driver safety. I expect fully closed cockpits within five years. I have said it before, but I think these are some of the best concepts I have seen for an F1 closed cockpit:
      I love these designs; the simplicity of the aero, and the seamless integration of the cockpit all with an organic feel to the car; they look great.

    46. Lewisham Milton
      17th February 2020, 13:39

      Aeroscreen was clearly inspired by the Cars movies, just needs a pair of eyes on it… but, just like the halo, once the race starts we’ll hardly notice them at all.

    47. Seems to me like opinions on this topic have changed drastically. Whether it’s because F1 fans have simply “gotten used to” seeing the halo, or F1 teams have done a great job of assimilating it into the chassis, or this iteration of the aeroscreen is just that much different than original concept designs, I’ve seen the opinion on this topic swing from one side to the other.

      Here’s an example of the concept design. To me, this looks stunning, and the comments tend to agree. Instead, what we got is the polar opposite of stunning:

      So yeah, right at this moment in time, my vote goes Halo, hands down. But my point in this comment? Sure, we can debate *now* what looks better, but we must remember the Halo was universally panned when it was first introduced and now it’s an afterthought. Perhaps we should wait until the aeroscreen becomes an afterthought to the Indycar chassis before we opine on comparing the two.

    48. I have mixed feelings about both of them. One cannot deny that they work, they do the job. But, boy, are they ugly . Safe…..but ugly. One of the biggest appeal to racing cars is the look. In 2018 Indy-cars started to look good for the first time in years, since the early, mid 90’s. But this new aeroscreen, it make’s the car look ridiculous.
      Can’t argue with safety though.
      Still, pretty damn ugly to look at.

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