There are car companies out there that can seamlessly make the transition to full electrification, but not GM’s Big Three. These giants have the responsibility of preserving one of America’s iconic products: the muscle car. Based on the info available to date, Chevy seems the least committed to keeping the V8 dream alive and until more details come our way, a digital artist has decided to take the matter into his own hands and resurrect the RWD resilience symbol that is the 1980s G-Body platform, here in Chevy Monte Carlo SS, Buick Regal T-Type and Olds Cutlass form.
These three models used to be American icons, even though their names won’t evoke the same outright joy as, say, the Camaro badge. And while we’ll explain the G-body below, let us start by covering the digitally revived incarnations that brought us here.
While Ford and Dodge have both offered us a glimpse into their future muscle cars, which are more or less electrified, the unofficial info related to GM is making the large fanbase of the genre anxious. However, instead of giving in to this feeling, graphic designer Jim (aka jlord8) has decided to bring back the said performance stars of the 1980s, coming up with a trio of renderings that seems to push all the right buttons in our head.
The starting point for the work was a Buick concept car from the era when the company didn’t solely rely on the Chinese market and America’s thirst for SUVs, namely the Avista of 2016, which shares its Alpha platform with the current Camaro, by the way (you’ll find the show car in a video at the bottom of the story, courtesy of YouTuber DtRockstar1).
And while the overall dimensions and the greenhouse give the Avista base away, the artist has injected plenty of personality in each of the three renderings. with these being easily recognisable as members of their respective brands.
The Oldsmobile Cutlass seems to have the sportiest attire, not least thanks to the retro-themed, chrome wheels. And while the Buick has an impacting nostalgia effect (by simple comparison to the current crossover-only U.S. range), the Chevy brings a balanced approach, almost as if you were trying to drive a monster, but convince non-car people that your vehicle is just like the ones they use for the daily commute.
The RPM (real project in the making) Potential? This sits at 2/10—bringing such a toy to life with the said Alpha platform underneath (it could always be an auction Cadillac with severe body damage) seems like a lot of work in terms of executing the design. And while, in the future, social media could push things to the point where one has to come up with such a complex project to stand out in the muscle crowd, that’s still a stretch for now.
The Chevy Monte Carlo SS, Buick Regal T-Type, and Olds Cutlass are G-Body heroes
None of the said nameplates are still around: the Oldsmobile brand has been retired altogether (a few years before the financial crisis of 2008), while the Monte Carlo and the Regal were victims of the market’s switch from cars to crossovers.
And if we look at how these famous models spent their final years, we’ll find they were used for FWD offerings starting from the late 80s/90s, which naturally had a dramatic impact on the performance.
However, while the trio has different roots (for one, the Buick enjoyed muscle fame starting from the late 60s), there was one era that saw these machines standing for traditional American values together, namely the G-body phase—the interval we’re referring to here kicked off in the early 1980s and lasted until the final part of the decade.
The 1980s saw most passenger cars in America turning from large RWD offerings to smaller FWD vehicles, with advantages including fuel savings, smaller production costs, and better packaging.
Well, GM’s G-Body, which was actually born at the end of the 70s, still stood for the effervescence of that decade. And while this made for a downsized effort, it also aimed to provide comfort and respectable performance via the good old front-engined-rear-driven setup. With the exception of the full-size segment, this was Detroit’s final body-on-frame mainstream offering and served the said three brands, along with Pontiac (another story for another time).
And while the factory performance of these machines came in either turbocharged V6 or small-block V8 form, G-bodies, which are arguably still underrated today, serve as the starting point for many impressive real-world builds.