The man responsible for the Chevrolet Corvette and recently revealed Vauxhall GT concept will retire after 44 years at General Motors

General Motors design chief Ed Welburn will retire this Friday after 44 years at the company.

Before he departs, we caught up with him to talk about his inspirations and greatest achievements.

You can read more about one of his last ever concepts, the Vauxhall GT, here.

How did you start in design?

I went to the Philly auto show at age eight and saw the Cadillac Cyclone concept. Then at 11, I wrote to GM design and asked what qualifications I needed. I started in 1971 as an intern in advanced design.

Who was your main influence?

I have Bill Mitchell [GM design chief in the 1960s/1970s] to thank. He was a huge inspiration for me.

And your favourite design?

I love them all. But any Corvette, really. That’s a car any designer dreams of doing. When we started on the C7, I opened it up to every one of my designers all over the world. We had 1000s of sketches in. They did their day jobs and worked on the Corvette at night.

Our Verdict

Vauxhall Corsa cornering

All-new Vauxhall Corsa raises its game with the end result being a classy supermini that’s decent to drive, but still short of the benchmark set by the Ford Fiesta

Find an Autocar car review

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Your greatest achievement?

More than any single vehicle, the challenge of bringing all GM design under a global organisation. Getting the right balance between design and engineering was very, very important to me. And the design quality of our cars has improved.

What does it feel like leaving GM after 44 years?

I feel good about leaving at this point in time. And I’m going to be busy. I’ve set up a consultancy and will lead the creation of an all-new design centre at GM. But I won’t miss having to get up at 4.15am every morning.

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Comments
2

30 June 2016
Strange but true, the Vauxhall Astra range, has some of my favourite styling, over the years.

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30 June 2016
So much so, as an 11 y/o I decided I wanted to style cars and created a whole model range. I was told by my careers advisor at school that it was a dream job and nobody gets their dream job. I ended up working in IT, but would still love the opportunity to style something like a modern day Opel Manta, Monza or even Calibra or Omega. #ChildhoodDreams

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Our Verdict

Vauxhall Corsa cornering

All-new Vauxhall Corsa raises its game with the end result being a classy supermini that’s decent to drive, but still short of the benchmark set by the Ford Fiesta

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week