How the Cadillac 1989 Solitaire Concept Show Car evolved
by Bruce Brooks
In late 1987, with the clay modeling completed on the Voyage, I had transferred to Advanced Design Studio No.3 to replace Mike W. Costello who had retired. Mike was the assistant to chief clay modeler Fred Hauschild. In early 1988 Fred retired and I was promoted to chief clay modeler to replace him.
With the success of the four door V8 Voyage, Cadillac decided that for the 1989 show car circuit they would have Advanced Design Studio No.4 do a two door V12 version. The V12 engine was a joint development between Cadillac and Lotus. That became the Cadillac Solitaire concept show car project for the studio with the design credit going to our chief designer Allen Young with some lineage derived from the Voyage, like the articulated hinged front wheel skirt. That provided the tire clearance when turning. Neither Jerry Brochstein or Allen Young originally used or wanted the front wheel skirt design in their early 3/8 scale model designs. Chuck Jordan made the executive decision to use that theme. He wanted to have an uninterrupted long low limo body character line to flow from bumper to bumper. Those changes were later added to the scale models as well as adapted to the first design direction of the full size clay models.
Don Brougham had been transferred to Cadillac Exterior Design Studio to replace their chief modeler, Ray Hildebrandt, who had retired. I was transferred from Advanced Design Studio No.3 back to Advanced Design Studio No.4 to be the chief clay modeler to take Don’s place. The rest of the studio clay modeling crew remained the same as all of those that had worked on the Voyage. This time we had a longer lead time for completion, and with final surface approval at GM Design, we again shipped the clay armature to Triad fabrication for them to complete a fiberglass running prototype show car. The debut show for the Solitaire was at the North American International Auto Show, January 7, 1989 in Detroit. This time Cathy Wagner and Rohan Saparamadu did their own interior design with that work done at GM Design before it was sent to Triad for final build there. Our studio Chief Engineer was Tom Lauer and the Technical Stylists were Tish Mastro and Cynthia Matusik.
At Triad Bill Rohlfing was the program manager for both of these show cars. He was a Triad employee, contracted by Cadillac to not only build the cars but he was responsible for all the logistics and care of these vehicles worldwide. He went everywhere they were shown. He coordinated any and all repairs. He coordinated the handling in and out of buildings, transport trucks and overseas air freight. He traveled to shows from Detroit to Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Paris, Geneva, Turin and others. When the vehicles were on display he was there as the guy representing Cadillac, answering questions at the press reviews, and he was also on the floor during the shows.
Both the of the Cadillac Voyage and Solitaire show cars are presently kept at the GM Heritage Center in Sterling Heights, Michigan (which will be relocating to Grand Blanc, Michigan in the near future). The plan is to move into the GM Customer Care and After Sales Headquarters (which is being relocated). That new location will be renovated to accommodate a much larger vehicle display area.
I would like to give a thank you to those that have contributed information and photos for this effort. They are: Jerry Brochstein, Allen Young, Bill Rohlfing, Dick Ruzzin, Jim Bieck, John Shettler, Jerry Palmer, and the archivists Christo Datini and Kathy Adelson in the GM Design Archives and Special Collections group.
1. Full-size airbrush rendering.
2. Paper mock-up on clay model on the patio.
3. First studio photo: Ivan Koop front fender, Bob Greening on PDQ point taker, Frank DeDona rear fender, Jerry Brochstein left rear, Allen Young right rear
4. Second studio photo: Ivan Koop front fender, Bob Greening back light, Cathy Wagner behind Bob
5. Third studio photo: Ivan Koop front fender, Frank DeDona rear quarter
6. Forth studio photo, left to right: Allen Young, Patrica Mastroianni (AKA) Tish Mastro, Bruce Brooks, Tom Lauer, Jerry Brochstein, Bill Dineen, Cynthia Matusik