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sean1991olds

Ed Welburn + Cutlass / W Design

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sean1991olds

I research this kinda thing because of my site and because I own a 91 Cutlass - Some of you may already know Ed Welburn headed up design on the 1988 Cutlass Supreme and I assume that influenced the other W's as well. One interesting thing was that he said he designed the Cutlass along with the Olds Aerotech as a side project. Working on the Cutlass by day, Aerotech by night / in free time.

Recently I saw another video that was more candid and informal, where he said he would talk about his best design and his 'least favorite' - he was most proud of bringing Camaro back, and probably also the new Corvette, but he couldn't mention that at the time. I had guessed his least fave was the Cutlass. Not that he didn't LIKE the design of the exterior, he had just said that it was too much for the time. He said Roger Smith wanted them to do a car like a concept GM car that was on display at Epcot called the Aero 2000. He wanted it to be as advanced as that car. Ed said it was like what you'd call a Jelly Bean car design of the time, he said it was too much. He said they tested it on people and nobody liked it, so they tested it on more people hoping they would like it. He said they probably tested the look of the car on everyone in America because they wanted to hit on a group who actually DID like it. He said the interior was the opposite to the exterior and it didn't go far enough. Also he said it didn't look great once it came to market with smaller wheels than the "pie's" and not in 2 tone like the Indy 500 black/silver cars.

So I thought all that was interesting and didn't know if that is common knowledge over here. When you look at the window / greenhouse of that Epcot car, the Aero 2000, I can see some similarities. I can see why people were reluctant to like the "new" Cutlass, coming from the G-Bodies, with rear wheel drive and that squared off look that was so popular the continued it in 1988 as a Cutlass Supreme "Classic".

Ed is a great guy, designed some awesome stuff in his time - I've messaged him on Facebook to ask him about something Aerotech related that was on eBay, got to talking and showed him my convertible, that technically I guess he designed so many years ago!

Edited by sean1991olds

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sean1991olds

Here's the more informal interview, you can start it at about 23 mins 50 seconds (the rest before and after is interesting too)

 

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Schurkey

Nobody asked me about the "new" W-body Cutlass.  I thought the first few years of the 2-door were STUNNING from the outside.  Of course, as is so typical, after styling a knockout car, they screw it up after a couple of model-years just to be "different".  Should have left it alone.

The interior was what they NEVER got right; at least on the bread-and-butter models.  Digital dash?  What the hell were they thinking?

I  wound up with a Chevy Lumina Euro 3.4, but what I wanted was a Cutlass two-door with the 3.4.  I saw one in black, in the Big Sky ski-lodge parking lot in '88--'90, and about fell in love right there.

SWMBO decreed that we have a 4-door; and around here 3.4s were so scarce that I bought the only 4-door I could find at the time.  Had to drive 160 miles (round trip) to even find that one.

 

AFTER we actually bought the thing, my local Chevy dealer had one in red instead of white, and with a CD player instead of cassette.  About the same price, too.  If only I could predict the future!

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