Cadillac Should Do Its Own Version Of Hyundai’s Grandeur Concept
Cadillac should stop trying to hide from its past and celebrate it. Remix it, even.
It’s hard not to like Hyundai. Its current lineup is aces, and I love the retro-futuristic concepts that lean into 1980s and early ‘90s nostalgia we’ve been seeing lately. The LA Auto Show’s Kia KV6 and Hyundai Seven concepts are cool, but the internet (and us) can’t get over the one-off concept or resto-mod: the Hyundai Grandeur EV. Its existence got me thinking — why don’t more manufacturers do fun one-off concepts like this? Specifically, why doesn’t Cadillac do it?
The Hyundai Grandeur wasn’t exactly the pinnacle of luxury or design in its heyday. Hell, the car itself wasn’t even a ground-up Hyundai design. It was a Mitsubishi Debonair produced in left-hand-drive spec, made in a Hyundai factory. Hyundai’s early efforts at luxury cars weren’t great… no one talks about the XG350 or Grandeur with lust, as if those cars were some sort of pinnacle of luxe driving. It’s like lusting after a Dodge Dynasty, you don’t do it.
And yet, the Grandeur EV concept is so damn compelling. The exterior is identical to the old Grandeur, and in turn, the Mitsubishi Debonair, but the pixel-style lights do a lot of heavy lifting to convince us of the car’s new futurist outlook. Obviously, the interior is a work of art, but my point is that Hyundai leaned into the car’s kind of undesirable looks, from a not-so-good decade. They said “yep, this was one of our first efforts, it wasn’t very good looking, but look what we’ve done with it now,” as an homage, a respectful and intriguing look back and acknowledgment of their past.
Cadillac, on the other hand, seems to want to run away from its past. From the nonsensical and ever-changing naming convention or the logo changes, or that time it moved headquarters to NYC for dubious reasons and no one cared and it didn’t do anything to help the product line (deep breath), the GM luxury brand seems to love to ignore where they came from. That’s just too bad, because Cadillac has a rich history. Wouldn’t it be cool if Cadillac embraced its past, and one-upped Hyundai with a similar resto-mod on a not-so-good car? I propose this, Cadillac should either redesign or resto-mod a super 1980s era EV, specifically, a bustle-back Seville.
Stay with me here, the bustle-back Seville and the early Hyundai Grandeur have more in common than you might think. Both were very 1980s ideas of what luxury should look like, boxy, front-wheel-drive. The Seville’s styling was weird for the day, with its fake wire wheel hubcaps, and oddly styled 1930s business-coupe aping rear end, it would be right at home on the set of Dynasty. The seats are over-padded with velour or leather, often in colors like dark red or navy blue. It’s a horribly 1980s-looking mess. Sort of.
The Seville’s body and interior aren’t good, but with a set of modern interior design principles (screens everywhere), it could have given similar energy to Hyundai’s Grandeur EV one-off. So jaw-dropping many sketches, concepts, and clay scale models have been leaked out from GM’s design studio, it’s frustrating that most of Cadillac’s lineup is so uncompelling.
C’mon GM. Let your hair down, and let the designers do a resto-mod futurist Cadillac. It’ll be cool, I promise.
What to read next:
- Check out our new eighth-generation Honda Civic Si project car!
- Take a close look at the amazing aerodynamics of the Porsche Cayman GT4 RS.
- Spread these safety tips about driving on black ice.
- Gain a new appreciation for the C8 Corvette Z06’s mighty engine with this cutaway examination.
- See why our electric car tests in the midwest are meeting some challenges.