Welburn tells how he really feels about GM's design work

Cadillac CTS-V Coupe: A winner in Welburn's book

Ed Welburn has been busy since he retired as General Motors design boss last summer. He founded The Welburn Group at Ladder 12, a Detroit outfit that consults on design. He was inducted into the Automotive Hall of Fame, and he received several honors, including an honorary doctorate in fine arts from the College for Creative Studies.

He's also been reflecting on his long career. In a recent interview with Car and Driver, Welburn talked a bit about what worked and what didn't among the many vehicles he helped create.

For example, he said the current Cadillac CTS-V Coupe was a winner.

Welburn: Who was designing for "Star Wars"?

"That was a car no one asked for. It was just someone in the studio had an idea and they brought it to me. I thought it was cool, said let's pursue it, and the leaders of the company loved it and it went into production. It went into production in a very different way, and it wasn't the result of a lot of market research. That's exciting."

As for cars that are still cringe-worthy, he said: "Yeah, there are those cars that have been on the road a while that you just wish were no longer around. A couple cars from the days of Saturn. Saturn was a great learning experience, but some of the last Saturns really didn't hit the mark."

Another vehicle missed the mark so much that Welburn wouldn't even name it.

"There's one that stands out, but I'm not going to tell you what that is. Vehicles where things don't add up. There's one designer in the front, a very different one on the rear, and another on the sides. It really doesn't go together, and the nose looks like Darth Vader's face."

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