California Autos Examiner

Friday, August 15, 2008

Cadillac CTS Sport Wagon Videos and I Rail Against the Common CHMSL

You’re probably saying “enough with the wagons already” but no, it’s not enough. Not yet. So now I have a couple of videos from Cadillac designers giving you a brief overview of the new CTS Sport Wagon. I’ll admit that sometimes “designer-speak” can have some eye rolling moments, but I always like to hear where the inspirations of a design came from. Now, in these videos you’ll hear a lot about “light pipes” and you might ask “What the heck is a light pipe?” I think a picture is worth a thousand words, so I have an example posted below.

The light pipe is on the right, the white “pipe” or “bar” of light. These are trick little features that mimic, at least in my mind, neon lights. Just like neon, it’s a solid even bar of light with no “hot spots” interfering with the overall look. You’ll also hear the phrase CHMSL which is short for center high mounted brake light. You might call it the “third brake light” but it’s just the extra light mounted on the trunk that became required back in 1986. What amazes me is that after 22 years there are still a tremendous number of tacked-on integrations of the CHMSL on so many cars out there. I remember when the 1987 Cadillac Allante came out and it had a very clever CHMSL that was built into the trunk lid. I thought that integration would spark a lot of designers into tightly linking the required light into the rear design of the car: that didn’t turn out to be the case. It seems to me that you could do so many different things with this light, why wouldn’t you take advantage of this requirement to create a new styling signature?

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