There’s nothing worse than stealing an idea without crediting the originator. Check out this great article from July 16, 2018 about how Cadillac stole the CTS “Art & Science” design from an obscure Mazda concept. And when you’re done being outraged about this theft… uh… check out… uh… this great article from April 9, 2015, which is… um… about… well… just discuss it in the comments, okay?

29 Replies to “Meta-Plagiarism”

  1. Ryan

    The real question is when did Autoweek become so terrible?

    My theory is that they only keep it going because the Weathertech ads allow Keith Crain to spout off stupid shit about Detroit.

    • Ryan

      I still think the Evoq and the Cien were GREAT looking cars. The XLR was a pretty good facsimile as far as a production car goes.

      The real tragedy is the Buick Avista. It remindes me of what I’d imagine a Model S coupe would look like if the designer didn’t have the whole “this needs to look like an electric car” mindset.

    • Carmine

      The Mazda concept actually has Cadillac cues, its not like stacked headlghts and thin vertical tailights didn’t exsit before the CTS.

      • CJinSD

        I think there is more Lancia Flaminia Berlina influence in the Mazda than anything else that came before it.

        • John C.

          You guys might be missing the point that in PN’s mind a Mazda is good and a Cadillac is bad. So what he is really saying is he likes the early CTS. This does not compute to him so there must be some intrigue. So coming across that obviously sarcastic article on that Mazda made the light go off. Well Cadillac ripped off Mazda and I liked them so that explains my soft spot for the CTS.

          He is confused though. He likes the CTS because the C stands for Catera and that is what he always thought a Cadillac should be, an Opel. Remember with PN, Japan and Germany good, USA bad. Pretty bold of his best current contributor Stopford to poo poo him gently in the comments.

  2. Mark D. Stroyer

    Neither of these articles are particularly deep or well-written, in the sense they’re both so boilerplate it could have just been the title and the photos and the words just the lines children scribble when they’re trying to ‘write a book’. The recent one does have the stink of an in-your-own-words palette-swap. I assume Señor Baruth’s point here is the irony of copying an article about copying?

  3. Mark D. Stroyer

    I commented without paying attention to the title, so of course that was the point. I have become that which I despise. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have need to acqure a tanto…

  4. -Nate

    “Don’t shade your eyes ~ plagiarize, _plagiarize_, _PLAGIARIZE_ ! (remembering to always call it ‘research !” .


  5. Shortest Circuit

    Aw come on, at least make your own pictures if you’re stealing… um… getting an inspiration. They have the same leading pics and the same side-by-side comps. The only picture that makes me suspicious is the front 3/4 comparison, that is missing from the Autoweek article. Makes me wonder what the source is, because google images comes up only with the CSC article.

  6. E. Bryant

    Good artists borrow; great artists steal? Except there isn’t any great art here, in neither the journalism nor the articles’ subject matter.

    This particular case of theft is interesting only in that it’s far less obvious than most of which occurs in the auto industry. But then again, there are basically a half-dozen or so designers that all seem to be competing not on the merits of their work, but rather on who can assemble the longest previous-employer section in his resume.

  7. Thatguy

    Hahahaha. Nice to see that hippy asshole is still following his MO at CC.

    Both articles are beyond weak and just reek of pathetic excuses to see your own name in type.

  8. Tom KlockauTom Klockau

    Oh, he does that too, he likes to rip off 1970s R&T articles and publish the entire thing on that site. Add a couple of throwaway sentences “LOL the Plymouth Volare’ was stupid durr hurr hurr!” and voila! New content.

    Pretty pathetic.

  9. Arbuckle

    But everyone knows the ATS is a total rip-off of a Camry!

  10. Carmine

    I’m sure everyone has heard of Trump Derangement Syndrome, Curbside Clunkers has GM Derangement Syndrome, where there is no distance that they won’t reach, no 7 year old article that they wont re-run 20 times and no same old story that they wont repeat again and again in any effort to cast a negative light on GM, this plagiarizing is probably the lamest in a long series of lame attempts.

    Even worse is the morons that remain on the site that agree with him. I’m really surprised that he hasn’t deleted the entire thread since on top of being a dick and a coward he’s also a completely arrogant asshole that can’t stand being called out on his bullshit, I see that there are no posts after he was called out like the putz he is, he must have locked the comments section.

    I think it might be time to start a Curbside Clunkers Death Watch?

  11. ScottS

    Ben Johnson nailed it. I see more than a little Cadillac in the Mazda concept.

    Niedermeyer doesn’t strike me as a deep thinker or he would recognize it is the Japanese manufacturers that borrow rather shamelessly from others.

  12. safe as milk

    to me, the biggest crime is that cc itself is a concept created by murilee martin and as far as i know, he has never been acknowledged by pn. mm’s down on the street was what got me hooked on car blogs.

    paul used to do some great writing but he seems to have grown frustrated and has been coasting for some time now. he has several times posted old car photos with out giving proper attribution. his angry outbursts are forgivable but the lack of attribution is not. they still have some great contributers. don a’s series on paul braq was stellar but i don’t read much there anymore.

    • Jack BaruthJack Baruth Post author

      So I had an email discussion with PN and his son a while ago where I wrote,

      “Curbside Classics” is a complete and wholesale
      theft/copy of Phil Greden’s “Down On The Street” series, a theft
      compounded by Paul’s apparently rather nasty attitude towards anyone
      who finds an old car and wants to write about it for TTAC.

      I think that still applies, eight years later.

      • Tom KlockauTom Klockau

        I remember on one of your posts years ago you said he might as well have called it “Down On The Curb,” it was such an obvious ripoff.

        I think the secret is CC stands for carbon copy…LOL!

  13. Ronnie Schreiber

    I can name three or four automotive writers who write about similar, sometimes the same, topics as I do. I was asked by a fairly prominent writer to share some source material I had found on a topic about which I had written. Also, as someone whose job at TTAC involved literally rewriting news stories from across the automotive world I’m not going to call anyone a plagiarist.
    That being said, for someone who thinks they own the idea of writing about cars they come across, PN is a bit more casual when it comes to appropriating others’ work.

  14. seattle4r70w

    i work in a product group and we get these kinds of critiques every season. so many product design trends are influenced by similar social and cultural factors or manufacturing advancements and if you are aiming at a similar customer – it can sometimes seem like a real conspiracy if you don’t really cross-examine it. there are companies with a business built on true copies – think of some of those Chinese car mfg’s or the people who copy Yeti coolers nearly 100%. Mazda and Cadillac are not those companies.

    anyway, for all i know both mazda and cadillac were inspired by some avant garde artist in japanese ceramics or swiss fashion or whatever. it’s just that cadillac that did the hard work to make it into 15 years of a car and truck family that looks pretty good (IMO). mazda instead picked their own direction with Nagara/KODO/Skyactiv. I’ll bet they don’t care at all. i think mazda’s look good too.

  15. Danio

    Reading the comments on the CC version, this one strikes me:

    Daniel M.
    Posted July 16, 2018 at 8:20 AM
    Great catch and investigative work Paul. No question there is a strong similarity in the details you highlight. Sadly, I don’t think the car business is any different than any other industry influenced by design. Copying competitors, and using other’s design look and feel seems to be common place. It’s rampant in many industries including marketing. And car styling is marketing.

    I remember when I took graphic design courses in the 80s, professors were saying back then that thanks to computers and the ease to copy any electronic file, our work was never less safe from plagiarism. The Internet just makes using others ideas for ‘inspiration’ that much more seamless. So much so that it is totally accepted (and expected) now in many fields.

    Even if it doesn’t appear ethical.

    • Tom KlockauTom Klockau

      Yeah, that site is getting so overrun with sycophants in the comments section, it’s making PN’s ego swell to Fleetwood Talisman proportions. “Look out Cap’n, she’s gonna blow!” 🙂


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