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Aussie Mike Simcoe's plan for America

Former Holden designer Michael Simcoe will be the first non-American to head General Motors global design team in Detroit.

An old-fashioned Aussie car guy, Mike Simcoe loves V8s, drives a Commodore because he genuinely likes the car and what it does, and has a couple of old-timer cars and motorcycles in the garage.

But Simcoe is not like you and me, because his deep well of talent has taken him right to the top of General Motors in Motown.

The Melbourne man has just been named as the worldwide head of design for GM, only the seventh person in more than 100 years to hold the post and the first non-American to get the honour.

Ask him how he did it and the reply is typically Aussie. "Maybe, with 33 years in, I outlasted everyone else," Simcoe tells CarsGuide.

He is best known as the man who created the born-again Holden Monaro in the 1990s but there is so much more to him and his career.

He also built up GM's design studios in South Korea and served for six years in the US before returning home to raise his two daughters as Australians. He has worked tirelessly to promote the design team and its world-class work at Fishermans Bend. In his private time he also designed a pair of 21st century Elfin sports cars.

Simcoe is candid about "his" Monaro. "The whole Coupe and then Monaro concept to a production project was a dream job, once in a lifetime, and all that," he says.

"The next projects are always the best. And it is not me, it is the total team.

"It is significant, but it would bother me if that is all I seem to have achieved. The Australian design team has done much better work."

He promises that he will not forget his Australian roots as he leads GM Design in Detroit but isn't getting ahead of himself. "The next projects are always the best. And it is not me, it is the total team."

He has plenty on his plate but one of the first jobs is finding a replacement for the Commodore SS-V Redline he currently drives, perhaps a V8-powered Cadillac CTS-V, and then tracking down a suitable American classic for his collection.

"A 1963 split-window Corvette is what I will be chasing," Simcoe says, as he gets set to live — and drive — the dream.

Are you proud to see an Australian in the top design job at General Motors? Tell us what you think in the comments below.