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Old 04-26-2014, 09:12 PM   #1
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GM Designer Tom Peters on Camaro, Corvette, & Pontiac Aztek

That headline had me until "Aztek"...


ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

GM Designer Tom Peters on Camaro, Corvette, and Pontiac Aztek
By Christian Seabaugh - Photos By Brian Vance - April 26, 2014

See All 21 Photos

GM director of exterior design for performance cars Tom Peters popped by the Motor Trend headquarters today in celebration of the Chevrolet Camaro event tomorrow at Los Angeles' Petersen Automotive Museum. Peters, who designed the current-generation Camaro, the C6 Chevrolet Corvette, and the Pontiac Aztek (one of these is not like the other), swung by to show off a 2014 Camaro Z/28, Camaro 1LE, and Camaro SS Spring Special Edition, as well as his cherry 1969 Camaro ZL-1 clone, and to answer a few questions for us.

Though our discussion with Peters begins with the face-lifted 2014 Chevrolet Camaro, Peters' involvement with the Camaro goes back to the origin of the fifth-generation Camaro, when GM VP of Global Design Ed Welburn came up to him and told him it was time to bring back the Camaro. The result was 2006's Camaro concept, and ultimately the production 2010 Camaro. Peters' love of cars goes back even further than that, when he would sketch out gassers and hot rods on paper as a kid and sell the drawings for a nickel. That boyhood enthusiasm still drives him -- for example, he said the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray, which he oversaw from start to finish, was designed with nine- and 10-year old kids in mind. His design philosophy seems focused on not just making cars, but characters that enthusiasts can connect with.

With the face-lifted 2014 Camaro, Peters and his team wanted to make the car look lower, wider, and meaner. Peters told us his solution was to look to classic Camaro's like his '69, and fighter jets like the F-22 Raptor for inspiration, all while applying heat-management and aerodynamic tricks picked up during the development of the 2014 Corvette Stingray and the Camaro ZL1. For example, Peters said the smaller upper grille area and larger lower grille area were designed based on lessons learned while developing the ZL1. The Camaro ZL1, with its 580-hp 6.2-liter supercharged V-8, is really susceptible to heat, but by essentially flipping the Camaro's front fascia for 2014, cooling was improved while also updating the Camaro and making it look wider and meaner at the same time.

The rear of the new Camaro was also designed to be meaner than before. The "jewelry-like" taillights on the original 2010 Camaro were replaced with brick taillights inspired by the 1969 car. Not only did Peters look to 1969 for inspiration, but also the race track. Peters told us he pictured the rear of the 2014 Camaro sitting on the starting grid at a racetrack with its V-8 rumbling (it's worth noting that Peters is now making revving V-8 sounds as he describes this to us), with the more purposeful rear end serving as a "game face" for the Camaro brand.

The taillights weren't the only inspiration his 1969 Camaro ZL-1 provided. Peters also used the slim '60s blue bowtie badge on the back of his Camaro as a source of inspiration behind the "Flowtie," and the revised badge on the nose of the 2014 Camaro. "Changing the bowtie was difficult," Peters said with a hint of exasperation in his voice. With the thinner upper grille area, Peters wanted to use a slimmer bowtie on the nose of the updated Camaro. The usual bowtie, which he describes as "a candy bar," wouldn't work with the new grille area, but after much debate at the board, Peters and his team were allowed to slightly modify the Camaro bowtie.

Speaking of Peters' 1969 Chevrolet Camaro ZL-1 clone, it’s a beaut. Peters bought the body shell of what would become his Camaro ZL-1 clone in Huntington Beach for $1900 back in 1994, when he was working at GM's California design studio. It's 427 ZL-1 V-8 was meticulously pieced together part-by-part through the GM parts catalog, The '69 Camaro ZL-1, which Peters daily-drives, is fitted with a T56 six-speed manual, custom 15-inch wheels sporting modern rubber, uprated brakes, and a modern suspension system.

Before Peters had to head out, we had a chance to ask him about what he thinks of the competition, as well as the infamous Pontiac Aztek that he helped design. On the new 2015 Ford Mustang and updated 2015 Dodge Challenger, Peters says that both cars are "awesome."

"Competition with Challenger and Mustang improves the breed," said Peters, "all are awesome."
When we brought up the Aztek, Peters looked visibly disappointed with how the car wound up, especially when he told us its premise. The original idea of the Pontiac Aztek started back in the mid '90s when Peters and his team asked themselves "what would happen if we put a Camaro and an S10 in a blender?" The result was what the team christened the Pontiac Bearclaw. Then, a higher-up at GM requested the Bearclaw be built on the U-Body minivan platform. Peters and his team made do, with the 1999's Pontiac Aztek concept as the result. Then, GM's many committees got a hold of it. Someone decided it had to be "best-in-class," another decided it had to be covered in plastic body cladding, and so-on and so-forth. The result was the Aztek that we all love to hate. We'd say with designs like the C6 and C7 Corvettes, as well as the fifth-generation Camaro, Peters has more than made up for it.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:13 PM   #2
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If I had only known I would have been there. I wish all these major Camaro events were banner flag announcements at the top of the page before the events happen.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:24 PM   #3
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Hope this settles the taillight issue once and for all...
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:40 PM   #4
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The Aztek got so much hate because the F Cars just got axed and everyone was angry.

It was actually a trend setter and ahead of its time.

Just look at all the copy cats on the road now.
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Old 04-26-2014, 10:46 PM   #5
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The Aztek was pulled at the request of the National Dairy Council.

It seems that whenever an Aztek passed by a dairy, all the cows that saw it gave sour milk for a week...
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Old 04-27-2014, 07:07 AM   #6
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Interesting! Thanks for posting.
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Old 04-27-2014, 09:03 AM   #7
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I was there. I put a sticky in the california event section. I wish there would have been more camaros out there, tons of corvettes. Tom is a real down to earth guy, had a chance to talk to him about various things life, family and cars. Well worth it. Got him to sign my owners manual and a specialty camaro garage sign in the process lol. I'll try to post up pictures in the california event section of my original thread. Check out moto man tv for the actual interview from yesterday. The aztec was mentioned lol. Cheers.
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Old 04-27-2014, 11:57 AM   #8
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I wish I had either a Camaro or Corvette to attend this. Wish it could have been next weekend, lol. Great opportunity for those who attended!
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:14 PM   #9
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Hood

That explains the widened and flattened hood scope. The hood of the ZL1 is in the correct proportion of the overall hood design. Should have left it the same size and only added the heat extractors.
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Old 04-28-2014, 04:50 PM   #10
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Hope this settles the taillight issue once and for all...

what issue
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Old 04-28-2014, 05:51 PM   #11
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what issue
.....I like the 2014 tailights and front grille...Some people are gonna complain regardless of what they do..
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Old 04-28-2014, 05:53 PM   #12
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The Aztek got so much hate because the F Cars just got axed and everyone was angry.

It was actually a trend setter and ahead of its time.

Just look at all the copy cats on the road now.
I agree, look at the Prius and some others. I think the Aztek was butt ugly and probably another reason that Pontiac was axed but at the end of the day I still see some on the road so they must be pretty reliable to still be around to this day...
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:27 PM   #13
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as soon as the Aztek flopped everyone knew it was design-by-committee.
as for the 2014 and the smaller upper grille...it actually reminds more of the 3rd gen to me.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:32 PM   #14
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as soon as the Aztek flopped everyone knew it was design-by-committee.
as for the 2014 and the smaller upper grille...it actually reminds more of the 3rd gen to me.
Wow! I dont see that at all.
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:39 PM   #15
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saw one of these on the road a few weeks ago. I have to say, without the body cladding it looks no worse, probably better than many cars on the road today. Such as Hyundai Veloster, Nissan Juke, Kia Soul, Nissan Cube and I am sure there are more!





It was an odd little car before its time. I had a crunchy neighbor that used to take his camping all over new england. The rear actually turned into some sort of tent. I think if it came out today, with slightly rounder edges it could be sold to the people who are flocking to the array of ugly little nerd cars that have since flooded our streets
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:50 PM   #16
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absolutely love my 13' and would get a '14 in a heartbeat if i didn't have it. As a young guy, I can safely say that the camaro got me into cars as a whole, as a pass time… a testament to how great the design was

Keep it up GM, future generations will follow suit if you keep up these badass designs
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Old 04-28-2014, 06:57 PM   #17
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[QUOTE=EmeryZ28;7620681]saw one of these on the road a few weeks ago. I have to say, without the body cladding it looks no worse, probably better than many cars on the road today. Such as Hyundai Veloster, Nissan Juke, Kia Soul, Nissan Cube and I am sure there are more!




That poor lil' Aztec actually looks pretty good considering whats out there today and the other brands you mentioned...
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Old 04-28-2014, 07:00 PM   #18
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[QUOTE=Muscle Car Memories;7620733]
Quote:
Originally Posted by EmeryZ28 View Post
saw one of these on the road a few weeks ago. I have to say, without the body cladding it looks no worse, probably better than many cars on the road today. Such as Hyundai Veloster, Nissan Juke, Kia Soul, Nissan Cube and I am sure there are more!




That poor lil' Aztec actually looks pretty good considering whats out there today and the other brands you mentioned...

Breaking Bad!!


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Old 04-28-2014, 07:23 PM   #19
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"With the face-lifted 2014 Camaro, Peters and his team wanted to make the car look lower, wider, and meaner."

"The rear of the new Camaro was also designed to be meaner than before."

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Old 04-28-2014, 07:30 PM   #20
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"With the face-lifted 2014 Camaro, Peters and his team wanted to make the car look lower, wider, and meaner."

"The rear of the new Camaro was also designed to be meaner than before."

I dont know if it looks "meaner" but it does look cleaned up quite a bit and glad they moved the small backup lights back up into the tailights...
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:30 PM   #21
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That headline had me until "Aztek"...


ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE

GM Designer Tom Peters on Camaro, Corvette, and Pontiac Aztek
By Christian Seabaugh - Photos By Brian Vance - April 26, 2014

See All 21 Photos


.....With the face-lifted 2014 Camaro, Peters and his team wanted to make the car look lower, wider, and meaner. Peters told us his solution was to look to classic Camaro's like his '69....
No, Peters didn't you anything about the "like" belonging to his '69 Camaro, Mr. Seabaugh!

Somebody tell Christian Seabaugh and his editor that you do not make nouns plural by use of an apostrophe. You assign a quality of possession by doing that. I'm sick of people getting credit for articles and having their name in print when they use apostrophes willy-nilly, sometimes trying to pluralize with them and other times not sticking them onto plural nouns. It's nothing but hack writing; journalism used to be a respectable profession. Now it's a bad joke. But then again, it's Motor Trend.

If you feel the word "Camaros" looks awkward Mr. Seabaugh, simply write "Peters told us his solution was to look to classic Camaro examples like his '69...." or "Peters told us his solution was to look to classic Camaro designs like his '69....". Don't slap apostrophes onto words just because you're stumped.
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:35 PM   #22
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the original Aztec show car wasn't too bad.... but still ugly

the C6 was ultra conservative... poor Peters was scared to death he'd be fired. all he did was shrink it down and delete the pop ups.

now Camaro was a nice design... I didn't know he did the Camaro.
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Old 04-28-2014, 09:54 PM   #23
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the original Aztec show car wasn't too bad.... but still ugly

the C6 was ultra conservative... poor Peters was scared to death he'd be fired. all he did was shrink it down and delete the pop ups.

now Camaro was a nice design... I didn't know he did the Camaro.
The C5 was nice but the C6 was awesome just look at a C6 Z06 in Black and tell me you don't get a boner.
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Old 04-28-2014, 10:16 PM   #24
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the C4 was a big change... the C5 was a big change (I loved that rear). The C6 was YAWN. The C7 is another big change.

The C6 was made smaller to appeal to Europeans. The C6 cost less to manufacture than the C5. They will be doing the same thing for the new Camaro. Smaller cheaper. I can't blame GM if it makes $$$$, but I prefer larger cars myself.
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Old 04-29-2014, 12:16 AM   #25
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I was raised a Mopar kid during the muscle car era but I did grow up and enjoy ALL US car mfrs, that said I still point out Azteks and Vibes to my 2 boys (17 & 15) and let them know that those models destroyed a great American car brand....
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