9 Shocking Redesigns Through Automotive History
Now that the 2015 Mustang has had its unofficial – and official – launch in social media, it’s had some time to settle in, and gallons of ink will be spilled over the next year on whether it’s a success or not. Through the lens of time, let’s take a look at nine of the more significant redesigns in automotive history, that either set a new standard or sent designers back to the drawing board.
1967 Cadillac Eldorado
GM’s luxury brand had been selling the Eldorado consistently since 1953. After 1957, though (when the Eldorado Brougham became one of the most exclusive, expensive cars in the world) the Eldorado just became a highly-trimmed version of the rest of Cadillac’s line. But in 1967, the Eldorado underwent a radical redesign that aimed it squarely at the burgeoning personal luxury car market. It retained the 429-cu.in. Cadillac V8, but under the crisp, modern Bill Mitchell styling, the Eldorado introduced the luxury market to front-wheel drive.
We tend to forget how popular the 1967 Eldorado was, but at 17,930 units the first year, it set sales records for the nameplate, and sent Cadillac to its best sales year to that point.
General Motors A-Body
General Motors A-Body intermediate platform arrived in 1964, and featured individual models from Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile and Buick, riding the crest of the muscle car wave through the 1960s and early 1970s. It managed to redesign the A-Body in 1973, losing the convertible bodystyle. Colonnade A-Bodies were big, though, and kept getting bigger until their demise in 1977.
The redesigned A-Body that arrived in 1978 was a completely new car, intended to cope with the realities of a new, more fuel-efficient world in the 1980s. First off, they were smaller. The new A-Body that launched in 1978 would be approximately the size of the X-Body Nova, a foot shorter than the car it replaced. It was also drastically lighter, by a thousand pounds in some cases, yet offered more trunk volume, and more leg room and head room inside. When GM designated its new front-wheel drive cars as A-Bodies in 1982, the 9 models and four bodystyles of the A-Body platform (Chevy Malibu, El Camino, Monte Carlo, Pontiac Grand Am, Grand Prix, Bonneville and Le Mans, Oldsmobile Cutlass and GM Caballero) changed names to the G-Body, and would carry the water for GM’s entire lineup until 1988.