Automotive enthusiasts also use the phrase “long hood” to describe this unique physical attribute, and appreciate the prominent role that it played in defining the great treasures of the Classic Car Club of America (CCCA) as well as the sensuous post-war era European sports cars and Mitchell / Bordinat / Engel-era American personal coupes.
Cadillac knows this, particularly the designers who work in its Exterior Studio. In fact, GM’s Design Center houses a wonderful library that contains one of the world’s largest collections of books on the history of the automobile, and is available to designers as well as others at GM to freely use. Many do, some undoubtedly to immerse themselves in the glory of Cadillac’s past and thus be inspired to envision a future worthy of the marque’s highest ideals and grandest traditions.
Soon after its inception, BEV3 did indeed add a provision for a second, longer axle-to-dash in the range of four to six inches, for most future Cadillac electric models and for other future premium vehicles in the future GM EV portfolio. Not surprisingly, the provision received scrutiny during the development of the Cadillac Lyriq, some challenging it for negatively impacting investment, piece cost, weight, turning radius, ease of parking, and plant complexity, and for being unnecessary for component packaging and vehicle functionality. These were proper concerns to raise and it was proper that they were fully considered and ultimately dismissed, with customer appeal and pricing winning the day.
Gordon Buehrig, the great automobile designer of the first half of the 20th Century once said that good design is largely a matter of proportion. He would undoubtedly have agreed with Cadillac’s advocacy for a longer axle-to-dash as part of a bold plan to elevate the marque’s status within what his generation referred to as the fine car market.
One should note that Mr. Buehrig did not say that proportion was everything, or that a long hood guaranteed good proportion and a short hood prevented it. Proportion is defined by three axes, not one, and there are automotive shapes yet to be envisioned, some which may prove key to mass EV acceptance and profitability including in the luxury space.
In future articles, GM Authority will explore GM – its products and business strategy, its inner workings, its vision and another quality inherent in all car companies – its blind spots. We will do this because in these heady times, we must remain alert and informed. There is a lot riding on the hood.