1996 Pontiac 300 GPX show carA “circuitous” path to the stuff of dreams

Over the past couple of years I’ve met some epic individuals from the automotive landscape, including John Manoogian II. On February 17, 2014, I spoke with him for the better part of two hours.

Though we covered a lot of ground, we intentionally didn’t delve too deep into any one project. Instead, I asked if we could start with a discussion about his journey into an automotive-centered life and then see where the conversation went. This post is a summary of that conversation.

John Manoogian II: consultant, designer, professor and all-around neat guy. His resume speaks for itself. When I first asked for a rundown of his product involvements, he sent this list, prefaced as having “had the privilege of working on:”

               Director of Design/Cadillac Exterior
  • 2008-11 Cadillac CTS Sedan, Coupe, Wagon, Sedan V, Coupe V, Wagon V
  • 2009 Presidential Limousine (Obama)
  • 2006 Presidential Limousine (Bush)
  • 2006 Cadillac DTS
               Director of Design Premium/Mid Lux Vehicles Exteriors
  • 2006 Buick Lucerne
  • 2006 Chevrolet Impala
  • 2006 Pontiac Bonneville/Chevrolet Monte Carlo facelifts
  • 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix exterior/interior
               Chief Designer Pontiac Exterior
  • 1998 Pontiac Grand Am
  • 1997 Pontiac Grand Prix Coupe/Sedan/GTP
  • 1996 Pontiac 300 GPX show car
  • 1996 Pontiac Grand Am facelift
  • 1994 Pontiac Trans Sport facelift
  • 1992 Pontiac Grand Am
  • 1991 Pontiac ProtoSport show car
               Assistant Chief Designer Pontiac Exterior
  • 1992 Pontiac Grand Am
  • Miscellaneous Pontiac Sunfire design work
  • Various Pontiac Grand Prix/Grand Am projects
               Assistant Chief Designer Saturn Exterior
  • 1990 Saturn Coupe/Sedan
               Assistant Chief Designer Cadillac Exterior
  • 1987 Cadillac Allanté GM Design proposals
  • 1986 Cadillac Eldorado/Seville
  • 1985 Cadillac DeVille
  • 1982 Cadillac Cimarron
               Junior/Senior Designer Oldsmobile Exterior
  • 1979-80 Oldsmobile Cutlass details
  • 1978-79 Oldsmobile 88/98
  • 1977 Oldsmobile 88 Indy Pace Car
               Junior Designer Advanced Pontiac
  • 1978 Pontiac Grand Prix
               Ford Motor Design Center
  • Worked in the Advanced Design Studio, and Ford Production, Interior Studios
  • 1972 Ford Torino and full size Ford/Mercury clay sculptor

GM Design Hierarchy Chart

That list is not exhaustive and yet going even beyond those design-oriented projects, Manoogian was assigned other high-profile responsibilities. For example, he carried out the unenviable duty of proposing which vehicles to sell and which to keep from the more than 900 that were in the GM Heritage Center’s pre-bankruptcy collection.

There are certainly fascinating stories behind every one of those milestones…

…but there are also the stories behind the stories. We’re going to start there.

For convenience, I’ve added links to the various subsections, below.


Continue to page 2, below.

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