1973 GM Cars Re-Imagined: Vintage "Photo-Chops" Discovered

Paul Niedermeyer
by Paul Niedermeyer
1973 gm cars re imagined vintage photo chops discovered

When GM’s new 1973 cars, especially the all-new “mid-sized” cars were introduced, my friend Paul Brown, an artist and fellow Bill Mitchell aficionado and I trotted down to Iowa City’s various dealers to experience them in the flesh. We found them to be somewhat over the top, and struggled to understand what Bill and his associates were thinking, or what someone had put in the Advanced Styling studio water coolers. Inspired by the the GM psychedelia, we loaded up on brochures, and went home and got out scissors and paste, and decided that we could “improve” on their imaginings. I wrote about it here before, but after writing yesterday’s CC on the Collonade Malibu, I realized that I still had some of our work (I tend to keep things). I’ve been a little shy about sharing them, but what the hell; it was a long time ago.

(click through twice to get full size view)

I’m more amazed than embarrassed that these exist, given how many times I moved in my early years. Some of them are worse for wear, and one of them was actually used as an envelope by PB to mail me something. I should point out that I have to give him the lion’s share of the creative credit for these. I know we worked on them together, but his artistic skills were well beyond mine. Or am I saying this in self-defense?

The tools (and results) may have been crude, but they still exist! How many digital photo-shops will folks be pulling up thirty seven years later?

Here’s proof that we didn’t just obsess on GM’s big barges: A 1974 Dodge Monaco.

I know that I didn’t have anything to do with this Gremlin that PB sent me, but I’m quite fond of that boat tail.

All right you car spotters: can you identify the two cars that were co-joined in this perspective-busting exercise?

I vividly remember being particularly inspired by Pontiac’s extravagant Grand Am. And I know we did a number of different takes on it. This is not my favorite, but it’s the only one still existent. Art: either one gets it, or one doesn’t. The quality of its expression may vary, but for some, its a way to try to make sense of the craziness of the world around us. And in 1973, US cars were pretty bizarre. How else should we have tried to understand what the designers were trying to tell us with their curious handiwork?

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2 of 23 comments
  • Nick Nick on Mar 14, 2010

    Did you so something with the Monaco? It's about the right width.

  • KarDanCreations KarDanCreations on May 27, 2014

    I've been working on a series of highly edited photo images transforming popular vehicles into models and variations that manufacturers perhaps should have made. Who else is doing similar to this nowadays with photoshop creating altered versions of production vehicles? I'm interested in seeing and comparing each other's designs. Does anyone know of an appropriate website to do this?

  • Dusterdude @El scotto , I'm aware of the history, I have been in the "working world" for close to 40 years with many of them being in automotive. We have to look at situation in the "big picture". Did UAW make concessions in past ? - yes. Do they deserve an increase now ? -yes . Is their pay increase reasonable given their current compensation package ? Not at all ! By the way - are the automotive CEO's overpaid - definitely! (That is the case in many industries, and a separate topic). As the auto industry slowly but surely moves to EV's , the "big 3" will need to be producing top quality competitive vehicles or they will not survive.
  • Art_Vandelay “We skipped it because we didn’t think anyone would want to steal these things”-Hyundai
  • El scotto Huge lumbering SUV? Check. Unknown name soon to be made popular by Tiktok ilk? Check. Scads of these showing up in school drop-off lines? Check. The only real over/under is if these will have as much cachet as Land Rovers themselves? A bespoken item had to be new at one time. Bonus "accepted by the right kind of people" points if EBFlex or Tassos disapproves.
  • El scotto No, "brothers and sisters" are the core strength of the union. So you'll take less money and less benefits because "my company really needs helped out"? The UAW already did that with two-tier employees and concessions on their last contract.The Big 3 have never, ever locked out the UAW. The Big 3 have agreed to every collective bargaining agreement since WWII. Neither side will change.
  • El scotto Never mind that that F-1 is a bigger circus than EBFlex and Tassos shopping together for their new BDSM outfits and personal lubricants. Also, the F1 rumor mill churns more than EBFlex's mind choosing a new Sharpie to make his next "Free Candy" sign for his white Ram work van. GM will spend a year or two learning how things work in F1. By the third or fourth year GM will have a competitive "F-1 LS" engine. After they win a race or two Ferrari will protest to highest F-1 authorities. Something not mentioned: Will GM get tens of millions of dollars from F-1? Ferrari gets 30 million a year as a participation trophy.