1991 Chevrolet Caprice Classic cutaway

Autos of Interest: At any point, was a new platform considered?

Ruzzin: No. We did the car over the 14 year old Caprice platform, the B platform. Chevrolet could not afford a new platform and when the management saw the clay model for the first time they almost fainted in unison. They never expected such a dramatic car to emerge from the old engineering criteria.

Autos of Interest: Were you given directives, or wide latitude to take Caprice where you wanted to?

Ruzzin: We were assigned the project and started to work on it, like any other. The designers made sketches and Ben hit the mark very quickly with this design. A successful theme would have to be a simple, clear, long lasting shape that was elegant and very good looking. Our Design management watched us and participated in the design choices but it was the only solution that we in the studio wanted to do full-size, Ben’s design.

I have to say here that our boss Dave Holls, the Executive Design Director who was responsible for all of the production design studios, was the interface with Design and Corporate management and he did a marvelous job. He protected us from interference and was always encouraging. We had all the freedom that we needed and more.

1991 Chevrolet Caprice Classic

Autos of Interest: What was the target clientele for the new Caprice?

Ruzzin: Caprice customers. They had to see it as their car, it had to have some touches that identified it as the new Caprice. We could not make it smaller due to the carry-over platform but we did everything possible to make it “look” smaller. Interior space was huge.

1991 Chevrolet Caprice Police Package

Autos of Interest: Did other GM divisions (or law enforcement) have input relative to their needs?

Ruzzin: The car originally was going to be a Chevrolet only at 300,000 cars a year. When Oldsmobile, Buick and Cadillac saw it they lobbied to get it also which resulted in a lot more production, some of it hard to sell.

There was no law enforcement involvement but I do know that when the car went out of production, Chevrolet had 90,000 police car orders in hand for the future; they wanted to continue building them in Mexico and the UAW stopped it. They did make great looking police cars, aggressive and dynamic.

Continued on page 4.

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