Confidential no more

Design Notes: 2008 Cadillac CTSIf you read my teaser the other day, you know the story. General Motors’ archivists, one in particular, came through with some never-before-seen pictures to be revealed to the public, here.

As I wrote previously, I was unable to manage an interview. Because of that, I didn’t get any historical information related to the project or even about the pictures.

However, they were going to burn a hole through my hard drive if I didn’t share them right away. As a result, this is a picture-heavy post with some commentary.

CTS round two
2008 Cadillac CTS (GMX322) clay 2003-07-17 front leftThe first generation Cadillac CTS was introduced as a 2003 model. It was a significant step for the brand in that it brought rear-wheel-drive back to the wreath and crest. It also helped to set the stage for a design theme that lasts to this day.

This image above right and the two following, are dated July 17, 2003. Meaning, the first generation was still fresh on the roads and Cadillac was already busy on their follow-up act. According to the dates on the pictures, this model is the earliest of those that I received.

2008 Cadillac CTS (GMX322) clay 2003-07-17 profile left

I don’t know about you, but I think that is one intensely attractive profile. All of the proportions are just right.

Notice the tail lights don’t include the famous fin-like kink that were a CTS hallmark. These look more like the taillights on the modern XTS. I think I actually like it better without the kink. It seems like the rear fender is allowed more length to finish its expression of strength.

2008 Cadillac CTS (GMX322) clay 2003-07-17 rear leftTo the left you can see that this first model is a half model. It is bisected lengthwise by a mirror (more apparent in the gallery).

The shape is provocative. The model’s rear is rather unique for a Cadillac but the C-pillar appears to harken back to some traditional Cadillac designs. In the larger pictures, notice on the front end how the grille is setback from the bumper toward the headlights. It’s a very substantial look, I think.

2008 Cadillac CTS (GMX322) clay 2003-09-17 front leftTwo months later, Cadillac had nearly finished work on what appears to be a full size clay model. This car carries over some old design elements, while introducing some that were new.

For example, borrowing from the first generation CTS, this model regained the taillights’ curious, kinked characteristic. Yet, trying something new for Cadillac, the fenders, both front and rear, are emphasized and quite flared.

Continue to page 2, below.

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