Chief Designer Opens Up About 2019 Camaro Refresh15
Now that the mass has had time to take in the 2019 Camaro and its refreshed (read: divisive) looks, we can compare and contrast those feelings with the lead designer’s thoughts.
Motor Trend interviewed Camaro lead designer John Mack, and in a report published Tuesday, he opened up about what influenced the new looks.
The first notable bit actually involves the first-generation Camaro. Mack said the RS and base LT car actually channel the original Camaro in the grille design. Like the 2019 Camaro’s ancestor, it too features a large center-opening grille with a “downplayed” lower grille. That wasn’t the case for the 2019 Chevrolet Camaro SS, though.
According to Mack, the design team did not work from the SS down. Instead, the team looked at unique styles for each model. In this case, the base models came first, then the SS. He said the 2019 Camaro SS makes an “impactful graphical statement” with an over-the-top look. Perhaps correctly, he called the design a “touch polarized.” In the end, the SS’ new looks are meant to keep a sinister look.
He also mentioned the functional aero bits this time around. The previous base Camaro’s RS package was merely a cosmetic upgrade, but the 2019 Camaro ushers in functional parts. The air curtains route air in and out the other side, and functional extractors in the lower diffuser aid the Camaro’s aero mission.
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So I was playing around with photoshop on the new Camaro. Seeing the new facia was like a GM fan on a Ford lot. Something to me about the new front end was just not right. It literally looks like crap to me and reminds me of a previous gen sonic. So I was playing with photoshop and removed the Chevy Bow Tie off the bumper. Looks much better. That was what made the entire car look like crap. Either place it in the same area as the SS logo but in the center or remove it.
I don’t know how to use photoshop lol but There is a picture floating around if if the cross bar was body colored and the bow tie was in the upper grille the front end would look really clean.
I’m sure this will grow on everyone once the initial shock wears off.
The Sonic was the first thing I thought of when I saw the big black plastic bumper bar going across the front of the Camaro SS. It looks so cheap and tacky… And then they stuck the bowtie right on the center of it like a SIlverado truck would have. It took tacky to a whole new level! And then they stuck the awful Elvis side burns on it from the Tahoe (now SIlverado too) and enlarged them to where they almost look like fangs to really make sure it was the highest level of tacky.
The whole thing is awful. I said this yesterday, there’s a photoshopped picture of the blue one out there and everything is fixed. Bowtie moved up, center bar colored blue, top grill area isn’t slanted backwards but sits perfect…
Do a side by side comparison of the new NASCAR Camaro roof line with the existing production model roof line.
The new 2019 Camaro still looks good, but it would be great with the slightly higher roof, which looks great from all angles, and solves the much needed outward visibility issue.
I really hope John Mack is feeling the heat for this misstep. And I hope that if there is a 7th gen, that he doesn’t have the opportunity to mess that one up as well.
Out of curiosity, anyone know who the lead designer was for the 2016-2018 6th gen?
Ed Welburn kept his hands tightly on the reigns of the design team during – 16-18 gestation period. He’s a nearly fanatical Camaro fan. In my opinion it’shows on both the 5th and 6th gen early models.
If you look at it as sort of an homage to the big grille from the 1970 Camaro, its sort of starts to make sense, the 70 also had the bumper dividing it too in most cases, its sort of a hybrid of the base 70 Camaro front end mixed with the 70 RS front end. The double round tail lights are also a throwback to the 1970.
I still don’t love it, but I’d like to see more.
Not sure why they mixed these cues with the still pseudo 1969 styling, but hey…….
The SS front end is the only one of the refreshes I really like. The others look like they have a guppy look?
When the Gen6 came out a lot of people hated it because it did not make a radical departure from the Gen5 in the looks department. Chevy makes the radical departure and a lot of people hate it. I like that Chevy is trying to modernize the look. They need to get away from the retro, and this is a start toward Gen7. Everyone had to know that the design team wasn’t going to be able to change the whole car for the refresh.
I personally think the car looks good and will probably look better in person or publication rather than staged CGI photos. On top of that it will still be a world beater in terms of performance. Also after about six months people will get used to the car and probably even think it looks good. No matter what, it looks better than the droopy nosed and butt Mustang. The Camaro at least looks aggressive rather than looking like it needs a dose of Viagra.
The one thing I have definitely noticed about all of GM’s lineup recently is the bean counters are back in force and GM cars are once again getting hammered for poor interiors and bland styling by a lot of publication reviews. Just look at Silverado interior versus RAM Interior. It is most noticed to me though when GM is proud to roll out more car based FWD SUV’s and then Ford drops the RWD based Aviator and plans to move Explorer back to RWD. Ford gets a real 4X4 Bronco and Chevy gets a Malibu on stilts Blazer. Sad.
Bottom line, this Camaro is coming. Whining won’t change it. The car will still be a magnificent beast to drive, and if those who actually are going to buy one want too, the aftermarket will probably be able to take care of many of the gripes.
I would like to discuss this, but I don’t want you to think that I’m just angrily rage-typing away here. Since it’s often difficult to convey tone over text, I just want to add this little disclaimer that I’m only hoping to discuss and converse here about the topic. Sorry about my upcoming long post.
The 5th Gen concept back in 2006 was a huge hit. I personally loved it the moment I saw it, as I feel the vast majority did as well (except for Mustang fans that were jealous, of course). That concept car made me obsessed with the Camaro, and made me want to be a car enthusiast. Likewise, the 5th gen production car was another one that I loved the moment I saw it. Based on sales numbers of that car, and based on the reactions early owners got while driving around in those cars, I think it’s a fair statement to make that it was extremely visually appealing to a very broad audience.
The 5th gen ZL1 was another car that I personally loved the moment I saw it, and based on initial public reactions, so did a significant portion of the targeted public. That car seemed to hold a resemblance to the Transformers 2 Bumblebee car, which many people loved and many even tried to recreate the look of that when they first saw it. This point is an important one that I’ll bring up again later.
The 6th gen reveal was overall more positively received than negatively. Yes, there was a portion of the population that disliked how it was too similar to the outgoing 5th gen refresh. But if you go back to the polls on this website (or any others), you’ll see that more people liked it than not. Same goes for the 6th gen ZL1, which received very strong positive public opinion on its appearance, and also saw sale numbers be higher than GM anticipated.
The T5 Bumblebee car was shown to us a little over a year ago or so? That car was almost unanimously hated by all. I only recall a small handful of people from other forums that said they liked it, but pretty much everyone had horrible things to say about its appearance. Furthermore, no one tried to recreate it. No one made it their profile pics on Camaro related forums. And no one talked about it after a few weeks. Total opposite to the reaction of the T2 Bumblebee car that I mentioned earlier.
To take that T5 car and base the SS off of it is a major miscalculation, in my opinion. There was already lots of evidence that it would be hated. I understand that there are a few people, yourself included, that like the look, but most people don’t. Look at the polls on this website or any others for proof. And I personally do not understand the logic of “just wait a bit and you’ll start to like it.” I special ordered my 2017 SS the first week it was available. When I drive around in it now, my wife and I STILL catch people cranking their necks around to get a look, and we still catch their jaws dropping. That’s not an exaggeration. When I park my car somewhere I can still see it, I still catch people stopping as they walk by and looking at it. I still get strangers walking up to me, wanting to talk about it and take a few pictures. These people all love the look immediately after seeing it. The amount of aftermarket changes I’ve made are window tint, OEM black taillights…and…that’s it. Are future buyers supposed to tell people, “Yeah, it’s pretty ugly at first…but just give it a while and I promise it will kinda grow on you!”
Everyone understands that this car is happening and we most likely cannot do a single thing to change it. However, the point of people voicing their concerns is to let GM know to do better next time. Previous complaints and issues have been heard by them and addressed. For example, the complaint about the low outward visibility was addressed with the new rear-view camera mirror. We as consumers have the right to opt out of making a purchase, and can voice our reasons why if we want. The hope is that GM will notice, listen, and work harder to make us happy in the future.
I have suggested many times here that one of the reasons the 6th -Gen Camaro is struggling with sales is the much loved design of the 5th-Gen. I still look at that generation of Camaro when ever I see one, it has worn well and owners of 5th-Gens are quite happy about the pleasure that design gives them every time they walk up to it. For them it’s a keeper.
The 6th-Gen design is a more purposeful design that goes with and complements that incredible chassis. While it will likely not be considered as classically iconic as the 5th-Gen, it will be appreciated for what it is, eventually. The new face lift comes on top of an already controversial design, for some, but will have its proponents and eventually a fan base.
I for one, like the design changes on all trims, just don’t, as yet, like them better then the previous iteration. As a refresh, it was more about purpose then styling, and I think that is a clue about what GM/Chevy performance is all about these days, getting it done, sharpening the scalpel… and kudos for that.
My only issue regarding the Camaro is personal, deciding between the Turbo 1Le and the V6 1le. if the Turbo had 300+ Hp, the decision would be easier. And if the V6 wasn’t such a great engine with a great exhaust song, it would surely fall to the Turbo. The exterior design isn’t a factor in the choice of what to order, the driving feel and very competent, world class handling is what draws me..
Why in hell would you want to polarize people with this fabulous automobile!!!!!! It was a stupid statement. It is a sports car, or muscle car…………you want it mean and nasty…….Damn you guys can screw things up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Remember when the design team wanted the 6th gen to go more in the direction design of the Buick Avista concept, but the idea was ultimately over ruled? Yeah, I think that should have been the way to go.
The Avista is what the Camaro should have been… Sexy & Mean. Just put a Bowtie in the grill and be done.
i think that they should make the inside more space so i can be more comfortable and less cramped up