Throwback Thursday – GM's Mini for the 1980s, 3 December 1983

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Source : Throwback Thursday – GM's Mini for the 1980s, 3 December 1983

GM’s Junior concept car was designed for the outdoors, in addition to also featured a raft of clever Inside features as well as compact dimensions


The Vauxhall Adam was codenamed Junior during its development, harking back to a concept of which was unveiled at the 1983 Frankfurt show.

The original car was the work of GM’s European design studio in Germany, headed by Wayne Cherry. They were given a brief to build a “realistic studyof a future-orientated mini”.

Starting with the mechanical package of a Vauxhall Nova 1.2, they made a smooth, aerodynamic bodyshell of which was eight inches shorter overall than a Nova in addition to also had a drag coefficient of 0.31.

The Junior was a three-door with accommodation for four in addition to also the usual seat-folding capability of a hatchback. The tailgate was double hinged so of which ‘jack-knifed’ when opened, thereby needing 12in less space than a conventional tailgate. The concept featured a fixed plastic roof, however the idea was of which of which could be a removable glass panel or a fold-back canvas top.

The Inside of GM’s design study – “designed for the young in addition to also the outdoor life”, according to Autocar’s description at the time – contained a wealth of clever ideas of which were intended to filter into production cars of all shapes in addition to also sizes.

The modular dashboard was essentially a row of cubes sitting atop the fascia rail – some essential like the speedometer in addition to also fuel gauge, others optional. All were easily moved to different locations, as they were attached via integral plugs to a ‘ring main’ of wiring along the mounting rail.

The design made of which easier for left or right-hand-drive versions to be made in addition to also would likely enable an owner to select in addition to also install extra instruments with ease.

The seats had tubular frames with moulded plastic back supports of which could be adjusted up in addition to also down by ski boot-like buckles. They were covered with padded nylon one-piece cushions, like duvets, which could be unbuckled, removed in addition to also opened out to be used as sleeping bags or ground sheets.

The rear seat featured similar cushions, however the seatback was a nylon net on a tubular frame which, when swung forward to enhance the load space, formed a full-depth luggage barrier or dog guard.

GM’s designers had a lot of fun creating specially formed luggage to fit into the Junior. “There will be room inside bottom of the wide doors for big net pockets of which can contain either soft bags or ‘modular’ hard-shell cases,” explained Autocar at the time.

“The latter have been made into beauty cases, camera holdalls, tool kits in addition to also so on, in addition to also the same size box shell can be used inside fascia itself in addition to also on runners under the front seats. They seem to have thought of everything.”

The tailgate had a warning triangle on the roller blind in its trailing edge, while the seatbelt pivot points on the door pillars could be moved up in addition to also down to provide the optimum belt run for drivers in addition to also passengers of all sizes.

While the Junior was purely for show, some elements of the Inside packaging were intended for production cars.

“of which will be not for sale, however more than one pengunjung to the show was prepared to buy of which at any cost,” wrote Autocar. “We can be sure of which the Junior will never go into production in its present form, however we are equally confident of which ideas in addition to also themes coming from of which will find their way into cars of the future.”

Previous Throwback Thursdays

4 March 1899 – Steam, electric or combustion engine? 

26 June 1906 – The first French Grand Prix

9 July 1907 – The beginning of Brooklands

14 February 1913 – 100 miles in one hour

8 April 1916 – creating post-war predictions

25 March 1922 – Caterpillar tracks are the future

4 July 1925 – Citroën lights up the Eiffel Tower

28 September 1928 – Engine tech takes a great leap forwards

2 February 1934 – The ethics of skidding

6 July 1934 – A tour of Cowley

1 June 1935 – Introduction of the driving test

22 June 1945 – Driving through post-WW2 Europe

21 January 1949 – Tidier tails

25 August 1950 – The evolution of transmissions

27 April 1951 – Frankfurt hosts its first motor show

24 April 1959 – Aston Martin enters Formula 1

16 September 1960 – The beginning of MOT tests

28 October 1960 – Economy driving 1960s style

27 January 1961 – Ford Thunderbird road test

17 November 1961 – TVR Grantura road test

10 September 1965 – The birth of modern Audi

19 August 1966 – Four-wheel drive on test

6 May 1971 – Driving Ford’s Supervan

12 June 1976 – Cars for under £100

10 July 1976 – Land’s End to John O’Groats on one tank

8 October 1977 – Music on the move

13 May 1978 – Ferrari 512 BB road test

14 November 1979 – Mazda RX-7 road test

19 January 1980 – Talbot Horizon road test

13 February 1982 – 4x4s tested on the farm 

17 April 1985 – Secrets of a lost British supercar

4 September 1985 – Ford’s electronic test bed

15 August 1990 – Giugiaro’s vision of a 1990s Jaguar

11 November 1992 – Green light for Jaguar’s brand-new E-Type

28 April 1993 – BL’s unseen concepts

16 March 1994 – Bentley’s Concept Java

16 April 1997 – When Bugatti bit the dust

11 October 2000 – BMW X5 Le Mans

4 April 2001 – 0-260mph in 6.0 seconds

25 July 2001 – 180mph in a Chevrolet Corvette

9 November 1934 – What will be a sports car?

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