GM Inside News Forum banner

1 - 20 of 36 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,872 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
I don't really like 'retro'. I mean, the PT Cruiser is very ugly. The only retro cars I like is the retro-designed SSR and concept Nomad from Chevrolet. Besides that, designing the 300C to make it 'retro' was a horrible idea. Forget the inspired design from Shelby Cobra in 1966. Its not 1966. Its not 1952. Its not 1912 for goodness sake. Its 2004! Bring on the cars that have advanced technology, not the same dashboard as a 62' Mustang! In 1955, they pictured cars that could fly. Why didn't we come up with the technology like that. Meanwhile we're stuck with a whole bunch of gas-guzzlers in which every 2 miles you have to get gas. :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry: :angry:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
43 Posts
Here's what I heard: 'I don't like it when other people do retro, I like it when GM does retro.'

Also, if you want a car that gets good mileage, go buy one, they're on the market. Just realize that you can have preformance or mileage, but not both. And that is how it is going to be for a long time to come.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,056 Posts
The problem with retro is that it is so much more difficult to pull off. PT Cruiser is a retro but not tied to a particular car. At least not like the GTO. While typing, I'm trying to think of a retro that has really received kudos from everybody. The Thunderbird really is not a spotlight car. The Mustang and corvette never left.
That is why I am of the opinion that the GTO should have been introduced on its own merits under its own badge. In the end, it will be judged more on its performance and reliability than who calls it by any particular name.

Still thinking of cars re-introduced. 94-96 Impala SS? Is this one? Nissan's Z is another (done well too).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
776 Posts
I think it is inevitable we see more retro stuff. I'm 24 and I think the new 'Stang looks really cool. It looked really cool in '69 too, but how many do I see running around the highway today? In that way it's a really new style, you haven't seen it around you for 30 years. I think in the end it won't matter if it's retro or not, it'll just matter if it's an aesthetically appealing vehicle, no matter how old or young the style is.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
776 Posts
Oh yeah, what's this about gas-mileage? I have a 405 HP car that can do 0-60 in 4 seconds flat. It also gets 22 MPG combined city-highway, and I drive fast. My buddy has a Sierra with the 5.3 liter and gets around 20 MPG too. More power and more MPG---what more can you really ask for? It seems a little unfair for the consumer to clamor for more more more power and then complain when you don't get 40+ MPG. It seems to me GM does a better job of this than anyone else anyway, their trucks have good mileage (except H2) the Malibu is class leading, and where else can you find a car like a Z06 with 22 MPG???
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,047 Posts
Originally posted by 69nova@Feb 22 2004, 08:59 PM
The problem with retro is that it is so much more difficult to pull off. PT Cruiser is a retro but not tied to a particular car. At least not like the GTO. While typing, I'm trying to think of a retro that has really received kudos from everybody. The Thunderbird really is not a spotlight car. The Mustang and corvette never left.
That is why I am of the opinion that the GTO should have been introduced on its own merits under its own badge. In the end, it will be judged more on its performance and reliability than who calls it by any particular name.

Still thinking of cars re-introduced. 94-96 Impala SS? Is this one? Nissan's Z is another (done well too).
you seem to be confusing "re-introducing" and thats not the same as "retro-styling". retro-design refers to just the styling, giving new cars the look of the older cars but in a modern day interpatation.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,621 Posts
i don't care what 'design philosophy' a car follows... if it's ugly it's ugly and if it's beautiful it's beautiful. i sure can't say retro cars are ugly because it totally depends on how it's handled. same with caddy's art & science. i like everything they've done so far, but that doesn't mean i'll like every future interpretation. i never did understand chryslers 'cab-forward'... i didn't see any difference between them and other sedans.

i can also understand why a company would pull on past glories. there are some classic GM's that deserve a nod from the curret generation. GM wouldn't be what it is today (or be at all) if it weren't for the millions of cars it's built over the years. so bring on retro... if i don't like it i won't buy it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,723 Posts
Automotive styling is part of a larger set of trends in design and fashion, including what's happening in clothing, furniture and consumer electronics.

In many aspects of design, trends die, then reemerge. The context they reemerge in often gives them a different feel.

Even in music, sounds reemerge. Hip hop has taken a basic James Brown backbeat ("Funky Drummer") and built an entire music genre around it. The Grammy Awards had both Parliment Funkadelic and Outcast play - the newer renewing and recasting many of the musical ideas of their elders. I was listening to the new White Stripes album on the way to work - pair it back to back with an early Yardbirds album, or something like The Stooges and the linage is striking. Yet, the White Stripes doesn't simply sound like a 30 year old record - the sounds and musical ideas exist in a different cultural context and relate to each other in a new way - recontextualizing them and making them feel new again.

Retro isn't even a new idea in automotive styling. The second generation Monte Carlos and boatail Rivieras were heavily influenced by the grand cars of the 1930s. The boattail was a recurring GM theme and orginated I believe from the Duesenburg boattail speedsters. Those fender "eyebrows" on the Montes were meant to recall the flowing fenders from classic era cars, if I recall correctly.

So, many (if not most) designs will be influenced to a larger or smaller degree by what became before. Some wear their influences on their sleeve - some combine an unusual (or not-well know) set of influences. Whether a specific design works or not has more to do with the quality of the execution then whether if references earlier designs or not, IMHO.

BTW - I think both the new Mustang and the new Corvette have done a really good job on incorporating iconic design cues and using more modern proportions to change their relationship to each other and create something fresh. Yes, the Mustang has the side scallop, the fastback shape, the grill and lights that strongly reference the 65 - 69 cars. But, the stance and proportion are very modern. The Corvette also has many reference to a whole history of Corvettes - yet has a very aggressive and modern stance and looks every bit a modern car.

A great way to acknoledge history while moving it forward, I think!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
375 Posts
Tone, that may be the best description of 'retro' design I have ever heard.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,519 Posts
The 300C is retro? How so?

V8 and RWD is how we used to do it here in America, so if a platform goes back to that theme, it's retro?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,519 Posts
Originally posted by i am bill@Feb 22 2004, 11:49 PM
Here's what I heard: 'I don't like it when other people do retro, I like it when GM does retro.'

Also, if you want a car that gets good mileage, go buy one, they're on the market. Just realize that you can have preformance or mileage, but not both. And that is how it is going to be for a long time to come.
Yeah, I read the same anti-competition rhetoric. ...Nomad and SSR are OK, but all the other retro is bad. Even cars that are not retro...

As for performace vs. mileage? You can have them both, to a large extent. I mean, look at the Corvette's highway mileage. In fact, if a performance car has great aerodynamics, it might achieve better highway figures than an econobox. Performance cars often appear to have lower mpg figures because the testers romp on them from stoplight to stoplight or on high-speed passes. But if you feather the throttle, and induce the same type of performance as a Cavalier, then you'll achieve mileage similar to a Cavalier (assuming weight, aerodynamic drag, and rolling resistance are comparable).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,872 Posts
Discussion Starter #12
ITS 2004!!!!!!!
ITS NOT 1934!!!!!!
ITS NOT 1952!!!!!
its not 1912
not 1913
not 1914
not 1915
not 1916
not 1917
not 1918
not 1919
not 1920
not 1921
not 1922
not 1923
not 1924

Shall I go on?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,723 Posts
Thanks for the update. Can you tell me the correct time and temperature as well? :p

Seriously, if you were designing a car to look "2004" without reference to the past, what would it look like? Even Cadillac's Art and Science look pays homage to cars like the late '60's Eldorado.

Mostly, from what I've seen, truly new ideas - often enabled by new material or manufacturing technologies - look pretty unusual at first. Ugly, even. They require some time a acquire a cultural context and become more approachable for people other than designers.

For example - take the GM Hywire concept. It is shaped by today's (and tomorrow's) technologies. See http://www.cardesignnews.com/autoshows/200...view/gm-hywire/ if you aren't familiar with it. I happen to like it a lot, but I'd bet it would take a while for people to become accustomed to the monoshape, the wide open space inside, the lack of a conventional dash and steering wheel, etc.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,621 Posts
Originally posted by gmwsag@Feb 24 2004, 09:59 PM
ITS 2004!!!!!!!
ITS NOT 1934!!!!!!
ITS NOT 1952!!!!!
its not 1912
not 1913
not 1914
not 1915
not 1916
not 1917
not 1918
not 1919
not 1920
not 1921
not 1922
not 1923
not 1924

Shall I go on?
throughout the lowly 80's and 90's, the only thing that sold many of the sub-standard GM's was the name. where did that name come from? from GM's history!

why does cadillac mean anything today? because cadillac used to represent the best america had to offer. and is it not reasonable that the cars would reflect that same image... crafted decades ago? if cars are going to be totally redesigned every 4 years and not look a thing like their forebearers, how is a company to retain customers? design/style is a HUGE factor when buying a car.

i LOVE the evolution of many different GM vehicles. take the corvette... they could start with a clean sheet of paper and give me some modern, futuristic sports car... but i likely wouldn't want it. a corvette is so desirable partly because of it's amazing performance, yes, but partly because every boy (and many girls) has always know the corvette to be the most stylish and affordable sports car in america. i WANT to look at the corvette and see it's forebearers in it.

i want my corvette to look like a corvette. and a corvette is 50+ years of history. throw that out the window and what do you have? an nsx, perhaps? fine car... but does it get your heart racing? i somehow doubt it.

sure, it's 2004. but there's no way to look at automotive design in a vacuum. a 2004 vehicle only looks different because it's different than the year before. no, i don't think it's about starting over every time. the only reason we talk about a GM revolution is because it's sunken from it's past glorious position. i think it's important to recognize the grand old GM's of old and bring out modern interpretations.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,963 Posts
You guys are mixing up retro and heritage.

Not one single caddy now looks like a Caddy from the 20's, 30's, 40's, 50's, 60's, etc... but do they keep the heritage of them being the leader of style, and technology? Well, at least they try.
heritage
Does the new C6 look exactly like any one vette. It has shapes of different vettes yes, and certain parts look like certain things, but thats part of the Vettes heritage. The Vette is not "retro", it uses heritage cues from vettes as most all cars with any history have done.
The Tbird is a retro design as they took almost an exact replica of the 54 tbird and made this one, down to the hood scoop and port holes. They designed this right off the old tbird. It is nicely done, and I like them and the style. Did the public? Did the public want to spend Vette prices for a car clearly not in the Vettes class? Guess not
The new mustang. Same situation, retro design. They took one specific model and turned it into a new car. I DONT like the mustang as it looks bulky, overweight, and about as un-aerodynamic as you can make it. It was a cool design back in the 60's, but not in the 21st century people.
Then you have Retro-themed cars.
The Pt Cruser basically brought in the retro theme cars. There was a 8 month waiting list for them, but I will bet you you can walk onto a chrystler dealers lot and pick one up for cheap. Did the sales drop? Yes. I like the PT when it came out, but as time went on it got uglier and uglier.
SSR. Retro themed off of chevy's older line up of trucks. I think its a cool looking truck, and its not gunna be flying around here and there like how many mustangs and PT's are. I havent gotten sick of the styling, but I dont think GM expects to sell boat loads. Its underpowerd and overpriced by dealers as much as 10k, and probably more in some areas.
Prowler. It lost its flare and fizzled out after people became aware that this car didnt do anything all that well, and again fell pray to teh vette. Why spend vette prices for a v6 car that cant handle all that well? Do I like the Prowler? Yeah, its one bad a$$ looking car. Underpowerd and the suspension needs to be overhauled.

Now you have the other 2 ******* children, the Mini and the Bug. They are retro, but have enough cues in them to keep them away from there older self, but have enough retro cues so people can say "hey thats a (enter name here)"
I dont like either car as they are just pure ugly IMO. The Bug which is chick car 100%, and the Mini...well... I dont know what to say but the price for one of these things are amazing. Same could be said for the Bug I guess when compared to the older versions.

Now I dont wana hear "You like it when GM does it, but not when everyone else does it" anymore because I have said that I like many other non-gm cars that have retro styled cars. Id like for designers to move away from this fad and just make cars that excite people without going into some old designs.
Best example is the 350z. Follows along the 240, 260, 280, 300 series greatly with sweet, sleek styling, good power, and tight handling. Did they go retro? Nope. Are they doing great sales wise? Im pretty sure. Retro is nice for a small niche car or something, but for something like the Mustang, Camaro, GTO, etc.. they need to be modern, and not hark back to the olden days. They need to be hip looking to bring in new buyers and to drag them away from the civics and corollas and whatever. Id be very surprised to see that down the road the Mustang doesnt get restyled for a more modern look after this whole retro thing blows over. Baby Boombers arent gunna want a Mustang.

If some of this didnt make sence, please excuse me now as Im typing this at 330 am. You should get the beasic idea.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,519 Posts
In the early 90s, what became the Probe was going to be the next Mustang. Even ignoring the FWD driveline, this original design didn't look anything like a Mustang. Enter the Mach 3 concept from about 1996 or so. This had some Mustang cues, but it was too much of a reach. Is that what I personally would want instead of the '05? Heck no.

It seems to me that cars with alot of heritage are the most ripe for a retro job... like Mini or Beetle, and possibly Mustang. Take the current Mustang (2004). It's catchy, has alot of design elements that tell you it's a Mustang, but was it ever all that special? I recall vividly when the first variant appeared in 1994. It was nice, but didn't seem to bring out the passion of the '05. This is subjective, of course, but I do think the original redesigns on legendary cars ('93 F cars come to mind) got stale quickly. The 350Z is not meeting expectations in sales, either.

I think one needs to step back and ignore whether something is retro or not, and take it for what it is. When you see the car, does it reach out to you? How many people buying Mini or New Beetle really lust for the original versions? Probably few. The new versions of the cars simply reach out to the market the way the original ones did. That's the key. If you step back and examine why the original Z car stirred the market, how it made people feel when they saw it and drove it, you begin realize why the new one is not as successful.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,723 Posts
Well, I think the line between "heritage" and "retro" is pretty fuzzy. BigAl says that the new Corvette doesn't look like any one year Corvette, but the T-Bird is "almost an exact replica of the 54 tbird."

Put a '55 - '57 Thunderbird beside today's counterpart. Do you really think it looks like a replica? It's obvious the cars are related, but the nod to Ford's more recent aero styling in the rounded front end and the radically different proportions make the new T-bird look more like a modern interpretation of a 50's T-bird than a replica.

If GM stopped making the Corvette in, say 1978, and reintroduced the C6 today, wouldn't it have the same kind of stylistic relationship to the C3 cars as the new T-bird has to its older counterpart?

The Ford GT, on the other hand, is a replica. While some of the measurements have changes, it looks damn near identical to the LeMans winning GT40s.

This is done fairly often in the guitar world. Classic Telecaster and Stratocasters are reissued. So, instead of trying to find that perfect mid-50s Tele, you can walk into a guitar store and buy a brand new reissue with all sound and feel of the oldies.

To me, this degree of influence from the past is more a continuum: there are reissues and then there are cars whose styling is influenced to some degree by a specific car or era (what we tend to call retro) and then there are cars whose styling is influenced by a number of cars (or other things). For example, Cadillac is influenced by a number of iconic models from it's past; Art and Science specifically picks up a number of cues from past cars like the '67 Eldorado and combines it with a geometrical knife-edge look that comes from stealth aircraft.

Very few cars are not, in some way, influenced by what came before. Am I to understand the anti-retro folks simply object to cars where the earlier styling influence is obvious (Mustang, Corvette, Mini, Porche 911, etc.?). It seems the assumption is that working with an obvious past influence means the designer hasn't done their job. I disagre - I think making something new out of iconic cues is probably harder than coming up with something from scratch.

Because of that, I do think some "retro" cars are more successful than others. The best ones recontextualize the old and blend in new influences. I think cars with an ongining styling history (the Corvette, the 911) have the chance to do it the best - to slowly evolve the look over time, adding new elements in small doses so the look retains a tie with the past while continuing to stay current.

But, if some of today's "retro" cars continue on to evolve the look they have (Mustang, PT Cruiser, Mini), whose to say in a decade or so that they too won't have an evolving and growing look that also works?
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
23,621 Posts
heritage... retro... old school... a design philosophy by any other name... same deal! at least as i see it. taking old styling cues and using them again. i don't see the distinction, except in the degree to which they use the old styling cues. the pt cruiser doesn't look exactly like any old chrysler. same with the T-bird. i see the lineage, but whether you call it retro or heritage, it's the same thing to me.

even something like the pontiac split grille can be considered retro/heritage. i think that it looks very modern on the current pontiacs, but they owe that basic design to decades old pontiacs. so pontiac has been very slick in their use of old pontiac styling cues, and updates it well with each vehicle iteration. some vehicles (like the new mustang) put more emphasis on the original interpretation.

i think the last mercury cougar is a fine example of a fresh model design that does little for the make. it looked new and exciting when it came out, and might very well have been a fine car, but when the buyer was ready for another vehicle (say sedan or minivan), would they be inclined to buy another mercury? perhaps if they were impressed with the reliability or quality of the car, but nothing on the cougar said "mercury". anyone who liked the styling would have been more inclined to buy, say, a mitsubishi (whos vehicles look more in-line with the cougar than anything else mercury built at the time, if you ask me). that's not to say that fresh new designs are welcomed, or a good idea... but they have to be sure to market it properly to keep buyers in the fold and not off looking for the next fresh face elsewhere.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
14,963 Posts
Originally posted by Tone@Feb 25 2004, 03:10 PM


Ok i gotta trim down your post... way to much filler there. Guitars?
This is about cars, not instruments.

Put a '55 - '57 Thunderbird beside today's counterpart. Do you really think it looks like a replica? It's obvious the cars are related, but the nod to Ford's more recent aero styling in the rounded front end and the radically different proportions make the new T-bird look more like a modern interpretation of a 50's T-bird than a replica
ahhhh your kidding right? The new tbird is almost an exact rendition, as is the Mustang, of its former self. The new tbird took exactly every cue from the first gen tbirds from tail lights, to grill, headlights, engine scoop, nearly everything, and it was given new, fresh lines. Same can be said with teh Mustang.

If GM stopped making the Corvette in, say 1978, and reintroduced the C6 today, wouldn't it have the same kind of stylistic relationship to the C3 cars as the new T-bird has to its older counterpart?
WHAT! No, the 1978 Vette looks nothing like the C6. Are there some cues such as the front fenders? Yes. But if teh Corvette returned after 27 year absence and looked like the C6, it would hit me like a ton of bricks. Only similarity would be the tails lights, and the front fenders and the name Corvette.

To say that the tbird is not retro, and is not a near exact replica of the first tbirds, you are out of your mind and to say taht the Corvette IS retro, you are still even further out of your mind.
Evolution yes, like the Vette has done along with many other cars like the Camaro, like the Firebird, like the Mustang DID. Thats evolution. To go back 30-50 years for a exact design replica is not "evolution" of a design.
Its easy for a desinger to go back and make a retro car based of the original design, but its hard for a designer to develop something that will take the world by storm like the original car did.

I will agree taht teh GT is a closer "replica" of the former GT40. Its in a market place where buyers have a love for Italian, not American. Weither or not the GT makes it in its class is still to be seen. Yes it outperforms the Ferrari and wahtever, but do you still want to own a 140k Ford? I think Ford should have moved itself along to position itself as a great auto maker before venturing off into some supercar frenzy.

Very few cars are not, in some way, influenced by what came before. Am I to understand the anti-retro folks simply object to cars where the earlier styling influence is obvious (Mustang, Corvette, Mini, Porche 911, etc.?). It seems the assumption is that working with an obvious past influence means the designer hasn't done their job. I disagre - I think making something new out of iconic cues is probably harder than coming up with something from scratch.
Say the Vette is retro one more time, and Ill light your country music award on fire. Am I anti-retro? Yes and no. No in the fact that I love old muscle cars from the 50's to the 70's. Id love to see a retro Camaro come out and I would buy one, which leads me to my Yes im agianst it. Retro does not seem to fair well, and in a pickey market like the sports coupe market, having a car that doesnt stirke gold wont do well. I cant see my beloved Camaro die 2 times in a matter of a decade. I like the SSR, I like(d) the PT, I like the Prowler, I like the Tbird. If there was an option on a good looking original design that would cary on the tradition of the Camaro, or a Retro first gen camaro with just modern drive train, Im going to go with teh Original design.

I have yet to see the "retro" in any of the new Caddies. As a matter of fact, I dont see any type of car that had any influence on the Caddy design. F117 maybe, but not a 67 Eldarado.

But, if some of today's "retro" cars continue on to evolve the look they have (Mustang, PT Cruiser, Mini), whose to say in a decade or so that they too won't have an evolving and growing look that also works?
Ok, so your saying that the Mustangs retro design will evolve too right? Oh jesus... I thought this one was bad... I cant wait for a 2017 Mustang II Retro design!! FUGLY x eleventy-billion. Finaly, a hybrid 120hp Mustang II.

I like the idea of evolving the design. Cars have been doing this till about the PT came in, rushing in this retro craze. Evolving, becoming better then the last model. The Mustangs fate will be seen in the upcoming few years. They just better hope no one offers another car like that on the market for the same price. A Hemi Charger for mid to high 20's is going to steal a LOT of thunder away from this amazing mustang :rolleyes:. I can only hope.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,723 Posts
First - I don't think the term "retro" is very meaningful. As I said in my last post, I think it's more accurate to think of past influences on design as a continuum from outright reissues (hence the reference to guitars); to designs heavily influenced by a particular model or style from the past; to designs which have a range of influences - past and present, automotive and non-automotive.

So, I'm not saying the new Corvette is retro. Try to breathe! :D

What I am saying is that a model, like the Corvette, that has had a continuing evolution has a similar relationship to its past as a model, like the Thunderbird, that uses many cues from its iconic years to develop a new look. You think that's insane - fair enough. But, to my eyes, both use the iconic cues from the past and recombine them, using modern proporations to create something that is new. Which I think is good, BTW.

This probably requires pictures -

Old T-bird:



Current T-bird:



1978 Corvette:



C6 Corvette:



Both designs are more influenced by their own history than other, outside influences - and rightly so. Yet, both do incorporate more modern proportions and other non-heritage cues that help create something new.

Regarding the reference to the '67 Eldorado in the Art and Science design - I remembered the reference when the Evoq concept debuted Art and Science. To quote what I believe are press materials from the time:

"One classic Cadillac design cue used on Evoq is the egg crate-grille, which first appeared in 1934 on Cadillac's V16 model and was incorporated into most of the Cadillac lineup by 1937. Vertical headlights and vertical taillights both appeared first on Cadillacs in 1965, and were prominent parts of the 1967 Eldorado - a landmark personal luxury car that combined sportiness and elegance. Working together, Cadillac and GM Design Center defined Cadillac visual brand character cues. Used consistently, these forms and details will evoke the main values of the Cadillac brand: global, innovative, beautiful, assured and responsible. Incorporated into Evoq, the cues will be part of future Cadillac designs."

See - http://caddyedge.com/Models/Concepts/Evoq/style.html for more information. If you recall, I used Art and Science as an example on the other extreme - a motif that incorporates heritage cues, but combines them with other influences (stealth aircraft, computing graphics) to create something very novel.
 
1 - 20 of 36 Posts
Top