Saturday, November 26, 2011

2013 Cadillac 60 Special, Plug-In Hybrid XTS/L

The Return of the 60 Special—My version of a long-wheelbase XTS brings back Cadillac's historical 60 Special nameplate, first used on a young William Mitchell's classic 1938 sedan. 

I added about three-inches behind the XTS's front doors for more rear legroom, and I extended the hood and front wheels forward about four-inches for a total wheelbase of about 118 inches. The longer hood gives the car nicer proportions and also gives more room for the battery storage. This 60 Special is Cadillac's plug-in hybrid, with the "60" signifying a range of up to 60 miles on pure electric power, almost doubling the Chevy Volt's advertised 35 miles. The power outlet is behind the "60" on the lower rocker panel. This would be an electrically opening hatch and would be part of a wireless charging system. When charging the car, you'd push the button to open the access hatch, revealing the receiving antenna. It would then activate the wireless charging unit in your home garage, powering the access hatch closed when the batteries are at full power.

Further changes from the donor XTS photo include enlarging the glass area in the "third" window behind the rear doors to emphasize the more spacious passenger compartment. Aero wheels from the Cadillac Converg hybrid concept were added, extended chrome and black rocker panel trim visually lengthen the car and revised taillights look more classically Cadillac. Oh yeah—I gave this car fender skirts, too! Let's call 'em aero spats this time around. 

I parked this new green machine in Brooklyn, with a great view of Manhattan's daytime skyline.

Original photo, here.

U P D A T E :  I moved the 60 Special nameplate higher up on the body sides, making the charging outlet door easier to reach in the event wireless charging isn't available... I also added rear wreathe-and-crest sidelights and full-color Cadillac logos on the wheels.

U P D A T E  2 :  I just changed the cutlines for the rear door. I made them more "formal" and more Bill Mitchell. They also simplified the bodysides—always a good thing. I also raised the rear side light to better line up with the 60 Special nameplate in front. 

Friday, November 18, 2011

Buick LaCrosse Centurion coupe

Based on the LaCrosse GL just shown at the LA Auto Show, my Centurion coupe would be a top-shelf offering. Besides removing the two rear doors to make a coupe, I moved the front wheels four-inches forward and lowered the bodysides and roof by three-inches. I enlarged the glass area, as well as the grille. I also added sleeker headlights from the equally-new Hyundai Azera. One small detail I usually add to my Buick chops: A return of the red, white, and blue Buick logos, in place of the current all-chrome version. I like the classic look of the TriColor! A smoothing of the body contours finishes out the changes to the timeless appeal of this large Buick coupe. Original photo here.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Home for the Hyundais: Duet of Coupes

I posted these two Hyundai Sonata coupes when I did them, on my main blog, but I'm filling out the category here. Above, the Sonata Turbo pillarless coupe in white with a full-length black glass roof. I think the Sonata really makes a beautiful 2-door!

The subtly aerodynamically restyled Sonata Hybrid also makes a good looking pillarless coupe! I saw a Sonata Hybrid 4-door in town yesterday, and it's really quite smart. The LED taillights are up-to-the-minute in contemporary good looks, and the slightly sharper and edgier bumpers and bodysides stand out more in person than they do in photographs.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Blasts from the Past

Although I haven't had a lot of time to create new chops, I have a back-catalog of more than 600 cars I've created since 2005. Here are just a few of them.

Porsche's smaller-than-Panamera 4-door would be powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder front-mounted engine. Weight would be kept under 2700 lbs through the use of carbon fiber and aluminum.

Chrysler's now-classic Engel Imperial, 1964-'66, reimagined as a 2-door limousine Crown Coupe. Besides the roofline and rear window, I modified the rear bumper and bodysides to enhance the coachbuilt appearance. I placed the car in front of a Frank Lloyd Wright-designed home. Classics deserve Classics!

"The Sky Belongs to You." My '66 Thunderbird Sky Coupe photoedited an advertisement of that year's Town Landau which ran in the National Geographic. I added fixed glass panels in the roof, on either side of the real roof console featured in that year's Town coupes. I also greatly enlarged the rear side windows to add a more light to the interior.

"Unique in the All the World" was a Thunderbird tagline for years. In this instance, I modifed a press photo of the brand-new for '67 Thunderbird four door Landau. The model was wearing what appears to be a Pucci dress, so I went with that mid-Sixties style, adding translucent Pucci fabric to the layout from one of my mother's scarves. I made the Tbird into an early 5-door Grand Touring vehicle, not quite a wagon, not quite a sedan. I surmised that perhaps Pucci reversible seat cushions could accompany this special edition. Working to make images appear "vintage" and somewhat worn, is an effect I especially like to create in Photoshop. By "practicing" on my car chops like this, I've been able to use these techniques in some of the books I've designed.

Although the Hyundai Genesis coupe is just about to be introduced in facelifted form, with a much more attractive and aggressive front end design, I created this "4-door sports car" version a few years ago. 4DSC was the advertising "gimmick" for Nissan's Maxima, and I appropriated it for this Hyundai which would compete with the Maxima. With this sloping roofline, this sedan would not be the most spacious, but today's 4-door coupes are all about style and not practicality. I kept the unique beltline "dip" and "hid" the rear door handle to preserve a bit more "coupiness."

This little Buick Special "Estate Wagon" was chopped so long ago, I can't remember the base photo. I'm guessing it might have been one of the Opels that Buick was about to introduce in the States, but it might have been an Audi A3. Or a Saturn, lol. I remember adding Buick's classic "sweepspear" downward sloping character line and then emphasizing it with a 1969-type Buick Sportswagon woodgrain treatment above it. The "wood" is bordered on the top with a brushed aluminum molding but is left borderless on the bottom, instead relying on the character line for its stopping point.

A quick chop when the new Taurus was introduced, to add a bit of visual "drama" to the SHO version, with a two-tone paint job. I  recontoured the rear bumper, adding the "cut-in" at the top near the taillights to visually diminish the size of the plastic bumper covering. I also added that wraparound chrome molding to emphasize the new bumper contour and to add some width to the very tall rear aspect of the Taurus.

Besides making a 4-door out of the Genesis coupe, I also chopped this 2-door Luxury Coupe from the Genesis 4-door. I've always wondered why the Genesis 4-door was so much larger and more luxurious than the coupe. They almost seem like they're not related at all, except for the fact they're both rear-wheel drive cars. For this Luxury Coupe, I targeted the Mercedes CLK in appearance and marketing.