Vauxhall Equus

Ok. Name the car designer that worked on the…

  • 1966 Oldsmobile Toronado
  • 1967 Chevrolet Camaro
  • 1978 Vauxhall Equus Concept
  • 1983 Opel Junior Concept
  • 1987 Opel Omega
  • 1989 Opel Calibra

…and the complete overhaul of Cadillac into what it is today.

A now-retired career General Motors employee, Wayne Cherry had some input into a number of pretty attractive designs. It's hard to tell how much of a hand he had in each, but they all seem…similar in some way.

Today's car was penned by Cherry during his stay at Vauxhall, after he'd been promoted to design director. One of my favourite factoids about the car is that it's based off of a Panther Lima chassis, after Cherry had hired Panther to help construct prototypes and concepts for Vauxhall. 

Conceived and spec'd as an affordable roadster, it's close in execution and size to the BMW Z3. It looks great too, doesn't it? The more you look at the car—even if goofy wheel covers aren't your thing—the more you realize the Equus is the best parts from just about every 80s sports car. Do I see Mazda RX-7 in its front end?

Even better, the car had to be designed essentially in secret, as GM Europe's planners hadn't envisioned a sports car as part of the Vauxhall or Opel range. Vauxpedianet quotes Cherry as having said, "It's a pure graphic statement. On a car like this the designer has an obligation to try some things he wouldn't normally do on a bread and butter model. The car is defined graphically with edges to give it form and shape. 

"A lot of cars have edges that make them look models from the back of a cereal packet. Others are round and fat. In between these extremes, you can accent the shape with edges so the surfaces are taut and tight not flat and featureless."

You may have to read that a few times, as I did, but after a while you start to see it: there are curves hidden within the car's straight lines. Once you see the ingenious curve of the windshield you'll start to see the rest.

It was, of course, lauded on its debut but there was no way Vauxhall would have ever put it into production. So after its show career was over—and Wayne Cherry was being transferred out of Vauxhall—he took the functional prototype with him.

And as far as I know, he still has it.


Sources / Recommended reading