With all the Thanksgiving Day festivities and ensuing Black Friday madness past us, snuggling up with a nice in-depth story about the Cadillac ATS seems to be a perfect way to spend (at least a part of) this Sunday. And that’s exactly what the fine folks at Esquire have on tap for us.
Titled How to Build an American Car, the in-depth look at Cadillac‘s first real attempt to dethrone the German automakers at their own game runs the gamut of the design and development of the ATS all the way to the process of sourcing raw materials and manufacturing the vehicle. In case you haven’t heard, the ATS — along with “its sound, its feel, its guts are wholly American” — is Esquire’s 2012 Car of the Year.
Make sure you have a solid hour to read this highly-recommended piece for yourself, unless you’re planning on reading it over time in bits and pieces. For those who are still not convinced of reading the article, we present the following excerpt:
The fender in Chris’s hands — he never saw what went into it. The stories behind it. How long it took to get there. He doesn’t know as he cinches the fender and moves on to the next that the parts were studied over the course of four years, were first literally ripped from the competition in a warehouse in Warren, Michigan — German fenders, doors, engines — so that engineers could learn about shapes and dimensions, their weight, to figure out how they worked; he doesn’t know about the meetings at Cadillac, the decision to declare for the entry-level luxury market and gear the company’s brand toward a younger clientele; about the disagreements over engine size and weight; the effort involved in getting GM to spend what it took on the engineering; the challenges of creating a car. Chris never saw that. He was hired specifically to work on this car. The ATS he sees is a silhouette, a skeleton of silver referred to as the Body in White. But it’s his car even at that stage, each one that rolls off the line an extension of himself, his family, the hands of a thousand men and women who touched it before him.
The full feature is filled with these kinds of gems — so if this doesn’t pique your interest, we don’t know what will.