The Pontiac Solstice won attention for more than its sporty looks. General Motors is particularly quick to point out that the driveable concept came about in a mere 15 weeks.
It normally takes six months to a year to build a concept car. But GM had the resources in place to put the Solstice on the fast track - the designers, clay modelers and engineers. And the technology.
Key to the project's speed was three-dimensional design software from Alias Wavefront, a division of Silicon Graphics Inc. (sgi.com). Most of the numerous design modifications made to the full-sized clay model were done with Alias' digital modeling software called AutoStudio.
The software is not unique to GM designers. Alias says its software is used by almost all car companies.
"It's always fun to push a car very quickly and really get it going," says Nick Mynott, a modeler in GM's Los Angeles design studio. Mynott's specialty is working with the Alias software. His digital changes were transferred to the clay model by computer-guided milling machines.