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I would have let those dealers kick rocks if they couldn’t wait. What on earth made them simply slap a Cadillac badge on a CAVALIER out of all things? Who didn’t see that was self destructive behavior before it happened?

Then again, fast forward to the end of the 90’s who would have thought slapping a Cadillac badge on a Tahoe would have been a huge hit.
 

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I would have let those dealers kick rocks if they couldn’t wait. What on earth made them simply slap a Cadillac badge on a CAVALIER out of all things? Who didn’t see that was self destructive behavior before it happened?

Then again, fast forward to the end of the 90’s who would have thought slapping a Cadillac badge on a Tahoe would have been a huge hit.
That's not what happened. If that's what you want to believe, then have at it.
 

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the idea behind it was ok enough. had 2 uncles that only drive fleetwoods. both always traded for the new fleetwood when they came out. one went to look at the cimmaron for my aunt. he was excited for a small caddy for her. they were disappointed in person because nothing about it was a caddy to long time owners. good news is she kept driving her 70 or 71 dart a few more decades.
 

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the idea behind it was ok enough. had 2 uncles that only drive fleetwoods. both always traded for the new fleetwood when they came out. one went to look at the cimmaron for my aunt. he was excited for a small caddy for her. they were disappointed in person because nothing about it was a caddy to long time owners. good news is she kept driving her 70 or 71 dart a few more decades.
That Dart was a tank. Indestructible
 

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Very nice interview John. Lots of good information in there. I severely regret closing my website before we were able to do the interview on the Grand Prix et al. I agree with this interviewer that your drawings appear far ahead of their time and, I'd add, even prescient.

You make this heartfelt closing statement at 26:18:
There was so much talent, at GM Design, and I think that people lose site of that because of the production cars we were doing. But there was so much talent that could have done so much cool stuff that just never saw the light of day.
Those words are bittersweet to a GM fan that lived through these times and was on the outside looking in. Bitter because of its truth but sweet in that you confirmed what I, and I'm sure many others, recognized as true. Whether it be the nefarious "bean counters" or any other number of departments whose first priority wasn't to make awesomeness on wheels, I understood the designers were more than capable but restrained by a very short leash. (At the risk of sounding unstable, I even suspect chronic corporate sabotage to squelch said design talent, in order to level the playing field.)

Each of those sketches you provided in the video could be an interview on their own but there were a few comments I wanted to make.

Even though I don't mind the height of modern belt lines, I absolutely love your high-deck approach with the notched-down, low belt lines. Having mentioned prescient, I see hints of 1985 N-body in this first one, especially towards the rear; the wrap-around rear glass also reminds me of the first-gen Saturn SL (which I think you worked on?). To me, this would still be a very handsome sedan today. (Oh, and the '80s spec, cross-laced wheels are a personal favorite!)
Automotive parking light Tire Vehicle Wheel Automotive tire


Incredible! This looks so cool and again has features that would not be out of place on the road today. The proportions are great, and the details are very neat and ordered. The blending together of the side and rear glass looks very sophisticated and I love the thin, horizontal headlight and tail light treatment.
Automotive parking light Wheel Tire Vehicle Car


Smoother and smoother! I am sensing first/second-gen CTS towards the back of this red one (2+ decades away!). I really like the side paneling that most of these incorporate and the rear glass draping onto the deck is a subtle but elegant touch.
Automotive parking light Wheel Car Tire Vehicle


I'd like to know how long it took you to compose one of these. Hours? Days? Weeks? And would you ever 'edit' or retouch your work? Did they officially belong to you or GM? And, nothing specific but a general question, do you still hold any corporate information still considered 'secret' or, after this much time, can you speak unrestrained about anything you knew/know?

Thank you, sir, for your talented contributions to not just automotive history but, specifically, GM and Cadillac history. And it is nice to know that you were there long enough to see corporate/industry progress to the point your conceptual ideas would more closely be converted to real product and retain much their designer-intended beauty (my favorites being Grand Prix and CTS).
 

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That's not what happened. If that's what you want to believe, then have at it.
That was a vague reply. What exactly isn’t what happened? They didn’t scramble to give the dealer bodies that wanted a smaller Cadillac a small Caddy? That’s what I was referring to.

(They also slapped the Cadillac badge on the Tahoe (Denali) to answer to the huge hit the Lincoln Navigator was but that’s not what I was addressing initially.)

Again, what am I believing that is wrong?
 

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That was a vague reply. What exactly isn’t what happened? They didn’t scramble to give the dealer bodies that wanted a smaller Cadillac a small Caddy? That’s what I was referring to.

(They also slapped the Cadillac badge on the Tahoe (Denali) to answer to the huge hit the Lincoln Navigator was but that’s not what I was addressing initially.)

Again, what am I believing that is wrong?
The way I remember it, that is pretty much how it went but somebody wants to be in a superiority or know it all mode. So yeah, and whatever lol. ;)
 

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Wow - really cool video. Neat how they have the big rims with rubber band tires in the drawings - way ahead of their time. Though did they do that in all of the drawings back then?

Most of those drawings are really sharp! I wonder how they'd look with tires/rims of the era that would actually make production. I think with many of these renderings they'd have had a better shot at capturing the younger set that ended up going to the 3 Series. Even though the final years of the Cimmaron were greatly improved, they don't have youthful styling. These renderings blow the early '80s 3 Series out of the water!

Everything is cool except the below - not loving it. Somehow reminds me of the Prius.

Tire Wheel Automotive parking light Land vehicle Vehicle
 

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They didn’t scramble to give the dealer bodies that wanted a smaller Cadillac a small Caddy?

They also slapped the Cadillac badge on the Tahoe (Denali) to answer to the huge hit the Lincoln Navigator

Again, what am I believing that is wrong?
You are correct about both, RedSkyBlackDream.
 

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Everything is cool except the below - not loving it. Somehow reminds me of the Prius.
Some elements of that design I see in Saturn, others I see influencing the other GM brands. Other than his idea for the Cimarron, my favorite design was toward the end, which looks like a late 1990's 2nd Gen STS, so that was ahead of its time.
 

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Some elements of that design I see in Saturn, others I see influencing the other GM brands. Other than his idea for the Cimarron, my favorite design was toward the end, which looks like a late 1990's 2nd Gen STS, so that was ahead of its time.
I see Saturn/Oldsmobile too. Though something about the overall shape says Prius to me. I do see the STS too! Amazing how far ahead of the time the designers are Really fascinating on how advanced GM's styling and tech was, behind the scenes (the tech in the Cadillac Voyage was 30 years ahead of time). I'd love to have been a fly on the wall for the infighting (that I assume was going on) regarding going with traditional styling vs. this trendsetting style. Obviously the traditional styling faction won out.
 

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Very nice interview John. Lots of good information in there. I severely regret closing my website before we were able to do the interview on the Grand Prix et al. I agree with this interviewer that your drawings appear far ahead of their time and, I'd add, even prescient.

You make this heartfelt closing statement at 26:18:


Those words are bittersweet to a GM fan that lived through these times and was on the outside looking in. Bitter because of its truth but sweet in that you confirmed what I, and I'm sure many others, recognized as true. Whether it be the nefarious "bean counters" or any other number of departments whose first priority wasn't to make awesomeness on wheels, I understood the designers were more than capable but restrained by a very short leash. (At the risk of sounding unstable, I even suspect chronic corporate sabotage to squelch said design talent, in order to level the playing field.)

Each of those sketches you provided in the video could be an interview on their own but there were a few comments I wanted to make.

Even though I don't mind the height of modern belt lines, I absolutely love your high-deck approach with the notched-down, low belt lines. Having mentioned prescient, I see hints of 1985 N-body in this first one, especially towards the rear; the wrap-around rear glass also reminds me of the first-gen Saturn SL (which I think you worked on?). To me, this would still be a very handsome sedan today. (Oh, and the '80s spec, cross-laced wheels are a personal favorite!)
View attachment 66969

Incredible! This looks so cool and again has features that would not be out of place on the road today. The proportions are great, and the details are very neat and ordered. The blending together of the side and rear glass looks very sophisticated and I love the thin, horizontal headlight and tail light treatment.
View attachment 66971

Smoother and smoother! I am sensing first/second-gen CTS towards the back of this red one (2+ decades away!). I really like the side paneling that most of these incorporate and the rear glass draping onto the deck is a subtle but elegant touch.
View attachment 66972

I'd like to know how long it took you to compose one of these. Hours? Days? Weeks? And would you ever 'edit' or retouch your work? Did they officially belong to you or GM? And, nothing specific but a general question, do you still hold any corporate information still considered 'secret' or, after this much time, can you speak unrestrained about anything you knew/know?

Thank you, sir, for your talented contributions to not just automotive history but, specifically, GM and Cadillac history. And it is nice to know that you were there long enough to see corporate/industry progress to the point your conceptual ideas would more closely be converted to real product and retain much their designer-intended beauty (my favorites being Grand Prix and CTS).
I loved those cross laced wheels too, had to have them on my '94 Grand Prix GTP.

I thought we had the high beltlines today because of government crash protection requirements - the designer made it sound like it is simply fashion trend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Very nice interview John. Lots of good information in there. I severely regret closing my website before we were able to do the interview on the Grand Prix et al. I agree with this interviewer that your drawings appear far ahead of their time and, I'd add, even prescient.

You make this heartfelt closing statement at 26:18:


Those words are bittersweet to a GM fan that lived through these times and was on the outside looking in. Bitter because of its truth but sweet in that you confirmed what I, and I'm sure many others, recognized as true. Whether it be the nefarious "bean counters" or any other number of departments whose first priority wasn't to make awesomeness on wheels, I understood the designers were more than capable but restrained by a very short leash. (At the risk of sounding unstable, I even suspect chronic corporate sabotage to squelch said design talent, in order to level the playing field.)

Each of those sketches you provided in the video could be an interview on their own but there were a few comments I wanted to make.

Even though I don't mind the height of modern belt lines, I absolutely love your high-deck approach with the notched-down, low belt lines. Having mentioned prescient, I see hints of 1985 N-body in this first one, especially towards the rear; the wrap-around rear glass also reminds me of the first-gen Saturn SL (which I think you worked on?). To me, this would still be a very handsome sedan today. (Oh, and the '80s spec, cross-laced wheels are a personal favorite!)
View attachment 66969

Incredible! This looks so cool and again has features that would not be out of place on the road today. The proportions are great, and the details are very neat and ordered. The blending together of the side and rear glass looks very sophisticated and I love the thin, horizontal headlight and tail light treatment.
View attachment 66971

Smoother and smoother! I am sensing first/second-gen CTS towards the back of this red one (2+ decades away!). I really like the side paneling that most of these incorporate and the rear glass draping onto the deck is a subtle but elegant touch.
View attachment 66972

I'd like to know how long it took you to compose one of these. Hours? Days? Weeks? And would you ever 'edit' or retouch your work? Did they officially belong to you or GM? And, nothing specific but a general question, do you still hold any corporate information still considered 'secret' or, after this much time, can you speak unrestrained about anything you knew/know?

Thank you, sir, for your talented contributions to not just automotive history but, specifically, GM and Cadillac history. And it is nice to know that you were there long enough to see corporate/industry progress to the point your conceptual ideas would more closely be converted to real product and retain much their designer-intended beauty (my favorites being Grand Prix and CTS).
WOW, thank you so much for the kind words. After all these years I never thought anyone had any interest in the work from that dark era at Cadillac. Adam and I did two more, one on the downsized '86 Eldo/Seville and the 2 place Cadillac (Allante) project. He'll probably release those very soon.

Regarding the actual drawings, there is a backstory. Every 6 months or so, in order to make room for all the 'new' drawings, we had to 'purge' the files and throw away all the old drawings. It would break my heart watching all that great artwork go into the dumpster. GM history as it were. And of course we designers would be fired if we attempted to take any of our work home. So how did I manage to save my sketches, you ask? Every time there was a file purge, I would go to my bosses and ask for a package pass to take my work home since they were going to throw it away anyway. My case was 'this is a pert of GM Design History'. I was smart enough to know I could never show them to anyone, but I wanted to save them anyway. So, I always got approved for a pass to remove my drawings. Glad I did as it's what I spent my career doing.

The question regarding specifics, generally those quick side view sketches were chalk, marker, pastels on vellum paper. Each one would take an hour or so. I used to crank multitudes of them out. The full size tape drawings would take a day or so, and the airbrushed full size work took several days or up to a week, so those were reserved for the 'serious' attempts.

There have been a number of comments on YouTube regarding the Saturn similarities. Ironically, when Saturn Corporation was formed, a Saturn Design Studio was assembled at GM Design. I got transferred to Saturn from Cadillac in late '84-'85. So my ideas took on additional life as Saturns since they weren't used in Cadillac. My Saturn stay was 2 yrs and then the next stop was Pontiac.

Of course I still have some connections with my pals at GM. But they're tight lipped. ;)
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
I loved those cross laced wheels too, had to have them on my '94 Grand Prix GTP.

I thought we had the high beltlines today because of government crash protection requirements - the designer made it sound like it is simply fashion trend.
Not solely Govt regulations. High brltlines are the current trend. They could be lower if they wanted.
 
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