1995 Buick Questor Interior Design Development

by William Quan

During the 1983 Chicago Auto Show, GM introduced the 1995 Buick Questor to showcase GM’s technical forward thinking in the electronic future.

Back in September 1982, we were tasked with competing the interior design in under three months working at an off-site location after regular work hours so as not to interfere with our daytime design projects. Working offsite collaboration of various teams allowed us to bypass the typical GM layers and processes and get results in a shorter amount of time.

Paul Tatseos was the Buick Interior Studio Chief Designer. I was the primary designer for the interior, but could not have done it without the help of Ed Donaldson, the Assistant Chief Designer who spent the evenings with us. Chuck Jordan would swing by at times to keep abreast of our progress. My original sketch (sepia colored) for the instrument panel looked good on paper, but when it was modeled as a full size clay, it was not what I had expected. I had to quickly scramble to come up with a better alternative. The new sketch theme when translated to a full size clay turned out to be the one blessed by Jordan, so we were on our way. From that point on, things started to fall into place in terms of an interior that looked harmonious.

The seat cushions blended into the tunnel console as well as the door armrest. By working closely with some very forward thinking engineers from GM Delco’s California office, we were able to incorporate many of their electronic technologies into our interior. The interior was a showcase of electronic screens for navigation, climate and radio controls. The center console integrated a disc player for the navigation maps and a thermal printer. The steering wheel hub had controls for the touch button transmission as well as voice activated telephone calling. A motorized retractable panel forward of the steering column projected the HUD (Head Up Display) graphics onto a glass panel by the windshield for all driver information.

The project was exhausting while being exhilarating at the same time. I traveled with the teams to Chicago to watch them assemble the car on GM stage late into the night in order to be ready for the opening day.

Thanks to William Quan.

  1. It’s amazing how well some future trends were predicted in this concept. The use of screens is maybe one of the biggest hit. I like the predicted designs a lot.

  2. Clark lincoln

    I remember Bill Quan’s crisp and clean sketches. The forms were always very mechanical (not organic) and really forecasted future form and surface development a couple of generations in the future.

  3. Jon Albert

    Bill’s conceptual skills, along with his ability to convey form and exquisite mechanical detail with just linework, was always inspiring to see. His work was consistently fresh and dramatic, and it translated into some of Buick’s best interiors of the 1980s. Bill is also an accomplished aviation illustrator, capturing the action and drama of aircraft (and often crew) in flight as well as on the ground.

  4. Ken Bowes

    William! Nice to get a feeling for how work progresses at GM Design in those days. How was Questor received?

    Ken Bowes

  5. I graduated with Bill from the first class to graduate from the new Art Center Pasadena campus, June 1976. A true gentleman and talented designer. Rich Boyd

  6. Norman

    I am generally a performance-over-appearance type who’d first look at the powerplant, transmission and brakes of any car, but this one’s special. So many good and useful features that are now considered can’t-do-without (rear camera, anyone?) in one package. Also, the Kaiser-style dashboard/steering wheel area, very useful. I mean, why is there ANYTHING in front of the passenger? The extension of the dahboard across the car is the most wasteful misuse of space in automotive history, unless you’re going to have a Mitchell-style set of instruments there – and in this car, all that could have been on the screen. Masterful work here. Art,

  7. Paul Tatseos

    Bill was and is an exceptional designer he was instrumental in several Buick Interior designs heavily influencing the 1986 Riviera, Reatta and several others. Developing the design of the Questor interior from initial sketch to final show model in a few months was a remarkable achievement. Bill was also fun to work with always coming up with new ideas many based on his fascination with aircraft design.

  8. upirons

    I am so glad I saw this concept car in person at Autoworld in 1985. I remember thinking a rearview camera and navigation would be awesome to have. Now we take those things for granted!

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