It’s been a while since we last wrote on this blog, but that’s mainly because we’ve been so busy setting up our new company, WESTON WORLDWIDE (WOW) and keeping up with new projects.
For those of you who may not know, we’re the co-creators of the Cadillac Escalade, the GMC Yukon and the Hummer H3 – some of the most iconic vehicles in automotive history. So rest assured that our experience and expertise runs deep.
In this article, we’ll take you on a journey back in time – reliving some of our most memorable moments from the design and development of these iconic vehicles. A lot of the information contained here will be quite technical, so if you’re not really into car stuff, feel free to skip to the next section.
If you’re unfamiliar, the design process for any new vehicle begins with lots of sketches, ideas, and planning. For the Escalade, it was pretty simple – we had a clear picture in mind of what we wanted and needed, and once that was complete, it was just a matter of translating our vision to reality.
The H3 was a little more challenging. This was our first ever all-new vehicle, and the original plan was to bring it to market in 2010. However, when the global economy tanked in 2008, it took us several extra years to finally get the H3 right.
The basic concept behind the H3 was to combine the styling of a Land Rover with the efficiency of a small car. When we finally did roll it out in 2013, it was one of the most stunning cars ever created – with smooth lines, functional fuel injection, and an engine that could pull like a freight train. But that was definitely a combination of lots of talents and efforts from a lot of people.
Our Design Philosophy
Each vehicle we’ve worked on has had its own unique design philosophy, but they all followed a similar pattern. First, we studied the market research, looked at what was successful and why, and then set about building on that foundation. Next, we took into consideration our own experience and took what we knew worked well in other vehicles and applied it to this one.
One of the most important things to consider when designing any new vehicle is the driver’s experience. We want the driver to feel confident, safe, and comfortable behind the wheel, so we’ll always put the equipment where it’s needed and will never install anything that isn’t beneficial to the driving experience.
Another critical component is form – we want the vehicle to have a sleek and luxurious appearance that gives the driver a sense of pride and accomplishment when they glance in the mirror. So whether you’re driving down the street or on a winding road, the design should compliment and enhance the experience rather than hinder it.
We always start by sketching out a few basic shapes and forms. Sometimes we do this on paper, and other times we use a 3D modeling program like Auto CAD or Grasshader. Once we have the basic forms down, it’s usually just a matter of applying our creativity and making it real.
Creating The Vision
In the case of the Escalade, the design process actually began with a vision. We’d been driving our Cadillac for years and had always appreciated its sleek, elegant lines and luxurious feel. Then one day in the mid-2000s, we had a vision that the next generation of luxury cars should look more like the Escalade than the traditional round profile. Up until that point, the rounded-styled cars were considered fashionable and luxurious, so we had to bring this concept back as a new alternative.
It took us about a year of research and concept trials before we were finally able to bring our vision to life. We used this time to work on projects for other companies, but we always kept the Escalade in the back of our minds.
The Art Of Making It Real
The key to making any new design come to life is, quite simply, putting it into reality. For the Escalade, it was a matter of bringing the concept to life through a series of drawings – starting with the shell and moving into the more detailed and intricate parts. Once the basic shell was done, it was just a matter of bringing the rest of the vehicle to life through a rough draft.
In the case of the Yukon, we actually started with the engine and transmission before moving onto the rest of the vehicle. This is because we needed to figure out the best location for the fuel injection system before we could properly lay out the rest of the cabin. Similarly, for the H3 it was all about the undercarriage – which is where most of the design and engineering work took place. We used 3D modeling programs and actual physical prototypes to work out the kinks and get the ride just right.
This being said, we never really like doing things by halves. So even in the case of our smallest cars, the H3 and the Yukon, we actually started with the interiors first and then worked our way back to the exterior.
Bringing Design And Engineering Together
From the very beginning, the goal has always been to create something unique and special. Even in the case of our most iconic vehicles, the Escalade, GMC Yukon, and the Hummer H3, it was a team effort – with input and guidance from several different experts and individuals from different backgrounds. This is something that will continue to be a part of all of our vehicles – from the very first sketches right through to the final product.
When we design a vehicle, we always start with the exterior. The reason for this is because we feel that the outside conveys the overall style and elegance of the vehicle, so we want to make sure that the exterior reflects this. Once we have the exterior completed, it’s time to move on to the inside – which is generally the more technical and detailed part. Once both of these are done, it’s just a matter of applying our creative energies and bringing it all together.
Of course, these days it doesn’t end with just the creation of the vehicle. Now the entire process must be managed and maintained – from the initial design all the way through to the end of production. That’s a lot of work, and that’s why it can take so long to bring a new vehicle to market.
For those of you who are interested, we make our living by taking our experience and expertise in vehicle design and making it available for other companies to use. So if you have a project you need assistance with, feel free to contact us at any time – whether it’s a product you’re developing for your own company or a brand-new project you need some advice on.