Each week the Autoline TV program and its host, John McElroy, take an in-depth look at various topics in the ever-changing auto industry. In this week’s episode, McElroy is joined by Peter De Lorenzo of Autoextremist.com as the pair sit down with GM’s VP of Global Design, Ed Welburn, to discuss the past, present, and future of GM design. Included in the discussion is a rare behind the scenes tour of the GM Design Studio featuring cameos by the Corvette Sting Ray racer, as well as the Mako Shark and Manta Ray Concepts.
The nearly 30 minute episode opens up with McElroy, De Lorenzo, and Welburn in the lobby of the GM design studio flanked by the original Corvette Sting Ray racer and it’s modern day sibling, the Stingray concept, from the Transformers movie franchise. The discussion focuses on where GM styling has been, where it’s going and the delicate relationship between engineering, design, and manufacturing.
After the discussion wraps, the trio travels the hallowed halls of the GM Design building. They talk about the early influences of early leaders like Bill Mitchell and how he influenced timeless designs. They visit the color studio and walk through the virtual design studio where animated and still shapes can be viewed virtually before metal and clay are shaped. Welburn also touches on Studio X, the “toppest” of top secret places in the building.
As the tour winds down the group enters the Mechanical Assembly area where the numerous GM concept cars are maintained and restored. Upon entering they’re greeted by the Mako Shark and Manta Ray concepts in addition to the more recent Cadillac concepts, the Cien, and Converj. The episodes ends with De Lorenzo and Welburn taking a ride in the Mako Shark complete with a short burnout.
Getting a glimpse inside GM Design is truly a rare experience. Simply put, no one gets in there. So sit back, relax, and enjoy this very unique opportunity to see an extremely clandestine part of General Motors.