Since its inception 70 years ago, the Land Rover Defender has undergone the most extensive redesign in its storied history. All but the most hard core traditionalist seem to be impressed with how designers have balanced the need to bring the marque into the 21st century while maintaining ties to its heritage. Regardless of how the new design strikes you, one have to recognize how adept Land Rover has become at telling launch and feature stories. Clear explanations of the vehicle’s sophisticated design, capabilities, technology, and masterfully capturing of the Defender going through its paces across a range of unique terrain inspires.
The extensive Corvette Academy video outlines the design and engineering process behind the 2020 C8 Corvette. At the announced price and with the performance characteristics stated to date, this could be a real game changer in the sports car market. With this much change, the effort harkens back to other great evolution efforts in mobility and other engineering domains, balancing innovation with core elements of the brand. Clearly exciting times and roads lie ahead for Corvette fans.
Artsy’s “The Pioneering Women Who Designed Car Interiors in the 1950s” article highlights the notable contributions and innovations that a group of women designers at GM were responsible for in the mid 1950’s.
More recently, examples such as BMW’s E89 Z4, arguably one of BMW’s best looking vehicles designed to date, was also designed by women. Juliane Blasi and Nadya Arnaout designed the E89’s exterior and interior design respectively. Together they brought far more character and elegance to the series than prior versions. Learn more about their perspectives via the BMW blog interview and in this article in the New York Times. These are just two examples that serve as powerful evidence that the automobile industry only stands to benefit from more diversity. As we move towards the promise of a new Age of Automobility, this increased diversity will be even more essential as an increasing number of perspectives will be needed to address the challenges and opportunities ahead.
Having had the good fortune to have had several modern vehicles in the bivouac’s collection over the years, one thing is clear. Clear coat technology has certainly improved since it introduction the 1980’s. That said, as manufacturers have moved to more water based paints, orange peeling is still prevalent on even the most premium offerings as evidenced in this Topaz Maybach detailing video. There’s something to be said for the masters that have the patience, technique and scientific outlook needed to rectify some of the failings of from factory paint work. He’s to the details and detailers out there!
The audacity of the design inspires in part because of the close linkage to “form follows function” in the context of muscle car constraints. The open grill, designed to provide massive air flow, forms a strong visual and functional character for the vehicle. Side sculpting shows that those at GM still know how to sculpt for a dramatic interplay with natural lighting.
It was a pleasure participating again this year as an EyesOn Design judge at the North American International Auto Show. Congratulations to the award winners on their inspirational work.
Best Concept Vehicle - Infiniti QX 3 Inspiration Concept
- Presented by Dassault Systèmes
The judges say: "A new and fresh look that shows extraordinary sophistication and simplicity."
Best Designed Interior - Infiniti QX 3 Inspiration Concept
- Presented by ABC Technologies
The judges say: "True inspiration and functionality."
Innovative Use of Color, Graphics or Materials - Infiniti QX 3 Inspiration Concept
- Presented by Axalta
The judges say: "Embodies a modern take on materials while retaining a clean Japanese sensibility."
Best Production Vehicle - Ford Mustang Shelby GT 500
- Presented by Covestro LLC
The judges say: "The next best tribute to the Mustang ... what the car really represents."
It is such a pleasure to see work from IDEO’s four part exploration of “The Future of Automobility” included within the Cooper Hewitt’s “The Road Ahead: Reimagining Mobility” Exhibit. On view at the New York’s Cooper Hewitt through March 31st, 2019, the exhibit explores how we might move people, things, spaces and information in the 21st Century and beyond. Innovative concepts, prototypes and simulation work exploring how future forms of mobility and new approaches to urban planning might emerge are featured from leading companies working in the mobility domain.
Whenever I see images of automotive designers thoughtfully shaping vehicle profiles at 1:1 scale on walls with tape and film and pen and pencil I get inspired. Regardless of how often these traditional visualization methods are used in this age of virtual reality visualization capability, images like this are a powerful reminder of what goes into getting vehicles out into the world. For the rare percentage of them that resemble rolling sculpture, it is well and good to be reminded of all the effort, craft, vision, methods and attention to detail that goes into making them a reality.