1991 Chevrolet Caprice Classic interior

Autos of Interest: Despite its amazing metamorphosis, there was no show car to herald the 1991 Caprice. Is there a reason for that or, maybe better put, are there criteria that warrant a show car?

Ruzzin: Well, there are no set criteria. Although, if Mercedes does a coupe show car, you can bet that the next year, Audi and BMW will have coupe show cars. In some cases, it shows where a company is going. In other cases it’s just done as an exercise to learn how to do something and, maybe, advance the design or engineering culture.

But there are no set criteria or reasons for doing them. It’s done based on the times and reasons that are at hand because it is expensive; it’s costly and uses man power. Sometimes what’s needed just isn’t available.

Autos of Interest: For the actual design work, were you given a dollar amount, man hours or other budgetary metric to work within?

Ruzzin: No. Sometimes when you got to the end of a program you did but our costs were so small compared to the big picture it was almost meaningless.

Autos of Interest: Speaking of manpower, you’ve told me that the full-size renderings shown in some of the pictures are mounted on large panels that can be raised and lowered, right?

Ruzzin: Yes, they’re stored up in the wall. The big full size drawing of the Caprice was on a vertical board that had counter weights and you could lift it right up, totally, into the wall. There were two more behind it. And then there was another wall. We would use those boards and walls for all kinds of displays, to work on engineering drawings and all kinds of things like that.

Autos of Interest: Did you do the work right on the boards?

Ruzzin: Yes. You could raise it up to work on it. If you’re working on the wheels, you could raise the board up and then lower it. You’re using the moving board as a tool to do your work.

Autos of Interest: What ended up happening to those drawings, once you were all done with them?

Ruzzin: They’d get taken down and were rolled up, and then… who knows.

Autos of Interest: Yikes! To someone like me, it’s unthinkable that those might not have been saved or preserved somewhere. They’re practically like the originals of our country’s Founding documents!

We both laughed… but I was dead serious.

Additional discussions: off-Caprice-topic (mostly)

So long as I had him in interview mode, I shot out some more questions that only someone with his experience in the industry could answer.

Some are questions that have lingered in my heard for many years.

Autos of Interest: Hearing terms like “Chevrolet Studio” or “Studio 2,” it’s rather unclear what the references are. Was there a “Studio 1” and “Studio 2,” and were they distinct entities?

Ruzzin: There were actually three Chevrolet studios, plus a truck studio. Chevrolet had a huge volume of product, they still do. Chevrolet 1, which was next door to us, did the Caprice, Cavalier—I think they did that because we were doing the Caprice—Monte Carlo and there was another car they did in there.

We, in Chevrolet 2, did the Japanese cars that GM had signed up to meet the fuel economy standards, and the Celebrity, Lumina sedan and APV, and Caprice. We also did a Chevette replacement; a big program that was cancelled after it was released. We were doing a lot of stuff.

Chevrolet 3 did the Camaro, Corvette and Beretta. Remember the little Beretta? They did that in there. So, there were three of our studios and there was the truck studio.

Continued on page 14.

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