PurdueGuy

Couple ideas for Chevy

26 posts in this topic

So, I'm somewhat a fan of what Chevy has done with the HHR - tasteful retro in a useful package. I think they should build on that...

First, the idea of a "Heritage" line of cars. The HHR can be billed as the first one (and works well since it stands for "Heritage High Roof." Then try one more. If that's a hit, try another. Essentially having some semi-specialty products in the line of Scion, but without the need for an actual new brand (just a "series"), and with actual product heritage to draw from and inspire people. Granted, some do not love retro design - that's why these are nitch products (they might command a better profit margin that way anyway...).

First idea for the next "Heritage" product, tentatively named the H5S "Heritage (19)50's sedan." This is a car that shares platform & drivetrain with the next gen Cobalt, but features unique sheetmetal and interior. Drawing from 1950's sedans, but with a simplified, smooth modern look.

The front might feature a modern twist on 50's hood ornaments, rounded headlights, and other classic front features, without going overboard on chrome (which would drive up expenses anyway, and could be offered aftermarket for some extra revenue). The windshield could be more upright than many modern cars, but not as much as the classics - finding a happy medium that offers reasonable if not good aerodynamics while giving a classic look.

The rear could hint at tail fins, without going too overboard with them. A simple rounded trunk would give lots of trunk space, be simple & cheap to manufacture, and look great between the semi-finned tails.

Perhaps further success of the "Heritage" line might justify:

+Coupe version of above (H5C *Coupe*)?

+Convertible version of above (H5V *conVertible)?

+Wagon version of above (H5N *Nomad*)?

+Kappa-based convertible inspired by the original Corvettes?

+Replacement for Colorado?

(I'm not totally thrilled with any of the above names, but just figured they'd be something to work with)

Might also be interesting to play with using famous names from GM's past, but my fear with using specific names is that people will complain about "things not done right" to match/pay homage to specific vehicles. A general collaboration of multiple vehicles with a modern twist, and a name that doesn't draw a direct comparison might be more wise.

There are a lot of possibilities, and I think drawing on GM's rich heritage might be a good bet, especially if they do it in consistently classy ways.

Thoughts? Wish list/day dream items to add or change?

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There are some good ideas in that. Doing a small car like the HHR / Cobalt like a 1957 Chevy might appeal to a very large crowd. It is also something that no one else has done.

Imagine all of the baby boomers that would jump on it.

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"Fall in love with a new Chevy, instead of reminiscing about an old one."
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Bring back the 1969 Pontiac Custom-S! :smilewide:

I thought that Brand was TICK-TOCKING

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I thought that Brand was TICK-TOCKING

Which calls into question the motivation behind his current avatar. :scratchchin:

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Didn't Ford attempt to do this Heritage umbrella with the Mustang, Thunderbird, and the proposed them cancelled Forty-Nine? I thought that was a good idea. While I have no qualms about Chevrolet doing a heritage thing, I think it is time to move on from the heritage designs and into something that will be heritage in the future.

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I thought about this, as well as a G-Body 1959 Oldsmobile-inspired hardtop sedan, but it really isn't practical I think...

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Several years ago WAW had Larry Shinoda do sketches of a Cavalier (I think) with '55 Chevy styling. If I can find it, I will post pics.

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OK, maybe more than a couple years (the mailing tube is postmarked June '97).

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I do agree that the majority of the styling for the Chevy line should be moving forward with modern design. I just think there might be room for one or two more small vehicles that play on GM's strong past - something the imports can't do much of with any resonance with the buying public.

As far as Ford's venturing into retro, the mustang has done well. The Thunderbird didn't do well, not because of the styling (most I've heard loved the styling), but because it was heavy, impractical, and freaking expensive. By playing with it in cheaper vehicles, buyers have fewer expectations - a $30k+ vehicle automatically comes with a huge laundry list of expectations.

I see this happening with the main Chevy vehicles being purely modern design (no retro), and with just 2-3 vehicles with retro cues aimed squarely at Scion & the like. The buyers are looking for something cheap, but also something novel.

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I'd rather see a non-heritage version of the HHR. Imagine a small, modern SUV influenced by both the Volt and Tahoe.

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Buick really hasn't changed though when you think about it. I'd love to see a retro throwback to the 1959 Buick though.

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Retro is just about dead.

seems like I remember people saying that when the PT cruiser came out... and when the HHR came out...

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Hey Perdue guy, don't get me wrong, I love the HHR.
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As for the Colorado replacement, there were some great looking retro-styled Chevy pickups being considered for the SSR before the '47-'52 models were selected. I think with keeping in this theme, a small, retro styled regular cab pickup, a'la Dodge M80, would be a great addition. Think of all the potential buyers who want a pickup for small errands and light hauling duty and will use it as a 2nd vehicle. Perfect vehicle for such a market. I think the HHR, a pickup, and a small sedan would be the perfect Scion-competition from Chevy. For good measures, add a small coupe if needed, but the three I mentioned already would be a good start.

Not to detract from your point, but wouldn't these three "Chevy concepts", while not retro-themed, do the trick too?

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My only suggestion would be to keep the Groove (black) as the HHR replacement, keep the Beat (green) for the coupe offering, but get rid of the Trax (orange) and replace it with a small 2-seater pickup-ish vehicle on the same platform for something that none of the competition offers. They would be good to fight against Scion, be sold in an already exisiting and large dealer network, and give the General some small car offerings that look modern and American-inspired.

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As for the Colorado replacement, there were some great looking retro-styled Chevy pickups being considered for the SSR before the '47-'52 models were selected. I think with keeping in this theme, a small, retro styled regular cab pickup, a'la Dodge M80, would be a great addition. Think of all the potential buyers who want a pickup for small errands and light hauling duty and will use it as a 2nd vehicle. Perfect vehicle for such a market. I think the HHR, a pickup, and a small sedan would be the perfect Scion-competition from Chevy. For good measures, add a small coupe if needed, but the three I mentioned already would be a good start.

Not to detract from your point, but wouldn't these three "Chevy concepts", while not retro-themed, do the trick too?

My only suggestion would be to keep the Groove (black) as the HHR replacement, keep the Beat (green) for the coupe offering, but get rid of the Trax (orange) and replace it with a small 2-seater pickup-ish vehicle on the same platform for something that none of the competition offers. They would be good to fight against Scion, be sold in an already exisiting and large dealer network, and give the General some small car offerings that look modern and American-inspired.

I wouldn't mind seeing Chevy go this direction either - get a hip & trendy lineup going on with their small car lineup. As long as they don't water down the products from hip & trendy to cheap & tacky. The other plus that retro has is that it may appeal more to the older consumers (who are actually a large portion of consumers for the Scion segment it seems) more than hip & trendy. Really, retro done tastefully would *be* hip & trendy, not just a ripoff of an old vehicle.

I guess I mostly just want to see Chevy put some REAL THOUGHT into their small cars, and not just throw something out there & say "it's cheap, so enough people will buy it... good enough."

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As far as Ford's venturing into retro, the mustang has done well. The Thunderbird didn't do well, not because of the styling (most I've heard loved the styling), but because it was heavy, impractical, and freaking expensive. By playing with it in cheaper vehicles, buyers have fewer expectations - a $30k+ vehicle automatically comes with a huge laundry list of expectations.

I think the Ford 49 concept would have done great on a LWB version of DEW98

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Buick really hasn't changed though when you think about it. I'd love to see a retro throwback to the 1959 Buick though.

Maybe something like the Holden Efijy

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Or Buick Blackhawk.

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As for the Colorado replacement, there were some great looking retro-styled Chevy pickups being considered for the SSR before the '47-'52 models were selected. I think with keeping in this theme, a small, retro styled regular cab pickup, a'la Dodge M80

I have always like this idea and this particular concept.

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OMG, something just struck me as I looked at those cool M80 pics. We know the front end of the Nitro was inspired by the M80 (and I wish the Nitro had the exact same front clip as the M80, it's much better looking, imo, with the round lights), wouldn't it be cool if the M80 actually sees production as a Nitro pickup, with an MCE front end just like the concept?

I also love the Ford Forty-Nine, sigh.

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I think the Ford 49 concept would have done great on a LWB version of DEW98

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Maybe something like the Holden Efijy

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Or Buick Blackhawk.

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I have always like this idea and this particular concept.

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:drool: over the Forty-Nine.

:drool: over the Efijy

:drool: over the M80

I've never seen the Blackhawk before? Can someone tell me about it?

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Just develop a midsize RWD drivetrain and put a new retro/hot Rod body on it. Lets say start with a 57 chevy body shell. Offer 50,000 copys a year for two years then put a new shell on it. Make it a contest/vote on which classic GM body you should put together next, again offer only 100,000 over two years. Dont change the basic stucture of this vehicle because most classic cars are 2 door coupe/sedan/pickups. This concept could probably last 20 years (10 good classic reproductions). The japanese would not have an answer to this because they haven't got the past to play on.

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I've never seen the Blackhawk before? Can someone tell me about it?

Camino can tell ya about it. ;) In short, its a working concept designed and built outside GM (but sanctioned by Buick's special vehicle manager) using lots of original and historic Buick parts.

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Press Release

Unlike the futuristic concept cars released every January at the Detroit and Los Angeles auto shows, the voluptuous Buick Blackhawk show car was designed to look back at Buick's rich heritage of style and power. The Blackhawk concept was the brainchild of Michael Doble, Buick's special vehicles manager. After attending several custom/hot rod events such as Detroit's Woodward Dream Cruise, Doble felt that Buick needed to build a special show car that would be "the ultimate expression of Buick." He wanted a vehicle that would remind these influential car enthusiasts of Buick's heritage and know that they would have a great appreciation for such a car. And after 15 years at Buick's styling department, who better to head up this project than Doble?

Design Elements

To bring the Blackhawk concept to life, Doble requested design concepts from five companies, ultimately accepting the retro design submitted by Steven Pasteiner, a former Buick designer who owns Advanced Automobile Technologies (AAT) in Rochester Hills, Michigan. Pasteiner was well aware of what Doble had in mind, having spent more than 20 years as Buick's assistant chief designer. During his tenure at Buick, Pasteiner had worked on the GS and GSX Skylarks, Regals and Buick's last musclecar, the GNX. After leaving Buick, Pasteiner's new company did design work on Buick concept cars such as Questor, Sceptre, Park Avenue Essence, Signia and XP2000. It doesn't take much conversation to figure out that Pasteiner is a dyed-in-the-wool hot rodder with Buick blood in his veins, and the rare talent to turn concepts into sheetmetal.

Pasteiner's design (later named Blackhawk by his son) combines late '30s/early '40s Buick styling into a 2-plus-2 convertible with a retractable top. Both Doble and Pasteiner knew that a show car for the hot rod group had to be a running, functional car to have the desired impact. No trailer queen or poser would do. So AAT built a strong rectangular-tube perimeter chassis that accepted Corvette C4 front and rear independent suspension. In order to meet tight budget and time constraints, many parts from '39 and '41 Buicks were heavily massaged by AAT to form the outer skin.

The focal point of the Blackhawk is the front end with a distinctive '39 Buick grille surrounded by '39 fenders that have been widened by 4 1/2-inches. Working to the rear, highly modified '41 door skins tastefully flow into modified '41 Buick rear fenders. Old meets new when modern concealed headlamps, door hinges, aerodynamic mirrors and a split J-car convertible windshield are contrasted with '39 turn signals, '39 front badge, '41 tail lamps and a center-trunk-mounted '39 Buick stoplight with integrated turn signals (an industry first for Buick).

The real test of any convertible design is whether it look as good with the top up as it does down. Some will argue that the Blackhawk looks even better with the retractable carbon-fiber top up. Either way, watching the automatic retractable top cycle up and down is worth the price of admission. With the top fully concealed in the trunk area (there's still a little room available for storage), the French Vanilla leather interior borrowed from a '96 Rivera is allowed to contrast nicely with the Black Cherry paint. Though heavily modified to fit the earlier body style, the Riviera seats, center console and the instrument panel look right at home. The retractable-top controls are located inside the center console and the seats position you down inside the car away from any wind buffeting.

Stage III Power

With Buick's legacy of potent engines, the powertrain could have gone a number of directions; Buick Grand National turbo V-6s can be easily tweaked to twist out 950-hp, but wouldn't properly fill the large engine compartment. A turbo V-6 also lacks the V-8 rumble (which Pasteiner describes as the Harley effect). By contrast, the chosen '70 Buick GS Stage III 455 cid V-8 barks out whenever the throttle is stabbed. Producing a healthy 463-hp @ 4,600 rpm and 510 lb.-ft. @ 4,200 rpm, the Blackhawk has already run a 13.9 ET at a Buick Club of America event, and 0-60 mph in under five seconds, traction permitting. The legendary Buick Stage I big-block has been upgraded with T/A Performance aluminum heads and intake manifold modified to accept a Holley multi-point EFI system. A late-model 480LE 4-speed automatic transmission is electronically controlled by a GM Delphi microprocessor. Other modern touches include retrofitting a serpentine-belt drive setup. A '67 GS air cleaner was the finishing touch.

Stopping and steering were just as important as tire-smoking acceleration. Baer Racing Alcon brakes were fitted at all four corners. Fikse 5-spoke 18-inch wheels with P295/35R18 front and P295/45R18 rear tires provide the grip. Pasteiner takes pride in the weight distribution that spreads the 3,600 pounds out exactly: 50/50 front-to-rear, and 50/50 side-to-side.

Show & Tell

We were invited to test drive the Blackhawk. It was brought to a nearby location in Westlake Village, California and unloaded out of its custom-painted transporter. Although it is roadworthy enough to be driven across the country from event to event, the transporter keeps the car's paint in top condition. Pastiener jumped behind the wheel to move it around for a few brief photos. The look on his face said it all. He kept jabbing the throttle for all to hear the high-compression big-block rap through the Flowmaster mufflers and 3-inch-diameter exhaust pipes. The sound was pure American V-8 muscle.

Finally it was my turn! I slid behind the wheel along with autoMedia.com's Tom Morr on board. Doble and Pasiener jumped in a chase car after emphatically telling us not to be afraid to stand on the throttle. Even though we were cruising through a So Cal upscale residential area, I decided to take them up on their offer. At the first stoplight I buried my foot to the floor and the Blackhawk leaped forward amongst a cloud of burning rubber. Not so much as a single steering correction was needed. The tires finally grabbed for traction as our speed increased only to freewheel again as the 480LE grabbed the next gear. Wow! What a rush.

Deciding to be a little more responsible, we sanely drove on some winding roads to check out the handling, steering and braking response. The best way to describe the Blackhawk's road manners is that it cornered and stopped like a much smaller vehicle. Its 129-inch wheelbase was evident with a large turning radius, but otherwise the Blackhawk felt nimble and modern. All too soon our top-down cruise on a sunny California day was over.

Though not slated for production, the Blackhawk will serve to remind car enthusiasts what made Buicks great over the years. Its popularity should also send a message to GM executives that future Buicks need to embrace some of the style and performance that defined Buicks early on. As Buick approaches its centennial in 2003, this strong heritage will be more important than ever before.

And, yes, it runs...

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Thats pretty cool. I like the Riviera interior.

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