Do you think anyone considers a woman’s shorter reach when designing GM instrument panels? (Mar, 1969)

Do you think anyone considers a woman’s shorter reach when designing GM instrument panels?
Fisher Body does.

That’s why you see GM Stylist Joan Gatewood establishing 35 important reference points for instrument panels on the special unit pictured above. Then she tries them out on at least 25 different-sized people to make sure even the smallest drivers can reach all the essential controls from windshield wiper activators to defroster buttons.

As a professional stylist, Joan knows how important human dimensions are to her designs. What’s more, because she’s a woman, she pays particular attention to such things as control knobs that are shaped to accommodate longer fingernails. And, knowing how confining bulky suits and tight-waisted dresses can be, she concentrates on designing instrument panels that practically hand you every control and switch, no matter what you’re wearing!

Joan’s skillful woman’s touches are important reasons why so much of the buy is in the body. And Body by Fisher makes GM cars a better buy. Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac.

Body by Fisher
General Motors Symbol of Quality

14 comments
  1. Toronto says: January 16, 20123:22 pm

    You could put an eye out with that thing!

  2. Stephen Edwards says: January 16, 20124:33 pm

    Some people choose instead to merely listen to Iron Maiden when in a car…

  3. TomLR says: January 16, 20125:47 pm

    Hmm. That list at the end of the ad would now read Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac.

  4. Mike says: January 16, 20127:45 pm

    What are women doing driving anyway?

  5. Toronto says: January 16, 20129:19 pm

    “What are women doing driving anyway?”

    Turing on the parking lights or headlights (if pulling), adjusting the dashboard illumination level (if twisting), or togging the dome light with the door closed (if twisting fully clockwise against a soft click), if I recall my GM knob placement correctly.

    Now that I only rent cars for a few weeks a year, generally, I have to acquaint myself to all the odd placements of controls every time I pick one up.

  6. G. L. Tyrebyter says: January 16, 201211:40 pm

    Most of the controls are on the steering wheel and column stalks today. Only thing on the dash and console is the entertainment and navigation panel and gear shift. Shifting used to be on the column. Go figure.

  7. Mike Brown says: January 17, 201210:50 am

    > Hmm. That list at the end of the ad would now read Chevrolet, Buick, Cadillac.

    1969 was 43 years ago. Roughly that long before that, the list would have read “Chevrolet, Pontiac, Oldsmobile, Buick, Cadillac, LaSalle, Oakland, Viking, and Marquette”. Not to mention Opel and Vauxhall in Europe.

  8. Nomen Nescio says: January 17, 201212:35 pm

    1969, hm. had they come up with movable pedals and steering wheels by then, or were those still fixed reference points to design around?

    these days even some of the entertainment and climate control stuff is getting moved onto the wheel, in some cars. gear shifting, too, in some of the “sporty” models that still have at least semi-automatic shifting. having driven a “four on the tree” manual shift with a freewheel clutch marks me as a real old fart, nowadays.

  9. whoozle whaazle says: January 17, 20121:13 pm

    Her legs look like plastic :/

  10. Jari says: January 17, 20121:41 pm

    Nomen: Don’t tell me that you have driven a Wartburg or Saab 96 :)

  11. Nomen Nescio says: January 17, 20121:52 pm

    a Saab 96, yes. it’s long gone now, but was the same model year as myself. :-) a fun little car, much neater than the VW beetles in my opinion.

  12. Jari says: January 17, 20124:26 pm

    Oh yes. I personally didn’t have one, but one of my friends did. I wasn’t too keen of sitting a bit sideways due to the front wheel wells. Some people installed a Ford Taunus 20M’s 2 liter V6 in to it and inspect it as a roadworthy (sorry about the lack of better words). That would have been fun to try.

  13. G. L. Tyrebyter says: January 18, 201212:22 am

    I too had a Saab 96. First year they put in a 4 cycle Ford Taunus V4 engine. Great car to drive but the bigger engine chewed up the transmission. Free wheeling was needed for the 2 cycle engine that was in the earlier models. I’m an old fart too! I Know it had the wheel wells in the way but the floor was totally flat. No middle hump.

  14. george says: January 18, 201210:58 am

    My Saab was a ’97 with the ring-a-ding-ding 3 cylinder 2 cycle engine — the one with 3 carbs and oil injection from a tank under the hood. The engine had a lifetime guarantee, nice, because it seized-up at 50,000 miles. They replaced the engine for $50 labor (1970).

    We always figured that with no valves, etc., it should be able to run backwards, but we never succeeded in getting it going. (yes we remembered to lock out the freewheel and fiddle with the timing)

    I used to wear clogs a lot and managed to convince a couple people that they’re Swedish driving shoes and every Saab comes with a pair custom fitted by the dealer.

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