Guest Post: Chevrolet Celebrity Eurosport
Eurosport production costs (as I remember them)
Relative to base-model Celebrity, costs follow as they were told to me:
- stamped steel wheels: cost increase
- black grille: cost reduction
- gold bow tie: no added cost
- black trim on wheel opening moldings: cost reduction
- red lettering: no added cost
- state police option gas shock absorbers: cost increase
Total cost above the base model Celebrity: $1.56
The car was great-looking, sporty and sophisticated. It was complete and it looked special; a smart, sporty and timely value that challenged the imports, exactly what Chevrolet should do. It also had a style and personality that was unique in the American market, one that would influence competitors, both American and foreign. Ford and Chrysler had nothing like it.
The Eurosport Cavalier
Even though Chevrolet Studio #1, who was right next door to us, saw the entire development of the Eurosport, they did not understand it. They were in the process of designing a Cavalier facelift and later received direction from Chevrolet Marketing to do a Eurosport version. Leif brought the news over to us and we all had a good laugh about it.
Eurosport concept car
Chevrolet asked us to design a Eurosport concept car to be displayed at auto shows. We enhanced a Eurosport and, when shown, it was so successful that a special low volume model was created and sold in four colors, white, silver, black and red. When I returned from a European assignment in the summer of 1995 I found that my local Chevrolet dealer’s wife had been driving a red one for over ten years.
Lumina Eurosports, sedan and minivan
A Eurosport version of the Lumina sedan was created and sold, and the Lumina APV Minivan base trim was the sporty Eurosport. Both were designed in Chevrolet #2 Studio under my direction.
Chevrolet Two Studio
Overall, the creation of the Eurosport was a tremendous design and intellectual effort by all of the Chevrolet Two Studio personnel who were involved. Given that Chevrolet did not want it when first presented, they eventually became enthusiastic about it and spread it throughout the product line for a number of years.
My first Eurosport experience
In the early summer of 1985, I was given a Eurosport wagon to drive home for the evening. This was before the Eurosport was introduced as a sedan and coupe. After dinner my wife and I went up to the local ice cream parlor in Grosse Pointe. I parked the car and we went in for ice cream.
Coming out of the shop I was in a time warp, the evening light was warm and suddenly I saw the car on the street. It was stunning, silver with black lower two-tone, black moldings, red accents, no pieces left off, aluminum wheels… a show car, just as Ralph, Leif and I planned.
People having ice cream milled around and inspected the car with great approval. It looked like a natural and intelligent effort by Chevrolet. Of all of us standing there I was the only one who knew of the great effort and the unusual circumstances that had taken place to put the Eurosport into production. It was a huge step for Chevrolet and a very successful product for years.
Chevrolet #2 Studio had created a new and very profitable model for Chevrolet, a very unusual achievement, maybe a first in history for Chevrolet designers.
At the same time through our “Back To Basics” concept we provided an answer for GMs proliferation problem which was adopted by the Corporation. We gave our presentation to every divisional vice president and their staffs. A movie was made that clearly displayed the concept and it resulted in millions in savings for the Corporation.
The Eurosport program, as conceived and executed by Chevrolet #2 Studio, had proven that more valid cars could be configured for the market and at the same time tremendous savings could be realized for GM.
[Mr. Ruzzin’s professional experience includes over 140 car design projects as creative designer, studio head and Director of Design. Apart form GMC he’s worked for every GM brand, including Opel, Vauxhall, Holden, GM du Brazil, Toyota, Isuzu, Suzuki, SAAB, Lotus and BITTER. Since retirement, he has continued as a design educational consultant in China and Taiwan, as well as for GM Design.
I would like to again express my gratitude to Mr. Ruzzin for his participation on this site; he has already agreed to discuss some of these topics in greater detail, which I will cover in a follow-up post.
For those that missed his previous post, it is worth a read: Guest Post: 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta.]