The Cars Of GM Designer Wayne Kady: Slantbacks And Bustlebacks From Beginning To End
In the case of former GM Designer Wayne Kady
fascination with sloping tails started with....what else?
Just about the most beautiful sloping tail ever.
own, during high school, in the years 1953 - 1955, with the Jaguar's tail very much accounted for.
is in his
custom roadster on the family farm in Central California.
This was the golden age of DIY custom cars, and although Wayne's
never got quite finished, it certainly shows his
love of a long sloping tail.
There's a detailed account of his
roadster here at forgottenfiberglass.
Wayne wanted to be a car designer from an early age, and he never finished the roadster because was accepted to Pasadena's Art Center on his second try in 1955, shortly after the end of high school.
started (in 1961) and ended his
GM career with Cadillac
, but had two stints at Buick in between.
first acknowledged contributions to a production car were the 1965 - 1966 Cadillacs, which are somewhat polarizing for having abandoned the knife-edge styling of their predecessors.
And their successors, the 1967s, revived the sharp creases with a vengeance.
'65 - '66s stand out, almost anomalies, although they have a certain subdued and understated charm.
This one dated 1/27/66 is identified by Kady
as "Proposal for the 1967 Eldorado program".
Both of these are predictive of the 1971 Eldorado, the first car Kady is credited with being the lead designer.
There were two finalists for the 1976 Seville design, on of them being this semi-fastback by Kady
This picture is of an earlier concept called LaSalle, dated June 26, 1973, which is a bit after Kady
went to Buick.
But according to an account of how the Seville came to be, this was originally designed or conceived by Kady
left, and its themes were then applied later to a Nova-based clay that became on of the two finalists.
In 1974 Kady
had returned to Cadillac, and worked on the final production design.
tenure at Buick was brief (1972 - 1974) just long enough to do(in) the Riviera.
In 1974, Kady
was made Chief of Cadillac Exterior Design
, a position he
held through 1988.
In that position, he
would presumably have had some influence on the downsized 1977 Cadillacs, although the usual Kady hallmarks are not in evidence.
Although Mr. Kady
should get an award for being its single greatest inspiration, the 1970s Superfly era was truly over by 1980; at least with mainstream luxury car buyers.
Undoubtedly, the very flawed 1985 Cadillac (CC here) downsizing was dictated in principle from above, but nevertheless, its execution happened under Mr. Kady's
time as Cadillac Design head.
had nothing to do with this car, having moved back to Buick 1988.
Were these promotions, or shuffling the Design Heads of the Titanic?
is credited with three Buick designs before he
retired in 1999.
also takes credit for the 1992 Skylark, another polarizing design if there ever was one.
But then, IMO neither were Mr. Kady's
So, on the whole, Kady
was a hack who was great at drawing cars that didn't have a chance in hell of being made.
I would have created crappy drawings at half the price.
The end result would have been the same.
must have had compromising photos of top management.
I did not know Kady
was in charge of the 97 Buick W bodies or the Roadmeister.
I always figured they were just generic GM re-hash.
Just enough to differentiate but not enough to cost any actual money.
I have to admit that I liked both, not enough to buy one though.
I can't really fault Kady for "de-tailng" of the Riv.
I thought I read in a book that Kady
was credited with the last-gen Riviera (1995-99) which would make sense, since it's a modified boat tail.
Was confusing Bill Porter with Wayne Kady
Maybe Porter was influenced by Kady
because I see an influence.
Some of the commenter's remarks stands out in my mind, about Kady
being some sort of hanger-on or having pix of upper management in compromising positions.
FWIW, I seriously doubt that Mr. Kady was a lucky bum, there must have been something there for the guy to directly into the Cadillac studios right after starting at GM.
With the exception of the 2nd gen Seville, there's little of Mr. Kady's
work I find objectionable.
I don't know to what degree his
other designs got diluted by production or cost concerns.
I agree that many of his
designs have a common theme with the descending line and some sort of bustle at the rear.
I've got to admit I only like one design of Kady's
, and that is unfortunately a fibreglass clone of the XK120.
I *knew* the damned rear sloping line seemed familiar, thanks for pointing me to the source.
Why, oh why couldn't Kady
have left the bustle out of the bustleback and just blatantly copied the smooth, downward flowing XK120 rear?
If you don't like the bustleback Seville, blame Mitchell much more than Kady
, because while Wayne drew it, the design was inspired by, drawn for, and expected to please Mitchell- and for good or bad, that is how GM
Styling ran at that point in time.
Mitchell saw this car as his
swan song, and perhaps it is.
I am a devoted fan of Wayne Kady
I think he
was a styling genius.
I think his
renderings are incredible, and as a Cadillac fan, you can't discount his
He had a hand in every Cadillac from 1965 to 1990.
also hit some foul balls, as evidenced by the Cimarron, the 85 DeVille and the 86 Eldo and Seville.
These cars were also designed during the worst years of GM
and Cadillac leadership.
hands were tied on the awkward proportions and shrunken size, though he
did manage to sneak in an inch of width on the 86 E body.
It's hard to hate on Wayne Kady
without hating on Cadillac
of the 60s and 70s.