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car design thread

Discussion in 'Creative Arts' started by jm2, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. 330 4HL

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    #11826 330 4HL, Apr 1, 2021
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    yep! that's the one and only (well not quite) Jim Hall.
    The OTHER Jim Hall speaks far more slowly, but actually has real ideas, and a GREAT resume.
     
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  3. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    I watched it as well. Left me a bit disappointed.
     
  4. bitzman

    bitzman F1 Rookie

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    Who realistically is credited with the Diablo design from Lamborghini? I know Gandini started it but some Chrysler designer finished it. I saw a story on him once, complete with drawings but forget where, I am writing a n article and would like to view the Chrysler designer an a mention if anybody;s got the article or at least his name. I think Iacocca wanted it redesigned so he could say Chrysler designed it. I remember reading Iacocca had the prototypes brought to his villa in Italy so he could do a walkaround and show what he wanted changed. Anybody hear that?
     
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  5. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    The PT Cruiser story
    WHERE ARE THEY NOW
    How the PT Cruiser Became the Dad Jeans of Cars
    In between the minivan’s decline and the SUV’s surge, one of the century’s most beloved — and despised—cars experienced a brief moment of fame



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    Doyou remember the PT Cruiser? Yeah, you do: Chrysler’s po-mo hot rod with the funny name and the Dick Tracy-esque curves? It’s in the first shot of the new CW series Superman and Lois, because it’s the closest thing on the road to the car on the cover of Action Comics #1, the 1938 comic book in which Superman makes his debut. It’s just right — like the current comic-book universes, the PT Cruiser was designed to be contemporary, entertaining, and a very loud echo of the past.

    It was also supposed to be as ubiquitous as the DC and Marvel properties feel right now, and it worked. The PT Cruiser was huge, selling for well over the sticker price soon after launch in 2000, all the more surprising because it was the effort of a struggling manufacturer in a brand-new class of vehicle. Ultimately, the throwback vehicle was too popular for its own good; instantly appealing to Boomers, it became overexposed and devolved into the dad jeans of cars, eventually ending up on a lot of worst- and ugliest-car lists. Still, a lot of cars that fared better in the long term owe it a debt.

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    To understand the PT Cruiser, you first need to understand how automobile sales started shifting at the turn of the millennium. U.S. minivan sales peaked in 2000 and began declining over the next decade, while crossovers rose from 4% of the U.S. market from 2000 to 19% in 2008. Light truck sales, after years of increase, surpassed passenger-car sales for the first time as pickups and SUVs climbed toward their physical and numerical dominance of the American road.

    The idea was “candy-coated medicine.”

    Americans demanded bigger, more aggressive cars. In 2000, the Wall Street Journal reported that General Motors had nearly beaten DaimlerChrysler to what would be the PT Cruiser’s niche by importing a popular European mini-minivan, the Opel Zafira, but American focus groups were turned off by the small size. DaimlerChrysler, however, figured out a trick.

    The idea was “candy-coated medicine,” says Chris Theodore, who was vice president of platform engineering at Chrysler at the time. “There was a market for a mini-minivan if you will, but it couldn’t look like a minivan, and it had to be practical and functional. There had been a history in the American market where hatchbacks in general had failed. If you get into the psychographics, Boomers rejected the station wagons they grew up in, and that helped make the minivans successful, and similarly, the next generation would reject minivans.”

    So Chrysler designed something that was none of these things yet all of these things, a compact yet roomy vehicle that was more maneuverable than its SUV and minivan brethren yet flexibly built for ample cargo. The ’30s silhouette wasn’t just a nostalgia nod. Cars like the Deuce Coupe of hot-rodding fame were tall and boxy yet muscular and streamlined, with associations of speed and cool from their illicit street-racing heritage. All that ran counter to the clichés of minivans and station wagons that had those classes on the decline. (On the other hand, Theodore says, British focus-group subjects were underwhelmed by the design because it reminded them of London cabs.)

    The result was divisive within focus groups: People either loved it or hated it.

    Lead designer Bryan Nesbitt, then in his late 20s, worked with a French medical anthropologist, G. Clotaire Rapaille, to find the “reptilian hot button” that would sell the car. Their answer: intimidation. Subjects “contrasted a dangerous outside world with a secure interior of the car,” the Wall Street Journal reported at the time, with Rapaille boiling it down to “It’s Mad Max. People want to kill me, rape me.” That view of the world was selling ever-larger vehicles. Nesbitt took a different approach. He “bulked up the fenders, giving the car a kind of bulldog stance from the rear,” the designer told the Journal.

    The result was divisive within focus groups: People either loved it or hated it. But the company had been through a similar experience with the successful Dodge Ram truck, and had realized that what mattered was the share of people who loved it, not the share that hated it. Even if the portion of haters was in the low double digits, the share who loved the car — around a fifth in their market research — represented a lot of sales. Confident that there was a substantial niche for the PT Cruiser, the company gave it the green light despite skepticism within the company.

    Chrysler also had another audience in mind with the PT Cruiser’s genre-bending design: the feds. CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) mandates require an automaker’s average fuel economy for each class of vehicle fall below a certain level. So the PT Cruiser was designed to fit in the truck category, helping DaimlerChrysler fall below the 20.7 miles-per-gallon maximum for its light truck/pickup category, offsetting the Ram and other big vehicles that guzzled more gas. This bonus, Theodore says, also got the Cruiser skeptics in the company to sign off on the risk.

    This was supposed to be a car for young people. Instead, the PT Cruiser was embraced by Boomers, who connected to the retro styling and liked its familial practicality.

    In short, Chrysler designed something that gave drivers what they wanted emotionally from a truck or SUV and what they wanted functionally from a minivan, and it gave the government what they wanted categorically from a truck with the fuel economy of a car. It was a clever aesthetic and engineering decision, and the final product was both distinctive and inexpensive. The PT Cruiser was the North American Car of the Year at the Detroit Auto Show, the car equivalent of Best Picture at the Oscars, and was a Car and Driver top-10 pick. Buyers immediately responded. The PT Cruiser sold so much better than the company expected that dealers sold it above the sticker price, and even those who paid up faced delays as the company struggled to meet demand.

    Even so, the PT Cruiser didn’t reach the market DaimlerChrysler was aiming for. Its origins can be traced back to the Plymouth Prowler, a niche two-seater hot rod meant to save the flagging Plymouth brand by appealing to the youth market. The PT Cruiser started as a Plymouth. After Chrysler was acquired by Daimler in 1998 it shifted the car to the Chrysler brand and killed Plymouth altogether in 2001, but the intent remained. This was supposed to be a car for young people. Instead, the PT Cruiser was embraced by Boomers, who connected to the retro styling and liked its familial practicality.

    This sold a lot of cars — Boomers have money! — but it marked the vehicle as a parental unit shifter. (Square, man.) There was also a hangover from its success that fed the backlash, as people who had bought PT Cruisers at a premium found, just a couple years later, a satiated market with new models selling below sticker price.

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    The PT Cruiser’s success also doomed it by opening up opportunities for its champions. In 1999 Theodore became a VP at Ford. Nesbitt was hired away by GM in 2001 and soon produced the PT-esque Chevrolet HHR. DaimlerChrysler continued to sell the PT Cruiser, breaking the 100,000 mark for six straight years but coasting on its success. The car’s death knell came in 2008, when the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it the most dangerous small car in America. As Jalopnik noted at the time, the unsurprising news was the result of it “having been abandoned with no new model on the horizon by a sinking company.” Sales of the PT Cruiser fell from 50,000 in 2008 to less than 18,000 in 2009, the same year DaimlerChrysler filed for bankruptcy.

    The last PT Cruiser was made in 2011, when fewer than 2,000 were sold. More than a million had been manufactured over 11 years, which left a lot of used cars with a dad reputation for aesthetics and a bad reputation for safety. But the PT Cruiser also helped create a new class of hatchbacks that includes the unashamedly boxy Kia Soul and the softly retro Mini Cooperand Fiat 500L and can be proudly what they are — modestly priced, space-efficient city vehicles that function as spiffed up grocery getters.
     
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  6. Jeff Kennedy

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    There was an article on the design development in Car Styling.
     
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  8. 330 4HL

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    #11831 330 4HL, Apr 2, 2021
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    I never had the problem with the PT that so many others did: my only niggle being that I found the '39 Ford-ish grille a bit too oversized.
    It was a great little utility vehicle for all sorts of small businesses from florists to grocery stores that didn't look too serious, and at a time when gas prices were often elevated, it made road and camping trips more affordably comfortable.

    The article says that some people loved it and some people hated it, but the ones who loved it really loved it. I went for a 15 min. drive this morning after reading this, and I counted seven (one had painted flames, another pinstriping!); this for a low priced, mostly old, DD,, often used as a truck. Clearly they have had better care than the Neons on which it was based.

    One can debate the styling, but just as clearly, the design was excellent given the number of issues it addressed for the corp.

    Design: 1-10: a solid 7
     
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  9. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    I learned this firsthand when i started my collectibles company.

    A competitor was making action figures of super famous icons like Jimi Hendrix and Kurt Cobain and sales were terrible. I was making action figures of obscure artists like Insane Clown Posse and Twiztid and my sales were through the roof. I was selling 4-5x as many figures as they were.

    Because the fans of niche artists are rabidly diehard and will buy everything from that artist.
     
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  10. Jeff Kennedy

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    The Bob Lutz version of the Chrysler idea was that "acceptable to everyone" means that no one is in love with the car. A potential buyer will cross shop alternatives to the point where rebates & deals will close a sale. On the other hand, as espoused by Lutz, make something unique and a potential buyer is only interested in that one car. No cross shopping and no need to be offering incentives.
     
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  11. anunakki

    anunakki Five Time F1 World Champ
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    Article on Naoki Sakai, designer on the Nissan Be-1, Pao and S-Cargo.

    Theres a quote from him that really spoke to me:

    “I felt uncomfortable that car designers are highly elite and only look at the future and evolution of cars. Fashion design goes back and forth freely. We put those ideas into car design.”

    And I agree, which is why i cringe when people automatically diminish designs that take from the past. I dont think we should always be looking 'forward' I think we should 'go back and forth freely.' Love that.

    https://www.roadandtrack.com/car-culture/a35240379/nissan-bizarre-pike-factory-masterpieces/
     
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  13. jm2

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    New Hummer unveiled
    2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV First Look: GM’s Electric Motor Pool Grows
    The GMC Hummer EV pickup gains an SUV sibling.
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    Apr 3, 2021


    GMC's Hummer sub-brand—yes, a revival of that GM brand, shuttered back in 2010—adds a new member to the family in the form of the 2024 Hummer EV SUV. Sharing its key design details with the previously unveiled GMC Hummer EV pickup, the Hummer EV SUV alters the truck's formula slightly by way of its enclosed rear end and smaller wheelbase.

    Hummer EV SUV Vs. EV Pickup
    Whereas the pickup rests on a 135.6-inch wheelbase, the SUV is slightly smaller and leaves just 126.7 inches of space between its wheel centers. This ought to make the Hummer EV SUV the better trail tool, given its shorter wheelbase likely results in a superior breakover angle relative to that of its pickup counterpart, as well as more wieldy overall.

    Of course, you'll need to add the Extreme Off-Road package to truly make the most of the Hummer EV SUV's off-road prowess. The optional kit includes additional underbody protection, rock sliders, an electronically operated locking front differential, beefier half shafts, an array of exterior-mounted cameras, and a set of 18-inch wheels wrapped in knobby mud-terrain tires.

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    So, How Much?
    While the $105,995 Edition 1 arrives in early 2023 as the first Hummer EV SUV model, it'll be complemented by the $89,995 and $99,995 EV2X and EV3X trims later that spring. All three SUV trims pack more than 300 miles of driving range, per GMC, although adding the $5,000 Extreme Off-Road pack to the Edition 1 lowers the estimate to a still plentiful, but less impressive, 280-plus miles of estimated range. We wager the package will have a similar impact on the prices and ranges of EV2X and EV3X models, as well.

    Come spring 2024, GMC plans to offer the SUV in the cheaper EV2 guise. The $79,995 trim packs an estimated range of more than 250 miles, although buyers can option the model to net more than 300 miles of driving range. Power-hungry consumers, however, will want to avoid the lowly EV2 and EV2X trims, as these variants pack an electric powertrain that merely makes "up to" 625 hp. The EV3X and Edition 1 models, meanwhile, produce "up to" 830 hp, a sum that allows the Hummer EV SUV to accelerate from zero-to-60 mph in around 3.5 seconds, according to GMC.

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    With tough looks, loads of off-road capability, and plenty of driving range, the 2024 GMC Hummer EV SUV seems ready to simultaneously grab the attention of Tesla Model X and Mercedes-Benz G-Class buyers. In theory, it certainly combines the best aspects of both models. That said, we'll have to wait to get behind the wheel of the Hummer EV SUV to see if this holds true in practice.

     
  14. HotShoe

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    I like the rims. :)

    It’s hard for me to wrap my head around how this is good for GM. It seems to be a marketing exercise and not a legitimate product to strengthen the brand and add to revenue.

    Who’s the buyer? Where does it fit in?

    I can’t haul a boat with it. I can’t load it with gear or lumber. I really can’t take it anywhere I trip because the range is too short. I can’t off-road with anything that large and if I did range is an issue again. Can’t drive it in the cold very far.

    I guess it’s meant to compete with the other pavement queens? Cheaper Urus? Range Rover competitor?

    IMO they would have been better of putting the time and resources into their full-size trucks where they are woefully lacking.
     
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  15. 330 4HL

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    I have admit, I don't really understand what they're doing with the elevation. It looks like the Camaro guys got at it with a torch and took the top down about 6" but forgot to pass the message on to the rest of the team... The distance from the top of the tire to the top of the black wheelhouse trim seems greater than the height of the roof to the window sill. If you draw a rectangle on the shoulder of the rear wing to the ground enclosing the tire it gives an idea of just how out of proportion this design is. The whole thing looks ungainly.
    Is there a new Tranformers movie in the works??
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  16. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    Oh, the irony! The studio that did the Hummer design is the Corvette/Camaro Studio. Same cast of characters.
    Go figure.
     
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  17. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    Could the wheels be any more complicated?
    Just asking.
     
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  18. HotShoe

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    Do they come in chrome? :)
     
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  19. jm2

    jm2 F1 World Champ
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    Why not!
    I sure wouldn’t want to clean them things.:eek:
     
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  20. jm2

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    I didn’t realize the size disparity between the Pick Up & the SUV.
    https://www.motorauthority.com/news/1131805_2024-gmc-hummer-ev-suv-price-specs-review-photos-info?fbclid=IwAR1-a_p4AKvNHl2ZWf6sU4wxgPhRSc6GzYiZ0LmnmuMCvJOAno7nChJbwLA
     
  21. jm2

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  22. jm2

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  23. jm2

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    April 3 at 2:45 PM ·
    Legendary French car designer Robert Opron passed away this week. He was 89 years old.
    Born in France and raised largely in Africa, Opron attended l’École des Beaux-Arts in his native Amiens and in Paris, studying architecture, painting and sculpture.
    In 1952, he landed a job at Simca, where he designed the Simca Fulgur, a concept car that was shown at the 1959 Geneva motor show and could best be described as a spaceship.
    After a brief stint designing houseware products, Opron met Flaminio Bertoni in 1962 and began working for the Italian at Citroën. He succeeded Bertoni as head of design from 1964-1975.
    Opron presided over the Citroën GS, SM (1970) and CX (1974) in quick succession and, when Citroën merged with Peugeot, the designer jumped ship and went to work for rival Renault.
    The awesome Alpine A310 came to be under his stewardship as did the Renault Fuego, 9, 11, and 25 to name a few.
    Opron then moved to Italy and joined Fiat, working on the Alfa Romeo SZ, Lancia Y11 and the first Fiat Bravo. Ultimately, he decided to transition from the OEMs and started his own independent consultancy.
    Robert Opron enjoyed a long career designing some important vehicles but the golden era was undoubtedly his tenure at Citroën, for which he’ll forever be remembered.

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  24. jm2

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  25. of2worlds

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  26. jm2

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    Pete Brock & the '63 Stingray

    Peter Brock Column: Without Bill Mitchell, the Chevrolet C2 Corvette May Never Have Happened
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    Apr 3, 2021 | Chevrolet, GM, Corvette, Peter Brock, C2 | Posted in Columns | From the Jan. 2018 issue | Never miss an article


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    I had the rare opportunity as a young designer to work at GM Styling in the mid ’50s. I wasn’t aware at the time just how crucial that era would be in terms of the future of the American automobile industry and Chevrolet in particular, but time has a way of clarifying history that’s impossible to ascertain at the moment it’s happening. That period demonstrated just how close the sometimes divisive nature of creativity pitted against the practical (read: “financial”) constraints of top management can come to hobbling, if not destroying, a great automobile.

    Those who rise to the pinnacle of control in large corporations don’t get there by being dreamers. Their record of constantly and steadily improving the bottom line is what eventually places them in positions of power. As a GM CEO at that time, Frederic Donner, once said, “We don’t make automobiles here at General Motors; we make money.”

    As a young, naive designer focused on creating a better, more appealing product, it was impossible for me to know that there were several layers of management approval above me that had nothing to do with the quality or validity of anything being created for production. These all had to be agreed upon by others with little interest in good taste or design. They were concerned primarily with profit.

    Those at the top in 1957, namely Harlow Curtice, president of GM, decided privately to improve corporate profits by eliminating all reference and support to “performance”–including all corporately funded “racing programs” and, most importantly, the manufacture of any “high performance” vehicles, including the Corvette.

    Knowing that success of such a broadly sweeping mandate wouldn’t exactly be popular with the powerful divisional heads of Chevrolet and Pontiac (whose sales were heavily influenced by recognizing the public’s interest in performance), they had to enlist other manufacturers to go along with their idea. Curtice led an effort within the Automobile Manufacturers Association, going individually to the top executives at Ford and Chrysler and convinced them it was in the industry’s “best interest” to align with GM’s thinking.

    This wasn’t too difficult a proposal, as the ever-increasing costs of development and advanced engineering (mostly in trying to match GM’s racing budgets for NASCAR and NHRA drag racing) were noticeably affecting profits. Conveniently ignored in these top-level conversations were the sales numbers for the Big Three proving that “Win on Sunday, sell on Monday” easily justified the expense of such programs.

    Also overlooked, unfortunately, was the most important–but unseen and little understood–benefit of competitive engineering within the various layers of design and engineering. What better way to motivate a team of creative designers and engineers than by providing the tangible target of the opposition?

    In June of 1957 the “AMA ban” on all performance activity within the industry was introduced. This essentially completely killed off the Corvette program! There was little dissension at the top. Chevrolet’s controversial Corvette program had been in the red since its inception in ’53, while Ford’s all-steel “personal car,” the Thunderbird, was outselling the plastic-bodied sportster in a very convincing manner.

    Only one dissenting voice decided that the Corvette was worth keeping. Bill Mitchell, then about to take over GM Styling from Harley Earle (who had led GM’s design center since 1927), quietly decided that he’d go against management’s directive and create, in secret, a completely new Corvette!

    He did it, at great personal risk to his career and with a small, dedicated team. It took them some six years from inception to reach production in 1963, but Bill Mitchell’s now iconic split-window Sting Ray changed the course of GM history, being the first Corvette to sell more than 10,000 units in its first year and putting the program solidly in the black. Mitchell’s success with this singular design gave him great credibility and power within GM. It enabled him to go on and create some of the most remarkably beautiful cars in GM’s history.
     
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  27. 330 4HL

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    Well then, it all sort of makes sense now. Did these guys all grow up in families with P1800 Volvos?
     
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  28. Peter Tabmow

    Peter Tabmow Formula Junior

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    To me, the GS has always been the masterpiece of the 'everyday family car' genre.
     
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