2020 Mid-Engine Corvette Stingray: A Game Changer

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.

Objects of Inspiration: Cruisers Yachts 338 South Beach Edition

With so many in need these days, one has to be conscious of whether praising yacht design is something that really needs to be done. That said, companies like Cruisers Yachts deserves recognition as they are pushing for more innovation in smaller and more modest sizes these days. And they are doing so while still offering strikingly beautiful vessels. Witness the 2019 Cruiser Yachts 338 South Beach Edition.

It is a stunning yet pragmatic approach to designing a smaller yacht that can meet the needs of those setting out for a long weekend. The innovating rear seating, generous forward gunnel side storage and an asymmetric pass way through to the front bow area all distinguish the 338’s design. The rear platform even works well with the newest version of the 338 that incorporates outboard propulsion.

The rear swim platform provides a generous space from which to access the water, while an ingenious powered seat solution provide multi-position sun seating for lounging or socializing.

The generous berth below the foredeck has a modern and minimalist ambience. Thoughtful integration sinks, refrigerators and microwaves and an accessible rear swim platform all show great attention to detail and overall sensitivity to balancing pragmatism with style. A powered extending bimini top helps provide shade for a large portion of the aft deck if desired.

Full instrumentation is provided in a functional and strikingly modern manner.

In a world in need of downsizing and in the age of mega yachts, it is great to see companies offering solutions that are more appropriate in the context of the world economy today that still push design forward.

Pioneering Women and Vehicle Design

The “Damsels of Design”    |       photo: General Motors

The “Damsels of Design” | photo: General Motors

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.

On the Line:  Julian Blasi, Exterior Designer for the BMW E89 shapes the outlines of the third generation Z4.

On the Line: Julian Blasi, Exterior Designer for the BMW E89 shapes the outlines of the third generation Z4.

The Z4’s Beauty…Inside and Out:  Nadya Arnaout shaped the progressive, yet classic lines and materials of the E89 roadster interior.

The Z4’s Beauty…Inside and Out: Nadya Arnaout shaped the progressive, yet classic lines and materials of the E89 roadster interior.

CRAFT: Building a Millennium Falcon Scale Model

The modeling techniques reflected in this video are quite impressive. From knowing when to release parts from their moldings to painting and weathering surfaces, several great ways to increase the realism of a model are shown. The lighting and other details in Bandai’s perfect grade Millennium Falcon kit are out of this world as are ModelChili’s work is perfect grade skills.

CRAFT: Topaz Level 5 Signature Detail

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!

2019 EyesOn Design Awards

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."

Off The Wall

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.