Detroit -- In a stunning announcement before the Professional Auto Designers conference today, Bob Bardo, chief designer for GM, proffered "radical" changes in its new line.
Bardo was visibly elated as he described all the new models, but was most proud of his "retro" coupe. "They can call me crazy, but everything is going retro now. You see it everywhere. If they can bring back hip huggers, I can resurrect the '57 Chevy. You'll all want to get on this band wagon. Fins are in!"
Members of the audience, predominately lead designers associated with 'copycat' manufacturers, were speechless for many minutes after his presentation.
When they regained their senses, the Q & A turned lively, if not outright hostile. A Toyota designer pointed out just how non-aerodynamic the design really is. "What with the fins, air horn and huge mud flaps, etc., it's just way too unrealistic today. I mean, you got lidded single-lamp headlights, an ornate chrome grill, and side-window vents, not to mention a hood ornament. The drag has got to siphon off 5 MPG at least."
But Bardo was not to be deterred. "DRAG is right, man! I mean, um, we feel that American car buyers are only interested in appearance. They'll be so thrilled to feel 'real' that they won't notice the 10 MPG average. Too, we won't have the added retooling expense because, remember, foreign manufacturers were the ones who went for 'reliability' and 'good MPG.' Our 'standing still' attitude has netted us the ability to capture a niche that has been ignored all these years. There are actually people out there longing to go back, way back, in time, and we'll have the car for them."
Becoming expansive, Bardo pointed to the American culture as the byword for his designs. "Like I said, just look at our society for one second and you see it. It's how it looks, baby. Take a drive in Anywhere USA and you see SUVs, Hummers, wall to wall. Since when did poor performance matter (referring to the Hummer)? Since when did American buyers care about ‘safety' (referring to the SUV)?"
Bardo's facial expression cannot be described adequately here; something between ecstasy and angry fervor, a mixture of youthful angst and adult ennui, as he told the audience that GM is ready to roll them off the line in '08, just in time for the presidential election season. "All I have to do is dust off those archived blueprints and it's Friday night at the DoDo again," referring to a drive-in restaurant of his youth.