Not sure how many of you were brave/bored enough to sit through last night’s Top Gear USA episode, but the basic premise of the show was that each host picked a car from GM’s past that’s now out of production in an attempt to prove that GM should bring back that model to help save the company.Choices were the Pontiac Fiero, Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme, and Buick Roadmaster Wagon.
The roadmaster emerged as the winner and so they had someone render up their proposed 2011 version… now I know it’s Top Gear USA, so I can’t be too harsh, and my expectations weren’t high to begin with, but REALLY?, the solution to save GM is more fake wood vinyl siding, and hyper aggressive styling on a car predominantly driven by middle aged women?
Anyways, I thought the premise of looking to a past model to reinvigorate GM could be an interesting 1HDC. Not in a superficial, skeuomorphic (did I use it correctly ) way, but trying to dig a little deeper and pull out some higher level themes about what made past cars successful or not in their times, and what we can learn from them.
The Fiero for instance was the first mass produced American mid-engine car, and it was born out of a reaction to the oil crisis. GM thought there would be a growing market for more fuel sipping sports cars. In theory the mid-engine layout would lend to a more aerodynamic form, reducing drag and increasing fuel efficiency; as well as improving handling and traction. It featured some innovative features for its time like plastic body panels, and speakers in the headrests. Despite selling relatively well it was ultimately taken out of production after 5 years as it was plagued with mechanical and safety recalls.
Anyone else think this could be a good 1HDC? Seeing as the last car sketch 1HDC went over really well, I thought it could be a good evolution from just creating a Hot Car Sketch. Wouldn’t necessarily have to be a GM car, but I think it might be cool to agree on one past model that everyone uses as inspiration.That way everyone can dissect what made it work/not work in the 1HDC discussion thread then take all that info and bust out some " more informed hot sketches".
looks like a Opel estate car, not a bad thing and vastly better than a Explorer or Esclade. TG after all is a entertainment/comedy show and a poor imitation of its UK parent at that, so a lot of tongue in cheek is part of the equation. The fiero was a nice concept poorly executed in typical GM fasion. The Roadmaster was the last of its type a pretty highly evolved product for the task. The consumers were sold a bill of goods where they bought a taller, heavier, worse handling , more expensive, and thirstier evolution of Roadmaster called the SUV. Americans deserves the cars they get, just as in government, buy what sounds good. looks OK, promises much and delivers little…its the American way!
Horrible… I was expecting it to look like some retro monstrosity, instead it is just a monstrosity with no connection to the brand. At least could have looked more like the old Dodge Magnum run through the Buick filter (it’s in photoshop, filter > stylize > Buick)
This is just wrong on som many levels. They must have been ironic or ar they real rednecks?
This sounds like Top Gear GB proposing to bring either the Allegro or Princess back to save
Rover. Can’t be serious.
It’s hard to tell only being a couple of episodes into the season, but I feel like quality irony and sarcasm will not be a part of this show. In all honesty I feel like they were more than half serious with their proposal.
I remember reading an article where some scientists had American, British and Japanese viewers watch the British version of the Office and they observed how long they could stand the “awkward silences” before becoming noticeably uncomfortable, and the Americans’ times were significantly lower than their British and Japanese counterparts.
I don’t recall if they tried to offer any explanations for this but my pseudo-social scientist take on it, is that Americans, relative to many other cultures, have lived very cushy, privileged, comfy lives, and we resent things that take us out of our comfort zone, more than maybe we should. That’s why dull laugh track comedies pull in the most viewers, and a 2011 car with vinyl wood siding doesn’t incite a riot amongst the general population.
I think American intelligence rivals that of any culture, I think we’ve been the “top dog” for so long that we’ve grown lazy and complacent in a lot of ways.
Now back to my original idea, any takers on turning this into a 1HDC?
1HCD for this - Most definitely! In one hour I am sure the talented people here can come up with better ideas. Then we need to get them in front of the television show to see if they will show the results.
I really don’t want to have my ant affect the topic at hand. I will set up a separate forum post at Off Topic for the sidebar.
That’s exactly my point, if we did a 1HDC that’s the exact opposite of Top Gear’s take on “looking to the past”
Lets pick an out of production car model that failed for what ever reason; dissect what made it work/not work for its time and reimagine it, based on today’s circumstances, what that car would look like using those insights gained through a healthy discussion.
IE: 1984 Pontiac Fiero—> Oil Crisis -->increased interest in fuel efficiency w/o compromising style and excitement—> moving towards new (to Americans) engine layout for numerous reasons —> trying to capture Ferrari style on Detroit money —> Innovative features to reduce weight, and improve the driving experience…
2012 Pontiac Fiero—> Growing concern on dependence on fossil fuels —> most affordable “eco car” options look like toys —> How do we capture Fisker Karma style on a Detroit budget —> What recent technological advancements can we incorporate to increase performance and the consumer experience?
Doesn’t necessarily have to be a GM car, could be some obscure concept car that never made it to production.
I guess the point is to still have everyone flex their design muscles, and create a compelling visual, but have that provocative form be based on some meaningful discussion.
We see a lot of great stuff in the Sketching threads, and a lot of great in depth community discussion in the other forums, but not a whole lot of both at the same time. Could be a great chance to combine the two?
I was thinking about this thread this afternoon. What were the guys at Chrysler thinking when they made the decision to go “retro” with the look of the PT Cruiser? That was the start of all this retro-ism, wasn’t it? And why did they choose the “thirties” as an era to emulate?
Why not push the envelop with the concept that we have to change the way we live. What if we had to simplify our way of living? Write a script, Hollywood does it all the time; no oil left, or less oil available for plastics. Simpler times. Less stuff. Simpler stuff… .
Manufacturing technology would not digress, just what we do with it. And it had better not look like this monstrosity. How could it benefit from “modern” materials and engineering? If the guys at Chrysler were swayed by the cars of the 1930s, what swayed the designers of the prototype?
It’s okay, I don’t need change. I found a nickel under the sofa cushion…
I think that current technology is not fully compatible with retro design. I think the real way that there could be an influence is something like the BMW Gina. Take an old process but reinterpret it with modern process, materials and design techniques.
something like the BMW Gina. Take an old process but reinterpret it with modern process, materials and design techniques.
I agree Ray. I like everything about the Gina … not necessarily it’s specific form, but how it’s form is driven, limited, and enabled by the material. By “enabled” I am referring to the “hidden” doors and engine cover; features impossible to do with hard materials.
Reminds me of other avant garde machines ( of their day ).