Chevy Miray

July 10, 2013
By

Chevy MirayThe Chevy Miray is arguably Chevrolet’s best concept car at Detroit.

The Koreans starred, the Japanese mounted a comeback, and One Ford hit the headlines with an extended family of Focus-based newcomers that it is certain to make a big hit in Australia. But it was one car and the commitment of its company chief that made the most impact as America fought back on the opening day of the 2011 North American International Motor Show.

But it didn’t earn the centre-stage billing of the new twins launched in MoTown, the Tru 140S and the Code 130R.

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Chevy MirayIt didn’t have to – the Chevy Miray already has the runs on the board.

It was judged the best concept car at last year’s Seoul Motor Show and earned its own pedastal this week at the front of the company’s display area.

Just like many cars in the Chevy range, there’s enough Australian DNA in the mini roadster to justify calling it our own. The Chevy Miray was a rush job built last year to celebrate the launch of the Chevrolet brand in South Korea. It’s inception was overseen by Andrew Smith, a former Holden design guru who is now managing director of the Seoul-based GM Advanced Design Centre.

He called on the talents of Sharon Gauci, Holden’s chief colour and trim designer, to help sculpt the interior of the hi-tech vehicle. The all-wheel drive Chevy Miray beat the other small car concept duo in using GM’s 1.4-litre turbo engine and, while it’s loosely based on a Cruze drivetrain, it has also adopted elements of the Volt, using a pair of 15kW motors to power the front wheels.

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Chevy Miray interiorThrow in a carbon fibre body and passenger tub and it’s a lightweight rocket with enough Down Under influence to whack an Ettamoggah Pub sticker on the back window (if it had one) and humble the Commodores brigade on a Saturday night blockies cruise.

Gauci was involved in turning the Seoul sketches into fabrics and textures and says much of the work was done using Italian suppliers because of their specialised knowledge of low volume, high-end vehicles.

The cockpit of the Chevy Miray displays are projected through the dash fabric and Gauci says finding the fabric and ensuring it was applied perfectly straight throughout the curved cockpit was a major project in itself. Then there’s the Chevy grille graphic that is heat-embossed on the door fabric and the wrapround dash that extends along the door panels and into the seats themselves.

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Chevy Miray side view

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“It was pretty intense. A lot of the time we had to make decisions on the spot (due to the tight project deadline) but I’m really pleased with the way it looks on the stand,” she says.

Smith cites the inbuilt camera that can record a lap at a track and then ghost it back over on the next lap using the heads-up display in the windscreen as one of the car’s coolest features.

“There are a lot of elements on the Chevy Miray that we drew on from the Chevy heritage,” he says. “I actually took the designers to the GM museum so they could see how some of the classic muscle car elements worked and they’ve then interpreted that into a futuristic small car.”

Chevy Miray front

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Smith agrees the Holden influence is pervading the GM world and says even the talent still in Australia is having a huge impact on global product. “There’s a lot of work done (at Holden) that Australians don’t get to see, because it’s for the Asia-Pacific market … but that’s not to say GM doesn’t recognise the talent they have there,” he says.

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