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Do we know who is responsible for the exterior design of the Solstice? Was it an individual or a design committee? As one of the greatest American designs of the past 30 - 40 years, someone should be getting a lot of credit. We know the names of the designers of many great cars, I hope that the name of the Solstice's designer isn't lost.
 

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palmer said:
Do we know who is responsible for the exterior design of the Solstice? Was it an individual or a design committee? As one of the greatest American designs of the past 30 - 40 years, someone should be getting a lot of credit. We know the names of the designers of many great cars, I hope that the name of the Solstice's designer isn't lost.
I thought it was Bob and his handy cocktail napkin :lol
 

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Autoweek article on Design of the Solstice: Solstice for all seasons: Pontiac concept goes from drawing room to auto show in four months

and another article HERE (from Detroit News).

They both identify Franz VonHolzhausen as the exterior designer, and Vicki Vlachakis as the interior designer.

I think, if I'm not mistaken, that the saturn brochure with two designers and the Saturn Sky in the background (the one with a guy sitting to the right, and a girl from the waist up, Sky to the left in background) are Franz and Vicki.
 

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Franz Von Holzhausen also did the Chevrolet SS. Tried finding anything else he did, but didn't find anything yet.
 

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Whoa! Interesting link here:

Stolen by Design? An exclusive AutoWeek look at the fine line between design inspiration and theft


Stolen by Design? An exclusive AutoWeek look at the fine line between design inspiration and theft





Fr AutoWeek: "King's Infiniti Ronin drawing, above, shares design language with the Pontiac Solstice coupe, below. "


Fr AutoWeek: "Ronin sketch (above) and Solstice roadster: Fish swimming in the same stream, but not identical. "

Then again, there's only so many ways to spin a two-seat coupe or roadster - I've got prolly 15 sketches of my own that look like some variant of these. You could prolly find a picture of the chry. crossfire and it looks like the Solstice Coupe, and find a pic of the Z4 and it would fit in with the lower pics.

And according to Rob King: ..."There are times when two studios are going to come up with the same look, the same design. I’ve come to realize that the designs are similar, but it’s unlikely that [GM] borrowed from me,” King says. “Ken [Okuyama] has drawn this design before, Franz [von Holzhausen] has drawn it, I’ve drawn it. It’s the same design language. It’s a form language for muscle cars and power"...

From the article
AutoWeek article said:
...telling King that the unique Pontiac styling of the Solstice was shaped in the European tradition, similar to the Jaguar F-Type ... That design language goes back to the Harley Earl days. That is truly distinctively GM’s design...
AutoWeek article said:
...Tom Semple, head of design for Nissan Design of America, was more blunt in his assessment of Solstice, which was one of his favorite concepts at the ’02 Detroit show: “It’s so simple and generic that I don’t think anybody could claim ownership. It would be very hard for anybody to say ‘That’s my design.’ There’s no way you can patent a classic, simple shape.”...
Fascinating. I guess the deeper answer (in reading the article) is that Franz didn't so much as "design" the Solstice as "discover" the shape. At least that's how I'd interpret it - these designers all go to either Pasedena in CA or CCS in MI, they read all the same lit, they learn to research the same way. They learn to be a "design factory", and I think it's interesting how humans will try to "own" something that might just be a nearly universal (or thought-inbred) concept.

Just goes to show that there's a fine line between 'inspiration' and copying or plagarism.

BTW, I'm now charging $.02 each time anyone referrs to or downloads a post with the term "AFBTS"!!! Literature is much more clear on copywrite protection. You'll be receiving a bill... :) Imagine the surprise at C&G! :jester: :lol: :glol: :cheers: :thumbs:

[Moderator's Note: Since most of the answers here are news articles, I'll likely move this topic to "Solstice in the News" in a few days.]
 

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I remember seeing a TV show covering the auto show in which the Solstice first appeared (it may have been ESPN's coverage). Anyway, on the show there was a short segment where they interviewed Franz while standing in front of the concept. He said that he had spent the weekend at the Monterey Historics just before designing the Solstice. He went on to say that the '50's and '60's Jaguars that he saw there were a major inspiration of the design.
 

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solsticeman said:
They both identify Franz VonHolzhausen as the exterior designer, and Vicki Vlachakis as the interior designer.
And that Vicki is pretty damn cute too! :thumbs

As far as the Ronin and Solstice comparison, perhaps similar if you are considering they both have four wheels and headlights, otherwise, I don't see it. All cars have to have the same basic requirements. It's the small details that give it it's character. The Ronin fascia is different, the headlights are different, the hood is different, waistline is different, windshield has more rake....
 

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Darkhamr said:
And that Vicki is pretty damn cute too! :thumbs

....
Now we know the origin of your avatar, darkhamr!!!
 

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How long ago did he leave? Did he leave in time to have any input on the upcoming Miata? :willy:
 

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The rumors I heard were in the neighborhood of about 2-3 weeks ago???

It makes sense, I actually heard about him leaving from one of my Ford contacts before my GM contacts. I don't know all the details of how much Ford owns of Mazda, but she didn't know where F.V. was going either, but had "heard that the designer of the Solstice went on to greener pastures". I did think it odd that I heard of it outside GM first, but I'm starting to understand why.

If he left a few weeks ago, I'm sure he was negotiating with Mazda long before that, depending on the position he is getting at Mazda. I know policy at the big three is pretty much an escort out the door just about right then and there if you quit and go to work for a competitor - no such thing as a 2-week notice.

I'd bet it's especially so in something as sensitive as GM's Design Studio: Think about it - that dude has seen everything on GM's plate, everything they've been thinking for strategy for the next 5-10 years!!! THEN he leaves GM to go to a (semi)Japanese competitor? WOW.

I bet it's a lot like if you find out your significant other has had and affair and is leaving you - you wonder about the conversations you had, the times you spent together, and then start thinking "was the other person involved when I said this or that?" or "I wonder if they were talking to the other person on the other end of the phone when I was <making dinner, in that design meeting, fill in your activity here>."

Even with the negotiation time, unless he was leaking confidential information to Mazda ahead of his negotiation, I doubt he had time to influence the current Miata.
 

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solsticeman said:
Had heard that he had left GM, but didn't know he went to Mazda...
And the rivalry heats up again. Pontiac should never have come out with the statement about the Solstice out sprinting the Miata. Mazda went and stole their designer ;)
 

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Really, the Miata's only real flaws are:

Styling (not to some, but definitely to me)
Size (inside, and again not to some, but definitely to me)
Power:Weight ratio (which is better in the MSM, but the base and turbo need more).

The NC, I'd be willing to bet, are addressing the second and third. It looks like they grabbed up someone who might be able to address the first.

Hope they give them AFTBS's!!!!:glol:

And ten more non-functional eye candy things! :lol:
 

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Yea I doubt he had anything to do with NC. Interesting since his designs are kind of edgy that he'd go to Mazda which are kind of bland (sorry). Maybe signals a change in Mazda styling?
 

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Wonder if we'll end up with something like the HHR vs PT Cruiser going on here?
 
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