Dream Machines

Exotic concept cars still dominate the Detroit Auto Show, but increasingly their real beauty lies under the skin.

Published: 20-Jan-2008

Ed Welburn, design chief at General Motors, has to be the happiest guy in Detroit. Not so long ago, GM was mired in a design drought that would have made our Maple Leafs' recent cup-less plight seem a trifle. Once the company that created the trends, The General had penned one Cimarron too many with absolutely nobody paying attention to the somnolent designs emanating from its studios.

Well, thanks to a recent spate of stylistic triumphs -- Buick Enclave, Saturn Sky, Chevrolet Malibu, etc. -- and with a little help from this year's announcement of a 550-horsepower version of the CTS -- Cadillac's press preview was the hottest ticket in Motor City.

And Welburn was literally the cat that swallowed the canary, his Cheshire grin just one of the indications of how wonderful it must be to be back on top of the game. Often deferring to fellow GM division heads, he nonetheless allowed how, yes, the absolutely gorgeous Cadillac CTS Coupe concept was a) likely to be produced, b) would almost assuredly be available with a diesel for European consumption and that c) it, too, would share the 6.2-litre supercharged V8 that makes the latest CTS-V such a powerhouse.

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