Cadillac News, Concepts, Future Models, Rumors and more Discussion, Cadillac News: First Drive: 2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe is audacity in motion in Current Cadillac Vehicle Discussion; Filed under: Coupe , Cadillac , First Drive , Luxury
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe - Click above for high-res image ...
2011 Cadillac CTS Coupe - Click above for high-res image gallery
There was a time when General Motors was a design leader. Before the Aztek, before the Catera, before the Sunfire and before the Citation, GM was synonymous with bold, strong, emotional automotive design. The General was so good at it that in the 1950s it was able to flood dealerships and stress factories just by tweaking a given model's sheetmetal a few shades. Imagine anyone caring about a new rear end on a 2011 Chevy Malibu. Yet the revised bodywork of the 1956 Bel Air was a major cultural phenomenon.
The name Harvey Earl - the legendary head of GM design from 1927 until 1958 - still strikes reverence into the hearts of many. One glance at his famed Buick Y-Job, a 1949 Cadillac or the original Corvette is enough to see why. Earl's parting shot was the 1959 Cadillac Eldorado - the one with the tail fins that could nearly touch the moon. Then you have Earl's successor, Bill Mitchel, the man responsible for the third generation Corvette, the 1966 Toronado and the magnificent boattail Buick Riviera.
For a variety of reasons, in the 1970s General Motors and striking design parted ways. GM's styling wandered through the desert, swapping glitz, purpose and chrome for tighter profit margins, increased badge engineering and a large patina of plain ol' dull. All you need to do is take a gander at the third-generation B-bodies to see how far GM went in the wrong direction. Let's not even mention cladding.
For the last decade or so there have been signs of hope. Vehicles like the ChevroletSSR, Pontiac Solstice, C6 Corvette and the new Camaro were proof that GM and great design are on the road to reconciliation. As a division, Cadillac has made the biggest strides with their Art and Science design motif, showing great signs of life. The front end of the second generation CTS is fantastic. From a pure design point of view, and with the possible exception of the now dead Pontiac Solstice, no General Motors product has been world class since Mitchell retired in 1977.