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Pontiac of the Month

360Rocket's 1970 GTO

2019 March
of the Month

  • Welcome to Forever Pontiac

    We are a community of Pontiac enthusiasts. The purpose of our community is to keep alive the Pontiac spirit by sharing (or showing off) our cars, discussing Pontiac, helping each other work on our cars and find information, plus attend various meets/shows/etc... To aid discussion, sharing, event planning and selling of parts/cars/anything, we have various parts of the website to aid this from Forums to an online Garage to Classifieds to even a Document Download Repository. You can find links to these in our navigation above based on what each section helps with (discussion, local events, learning, etc...).

    We invite you to contribute, find help or just view some of our member's amazing cars! Don't forget, we also have great contests from time to time (like our Pontiac of the Month and yearly calendar contest) and our Pontiac This OR That, a fun game where you choose the best of two randomly selected Pontiacs from our online garage.

    We look forward to seeing you around!

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Car and Driver: Infiniti Executive Design Director Alfonso Albaisa on the Brand’s New Direction

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Alfonso Albaisa, Executive Design Director, Infiniti Motor Compa

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After a stint meandering in the product wilderness, Infiniti is launching an offensive, featuring nine new or redesigned vehicles. We drove the QX30 late last year, and at the Detroit auto show, Infiniti officially unveiled the new Q60. The striking coupe—its design a collection of curves bisected by a strong, straight character line—suggests a new direction for the brand, one that’s been hinted at since Johan de Nysschen was at the helm of the Hong Kong-based Nissan division. We sat down with Alfonso Albaisa, Infiniti’s executive design director, to chat a bit about his inspiration and what we’re likely to see next from the brand.

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2017 Infiniti Q60S

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How did the decision to push the design language of the company come about? Was it a burst? Or was it something that had been slowly building over time?

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When I was brought in, there were certain things building. Shiro [Nakamura, Infiniti's chief creative officer] didn’t want radical change so much as he wanted a deepening; to make it obvious what we wanted to do. Actually, one of the most important things was engineering. When I came in about four years ago, engineering was going through a phase where they wanted to identify things that they could do which would be best in class. The body stamping, the sense of carrozzeria, was one of the things they put up at the very top. Other brands are doing sharpness; it’s nothing new. We went a more romantic route—it’s not just the sharpness, it’s the fluidity of metal. This was a source of deep inspiration to us as designers. When you do nine cars at once—and you’ve only seen two so far—you have engineering energized, and you have design free to to express something that’s chaotic and romantic.

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Are there materials you look at and think, “That’s amazing. It wouldn’t work in a car, but how do I achieve that effect in an automobile?”

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Not to reveal too much, but I can tell you that at Beijing, we’re going to reveal something. The creativity of using organic materials in new ways—including wood—this is untapped. We’ve only scratched the surface. We’re helped because other companies are making near-premium vehicles; simply leather or wood is meaningless. It allows us to get the support of the company to differentiate. You’ll see that traditional materials are going to be used in completely new ways.

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2017 Infiniti Q60S

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Leather on its own has been rendered somewhat meaningless, it’s now more about what you do with it, what you pair it with, and the grade of the leather itself. What materials would you like to see in an automotive interior that might pair well with leather that are outside the standard-issue carbon, wood, aluminum, etc?

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The warmth of copper is interesting, the black chromes. These kind of warm metals are a little more interesting to me now than aluminum. But one of the areas I think we’re completely ignoring are the carpets and flooring. I don’t think there’s a limit to what we can do. The premium segments came out of the recession as the hottest. Everyone has a premium brand now, so how do you differentiate yourself? For us, it’s going to be a sense of unmistakable artistry and tailoring. Especially as you see cars after the Q60.

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The physical size of cars in the segment has grown. We’re seeing things now that sort of split the difference between what would’ve been thought of as a personal-luxury coupe and a GT car. Which car in the segment, design-wise, do you feel is the strongest competitor to the Q60?

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I think the Mercedes [C-class coupe]—which is quite handsome—is very elegant. Of course, we’re in an intense gloveless boxing match with the 4-series. Generally, Infiniti is an artistic brand. With the Q60, when you look at it, you just want to drive it.

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2017 Infiniti Q60S

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What was the sort of “Aha!” moment when the design snapped into focus? Was there some element that suddenly just sealed the design, and from that moment, everything fell into place around it?

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Actually, there was. That extremely sharp, straight line of the shoulder, which you would think is an uninspired thing. But it offsets the Sophia Loren/Michelangelo action below it, with the catlike rear fender. That straight line kind of connected you to the ground. At the same time, the engineers had identified stamping as the part they wanted to show the world that they could do better than anyone. So we kept pulling it out and pulling it out. It made the door hinge really critical. The tolerance is less than a millimeter. It’s an engineering activity that we benefitted fully from.

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Since, as the hoary old trope of the PR flacks goes, we can’t talk about future product, let’s not ask about what’s immediately in the pipeline and instead ask about what’s ten years down the road. What would you like to do once you’re finished with this product cycle?

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I want to make the best sedan ever.

-bUBMRGHqtnU

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