1991 Chevrolet Caprice pre-production render

▲Ruzzin: This is a sketch that Ben Salvador made. As he had some time to do it, I had asked him to start defining the different areas of the car, like headlights, door handles, grill etc. while the clay model was being blocked in by our sculptors. This apparently is his first expression of what the grill and front end would look like.

As the front evolved with cost and manufacturing input, we were able to integrate all the lamps and make the whole front look more dynamic and more powerful.

1991 Chevrolet Caprice pre-production render

▲Ruzzin: This is a very nice working sketch by Ben to start to get a handle on all the subtleties in the car.

Not a fancy sketch but very valuable and definitive in its aesthetic content. Notice here he suggests a different section to the body side than the original and also a different approach to the shape of the front end and grill. We stayed with his original proposal in both cases as we were seeking a smooth and simple, elegant shape for the overall body with all the required graphics to be integrated. We sought a timeless design that would be relevant for many years.

1991 Chevrolet Caprice pre-production render

▲Ruzzin: This is the full-size rendering that Ben made from his original design sketch. I think this was the first one that he ever made, we helped a little and he was very excited about what was happening; that he was really designing a car after all the years of schooling at Art Center.

All of us in the studio had fun watching and helping him, being careful not to get in the way of his freedom of expression. Of course he did not know that we were doing that. Our management was very excited about this proposal and we started to get the clay model ready to begin, before he even finished the rendering. Dave Holls, our Design Director, only asked for one change, which was a more vertical profile for the front end to try to connect this dramatic new shape to the current Caprice.

1991 Chevrolet Caprice pre-production render

▲Ruzzin: Ben made this drawing over his rendering and then put the profile of the existing Caprice behind it with a fine white line. You can see how much higher the front was on the original car and the top of the windshield, also the top of the back-lite.

This was a very nice design program as we were able to clearly define a design theme at the beginning that was very well liked by our management at Design. Chevrolet management was also enthused and their engineers really supported us, trying in every way to make the cost and manufacturing challenges work.

It is important to get the design theme established early in a program in a very professional manner as that allows time for everyone to work on execution and refinement. Once management approves the design kick-off a strong concept will continue improving, building more support by everyone involved. From the beginning the design improved, became more dramatic and complete looking. It is imperative that the studio work very hard at this point to ward off criticism that shows weakness in the design. It either has the aesthetic value and strength or not. If it does not progress with strength then, likely, the designers would be asked to look at another solution. If the design theme cannot be found early then the valuable execution time is diminished as the release date is fixed and only under extreme cases would it be changed and moved back.

Continued on page 6.

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