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GM Design's Tom Peters Earns Lifetime Achievement Award

corvette stingray (select to view enlarged photo)
2014 Chevrolet Stingray

PASADENA, CA--October 31, 2013: In addition to more than 30 years of designing some of General Motors’ most memorable vehicles, Tom Peters led the exterior studio teams that produced two of GM’s most important product introductions this year – the 2014 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray and 2014 Chevrolet Silverado full-size pickup.

On Sunday, Peters received a lifetime achievement award for his work from his alma mater, Art Center College of Design, which has been at the forefront of art and design education internationally for more than 80 years. Currently, the director of exterior design for performance cars, Peters received the award from Stewart Reed, chair of the college’s Transportation Design Department, and Jay Leno, “Tonight Show” host and noted car buff and collector.

“Through your efforts to promote the very best in automotive design as seen in examples like the 2014 Corvette Stingray, you continue to represent Art Center in the best way possible and serve as an inspiration for our graduates following in your footsteps,” said Reed.

Peters worked briefly at GM following his 1980 graduation from the college and returned in 1982 after two years with Texas Instruments. His portfolio includes memorable concepts such as the Corvette Indy show car, Pontiac Banshee, Cadillac Sixteen and Buick Velite; as well as production vehicles such as the Corvette C6 and C7, current-generation Camaro, and the new full-size pickup trucks and SUVs from Chevrolet and GMC.

“The list of Art Center alumni at GM is long, but Tom Peters is without a doubt the most visionary designer I have ever known or worked with in my more than 40 years at GM,” wrote Ed Welburn, vice president, GM Global Design in a letter read at the event. “The men and women who work for Tom share his desire and thirst for winning, and they create incredibly spirited designs.”

Welburn went on to note that although “Tom has had an impressive career…let’s not forget that he has plenty more to do in the years to come as a valued member of the GM Global Design team.”

For Peters, bringing back the Stingray was a personal goal for more than a decade, yet he acknowledged the high level of scrutiny associated with a car as iconic as the Corvette. To ensure he didn’t get too bogged down in the vehicle’s heritage, he reached back to his own youth and his infatuation with the 1963 Corvettes owned by a schoolmate’s father.

“My focus customer was going to be that 9-, 11-, 12-year-old kid,” Peters told an interviewer earlier this year. “Kids don’t know and don’t care about what’s traditional. When I see kids look at it and point, stop what they’re doing and they go ‘Stingraaaay,’ that’s when I know we got it.”