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Old 04-02-2013, 11:20 AM   #1
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Lightbulb Camaro5 NYIAS Interview Series (6/7): Tom Peters on 2014 Camaro Refresh


Featured on Camaro5 HOMEPAGE


Interview 6/7...Feel free to ask any questions - and I may be able to elaborate.

Every time I speak with Tom Peters...he astounds me with his intimate understanding of the design of the Camaro...every line, every surface...there's a reason for it with him. It's very cool to see.

Quote:
Tom Peters – Director, Exterior Design
3/27/13
by J. Bella, Camaro5.com

I would go so far as to say the new Z/28 is even more track-focused than the C6 Z06 was. What are your thoughts on that?

Could be. Oh yeah, because it’s way more raw. Z06 still has those creature comfort features, and accouterments. This one is like, get everything out…no radio, A/C…just rip it all out. It is a nasty…dog; a “street fighting dog” if you will, because that’s what it’s all about. The Z/28 is very function-driven - and when you drive it, say in comparison to the ZL1 (which is more kind of a GT feel, a refined high performance). This one is refined in it’s own right, don’t get me wrong, but it’s much more serious race car and raw. There’s nothing on it that’s for just creature comforts, it’s just raw performance. You will notice the distinct personalities between the two.

The ZL1 is extremely high performance, has a lot of animal in it…but it’s like it’s gone to finishing school or something. The Z/28 has not gone to finishing school, other than being on the track.

What drove the design, the changes that went into the 2014 refresh?

To me, it’s three things you want to look at: You want to create differentiation; you have to listen to what the customers are saying (like “why aren’t you guys doing LED tail lamps?”). We wanted to take every opportunity to make the vehicle look wider. And function – function was huge. Having the Z/28 in mind, that’s something about the current car that we learned: aerodynamically, cooling-wise, lift-wise…the more you optimize that lower opening, the better the car gets in a lot of different ways. When you go look at the ZL1, you notice the lower grill is bigger. We wanted to push that further and get it across the line.

When cars are developed there’s a lot of different designs and proposals that go into it. Was there anything on this car that was recycled from initial Camaro development in 2007?

No, everything was new. That’s not to say that somebody might have done some sketches of something that was similar to this, but everything was fresh and from different designers. And that’s the other thing, too – we had different personalities involved on the team, and that’s naturally going to generate different things.

Pictures don’t quite capture these two cars (Camaro and Corvette), do they?

No, they never do. I knew it was going to be controversial when we did it, too. These two cars were developed at the same time in the same studio. People would say “it’s [Corvette] got Camaro tail-lights on the back!” When in actuality, we designed, and I wanted, Corvette-inspired tail lights on the Camaro. The Camaro tail lights were supposed to be Corvette-like tail lights. Over history, which is something pretty cool about Chevrolet and the heritage of Camaro and Corvette, there’s been a relationship. Over the course of time, Camaro’s had round tail lights on it, and I think that’s just fine. I think, maybe, the only consistent tail lamp has been a “brick graphic” – a horizontal bar.

The midsized sedans appear to “go with the flow” in terms of design, but I haven’t seen a single generation of Camaro that looks “old.”

That’s what we try to derive, and something we did with the new Camaro – elements that are timeless. You can’t directly rip them off…my guys would call it “chomping”, you can’t chomp it. You need to interpret that in a modern way, which my team is real good at.

You have a great vision for the car. And as people start thinking about how the sixth generation car will evolve, do you have a character for Camaro in mind?

Just as a general theme, I think it’ll be a continued evolution. It’s spirit is so strong and powerful, and we’re trying to make it timeless. Camaro is about being functional, and there is an aesthetic in that. Other things like Technology, even Corvette, will affect it. But there has to be an enduring passion that has to permeate through the sheet metal. I’m always adamant about having hand sculptors work on the design. Yes, we do the computer design, but what sets these cars apart from Mustangs or Challengers or any other company you have is, I think, that through our sculptors, that passion and hand-crafted design gets stamped into the sheet metal. There’s a hard-to-describe soul that comes through the body, and the surfaces.

The current car’s design is so powerful; it’s a tough act to follow. We’re looking at everything. And that’s why it’s taken so long, we needed to get the Z/28 right…this refresh. They were all very carefully calculated. It wasn’t as though we said “oh, lets just put a different front end on and make it look different.” There was a huge amount of effort that goes into every millimeter of that.
Full interview list:

Interview 1: Mark Stielow (Chief Engineer of Z/28)
Interview 2: John Fitzpatrick (Marketing Manager for Chevrolet Performance Cars)
Interview 3: Helen Emsley (Director of Interior Design for Performance Cars)
Interview 4: Mary Barra (GM Senior Vice President, Global Product Development)
Interview 5: Russ Clark (Director of Marketing, Performance Cars)
Interview 6: Tom Peters (Director, Exterior Design)
Interview 7: Ed Welburn (Vice President of Global Design)
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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you can hear the passion in his responses. Great interview
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:17 PM   #3
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Thanks, I enjoyed reading that...
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:29 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hrpiii View Post
you can hear the passion in his responses. Great interview
Oh definitely. He even got out a notepad and began sketching cars and shapes and design cues for me to better understand what went on when they did the refresh.

Turns out - a lot of the thought that went into the front end was centered around putting the bigger-opening grill on the bottom of the fascia and the thinner opening up top.

This creates a low, wide, sporty feel and look...but they wanted to keep that purely Camaro look.

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Thanks, I enjoyed reading that...
Thanks! He's a blast to talk with!
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:36 PM   #5
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I want to know more about the V6! What is it going to look like??
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:41 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by Fiveg56 View Post
I want to know more about the V6! What is it going to look like??
Ah! Good question. I asked that, but not during one of the interviews...so it wasn't written down.

It will have the same hood as the current models. This way the SS and V6 no longer share hood designs, and might not get confused as often. The SS's will look wider, and more powerful to tease the V8 underneath, versus the LS/LT hood that just looks awesome on its own.

The front fascia will be a little less aggressive, but it shares the same design changes.
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:46 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Wyndham View Post
Ah! Good question. I asked that, but not during one of the interviews...so it wasn't written down.

It will have the same hood as the current models. This way the SS and V6 no longer share hood designs, and might not get confused as often. The SS's will look wider, and more powerful to tease the V8 underneath, versus the LS/LT hood that just looks awesome on its own.

The front fascia will be a little less aggressive, but it shares the same design changes.
So it's the same hood as now with a different front Fascia and grille than the SS?
I can't wait to see what that looks like.
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:49 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Wyndham View Post
Ah! Good question. I asked that, but not during one of the interviews...so it wasn't written down.

It will have the same hood as the current models. This way the SS and V6 no longer share hood designs, and might not get confused as often. The SS's will look wider, and more powerful to tease the V8 underneath, versus the LS/LT hood that just looks awesome on its own.

The front fascia will be a little less aggressive, but it shares the same design changes.
Cool! Thanks for the info.
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Old 04-02-2013, 01:50 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angrybird 12 View Post
So it's the same hood as now with a different front Fascia and grille than the SS?
I can't wait to see what that looks like.
As I understand it, yes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiveg56 View Post
Cool! Thanks for the info.
You got it!
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Old 04-02-2013, 02:46 PM   #10
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Since the Z/28 does not have any HUD or 4pack gauges does it have additional read outs in the DIC for those gauge functions?
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:12 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Angrybird 12 View Post
Since the Z/28 does not have any HUD or 4pack gauges does it have additional read outs in the DIC for those gauge functions?
That's a good question - I don't know...
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:21 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mr. Wyndham View Post
Ah! Good question. I asked that, but not during one of the interviews...so it wasn't written down.

It will have the same hood as the current models. This way the SS and V6 no longer share hood designs, and might not get confused as often. The SS's will look wider, and more powerful to tease the V8 underneath, versus the LS/LT hood that just looks awesome on its own.

The front fascia will be a little less aggressive, but it shares the same design changes.
This is promising... maybe the new vented hood will work (retrofitted) on the '10-'13 models... for those (few?) interested in putting a factory-produced functional hood in theirs.
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Old 04-02-2013, 03:24 PM   #13
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That's a good question - I don't know...
I like to try to think of questions people that want one may not think to ask.
I know I would be concerned if I was thinking of buying one...
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Old 04-02-2013, 11:48 PM   #14
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Any info on the 2014 1LE?
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:18 PM   #15
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Thumbs up

Thanks for posting each interview. Maybe more people will appreciate the 2014 refresh, as the front end changes weren't done just for visual impact but also function!
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Old 04-03-2013, 12:29 PM   #16
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Thanks for posting each interview. Maybe more people will appreciate the 2014 refresh, as the front end changes weren't done just for visual impact but also function!
I certainly appreciate the front end changes for both their visual impact/disctinction AND function.

It's the rear I can't get my head around. I think I get the concept of what they were trying to accomplish but the license plate area now looks a generation older than it was. Half bumper, half diffuser, two-tone (for non-black cars) and a square-ish, deep inset. The license plate area of the pre-2014 was near perfection. A shame it was changed at all.
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Old 04-03-2013, 03:26 PM   #17
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Any info on the 2014 1LE?
Besides it existing? No. I don't think anything has changed in terms of components of the 1LE package.

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Originally Posted by Eich View Post
I certainly appreciate the front end changes for both their visual impact/disctinction AND function.

It's the rear I can't get my head around. I think I get the concept of what they were trying to accomplish but the license plate area now looks a generation older than it was. Half bumper, half diffuser, two-tone (for non-black cars) and a square-ish, deep inset. The license plate area of the pre-2014 was near perfection. A shame it was changed at all.
That's the one and only part of the refresh I'm not happy with, myself...I tend to agree it looks less "modern" than the original swept-in license place area.

However...the "blockiness" does contribute to the overall muscular look of the new back end when you stand back and stare for a moment. So even though I don't like it...it works...
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Old 04-05-2013, 03:59 PM   #18
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Commenting on the how the 2014 ZL1 will keep its original front fascia and hood, our friends at Chevy says:

"The ZL1 is relatively fresh in the market, and the aerodynamic development that went into the front end is integral to the overall performance of the car."
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