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GM Design Chief Ed Welburn Heads Into Retirement

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Buick Avenir Concept, Ed Welburn

General Motors has announced that its head of design, Ed Welburn, is set to retire on July 1, 2016, bringing an end to a long, 44-year career with the American automaker.

Welburn will be replaced by Australian Michael Simcoe, who’s been with GM for 33 years and previously served as its international design vice president for Australia and Korea.

Responsible of the company’s design team since 2003, Mr. Welburn, 65, had a long and prosperous career with General Motors and, by 2005, oversaw the global design language of GM. He was the first African-American to hold such a position at a car company.

Mary Barra, GM chairman and CEO of General Motors, only had about him:

“GM Design is among the most respected and sought-after organizations in the industry because of Ed’s leadership. He nurtured a creative, inclusive and customer-focused culture among our designers that has strengthened our global brands.”

As for Michael Simcoe, he will become the first Vice President at GM born outside of the United States. He joined the company in 1983 as a designer for Holden in Australia and quickly went on to become the director of design for GM Asia Pacific two years later.

He was named executive director of Asia Pacific Design in 2003 and, the following year, was promoted to executive director of North American Exterior Design, where he was responsible for critical and commercial successes like the GMC Terrain, Buick LaCrosse, Chevrolet Camaro and Equinox, and Cadillac CTS.

Simcoe, together with Mr. Welburn, designed the stunning, award-winning Buick Avenir Concept (pictured) and introduced the Chevrolet Colorado Xtreme and Trailblazer Premier show cars at the Bangkok International Motor Show. The man has a lot of experience…

What would you rate Ed Welburn as the design boss of GM?

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BMW

BMW Creates Meteoric M850i Night Sky For Outer Space Geeks

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BMW M850i Night Sky Meteorite

The unique 8 Series features meteorite inlay and 3D-printed brake calipers.

BMW has revealed the M850i xDrive Coupe Night Sky, a one-off take on the new M850i created by the company’s Individual Manufaktur team for astronomy fans.

The car features an outer space theme. Inside, hunks of meteoric rock adorn the center console, start/stop button, shift lever, iDrive controller and other surfaces, while Widmanstätten surface pattern of meteorites can be found on the center console’s trim finishers, brake discs, exterior mirror caps and the front splitters.

For the non-space geeks among us, Widmanstätten patterns are the result of iron-nickel crystals forming on meteors over the course of around 10 million years and cannot be reproduced on Earth.

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Special LED project constellations of stars on the center console and other interior surfaces.

Not content with the space theme, BMW created new lightweight brake calipers using generative design processes (3D printing). The pieces manage to be 30 percent lighter than the 8 Series’ usual calipers without negatively affecting necessary strength characteristics.

The one-off Night Sky edition is finished in San Marino Blue metallic paint over a black base coat. Its debut coincided with a meteor shower that took place overnight from January 3 – 4, resulting from the Earth briefly passing through the orbit of the asteroid 2003 EH, with fragments from the asteroid entering our planet’s atmosphere and burning up.

Some of these meteoric fragments were incorporated into the BMW Individual M850i Night Sky’s interior.

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Design/Style

Is Lincoln Bringing Back Its Suicide Doors?

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Lincoln Suicide Doors

Suicide doors could find their way on an upcoming Lincoln model, but which one?

Center-opening doors were a distinguishing feature of the mid-1960s Continental, and it seems they are coming back. After all, if cars like the Toyota FJ Cruiser, BMW i3 and Rolls-Royce Phantom can pull off center-opening doors that comply with modern safety regulations, why can’t a Lincoln?

Well, Lincoln has released a teaser photo (pictured) hinting at the return of suicide doors for an upcoming production model. The caption on the image read:

“Making a statement without a word. Center-opening doors elevated the Lincoln #Continental of the mid 1960’s to the pinnacle of mid-century style, a car driven by the likes of Pablo Picasso. #TBT… or is it? Stay tuned to our Instagram feed for more.”

It remains a mystery which particular production model might get suicide doors, but there is a good chance it won’t be the slow-selling Continental, which will reportedly be discontinued after 2020.

Considering Lincoln’s is now essentially an SUV-only brand, could it be an SUV that’s getting the suicide doors? Just imagine…

The Navigator Concept unveiled in 2016 had gull-wing doors like the Tesla Model X; despite the production model ditching the fanciness for traditional doors, the company probably sees an advantage in SUVs that lack a B-pillar for easier accessibility.

Suicide doors will certainly help set struggling Lincoln apart from the competition.

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Design/Style

Nissan GT-R50 By Italdesign Heads Into Production

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Production Nissan GT-R50 Italdesign, blue

Only 50 units of the Italian-bodied GT-R will be made.

Nissan has approved the GT-R50 by Italdesign for production.

Created to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both the GT-R and Italdesign, the striking supercar is based on the latest GT-R Nismo but features unique body panels  and a customized interior created by the Turin-based design house.

The concept that debuted at the 2018 Goodwood Festival of Speed had a gray and gold color scheme, but Nissan says customers will have many other colors to choose from.

Nissan will produce just 50 units of the Italdesign GT-R, each priced at an exorbitant  990,000 euros ($1.13 million) before taxes and options. In case you’re wondering, the normal GT-R Nismo starts at $175,540.

The GT-R50 by Italdesign is available for order now, so act fast. Deliveries begin in 2019.

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