Designers on their own designs (as well as on others')

From an old Classic & Sports Car jury panel. This is nothing new – some of you may have already seen it awhile ago – but it is new to us and we thought it was kinda neat (a couple of the slights are amusing, in particular).

On their own designs:

Peter Stevens on the McLaren F1: “I always intended that the design should be timeless rather than ‘of the minute’, and that is something that I would use as a measure of other designs.”

Ian Callum on the Jaguar XF: “It is the biggest challenge I’ve faced, but I think we pulled it off. I don’t think people appreciate how well proportioned it is, given that it’s a five-seater.”

Gordon Murray on the McLaren F1: “Designed as a road car, but went on to win Le Mans, which in my opinion is more difficult than F1.”

John Heffernan on the Aston Martin Vantage (sic? we wonder if “Virage” was intended— Ed.): “When I borrowed one, it was much appreciated by ‘bikers of the Hells Angels persuasion’, which I liked.”

Patrick Le Quément on the Renault Twingo: “Some love it, some hated it. I wrote to the president of Renault and said: ‘I think you have to vote for instinctive design rather than extinctive marketing.’ He wrote back: ‘I agree.'”

And on other peoples’ cars:

Steve Crijns (of Lotus) on the Ford GT40: “It’s so sexy and has so much presence without really being aggressive.”

Paul Bracq (former head of design for both Mercedes and BMW) on the Aston Martin DB9: “It’s more beautiful than the current Ferraris. I don’t understand modern Ferrari design: the new California looks like a big VW Karmann-Ghia.”

Julian Thomson (of Jaguar) on the Lamborghini Gallardo: “I love the proportions… It’s a tiny modern interpretation of a supercar: things like the Bugatti Veyron are totally irrelevant to me.”

Martin Smith (executive design director of Ford of Europe) on the Lamborghini Countach: “It was like a spaceship, something totally new combining smooth curves with geometric forms. I remember thinking ‘I’ll never be able to do something as good as that!'”

Ian Callum (Jaguar director of design) on the Ferrari 250GT Short-wheelbase: “A blend of beauty and aggression… I just drool over them, and I can draw them with my eyes closed.”

Marcello Gandini on the Cord 810/812: “It was an impressive design for the 1930s, with solutions that could be seen in cars of 20 years later.”

Tom Tjaarda (former head of Ghia’s studios) on the Jaguar E-type: “A gorgeous car. It looks narrow, like a woman in high heels. It doesn’t have the stance that cars have today.”


~ by velofinds on November 19, 2010.

4 Responses to “Designers on their own designs (as well as on others')”

  1. Cool quote by gordon murray. Of all people he would know how hard it is to stay competitive in F1 AND endurance racing.

    I still prefer the looks of the F1 over modern rivals like the Veyron or Enzo.

  2. I guess design can be very subjective as I have to disagree (with protest) with Paul Bracq about the Karmann-Ghia. It is super pretty and proportions are beautiful – certainly better looking than, say, a 356.

  3. @etienne: very true, although i can’t help but feel the greater point he was trying to make was that a ferrari shouldn’t look like something made by “the people’s car” company.

    i also wonder which ghia he was referring to (unless he was referring to them all generically, as per my above point). i don’t love the type 14 (and i don’t agree that it looks better than a 356), but i do think the type 34 (“der große karmann”) looks very sharp.

  4. Thanks for posting the amazing photos with this. The original article would have needed to do that to explain how awesome some of those quotes are. Particularly the Gordon Murray quote. Fucking brilliant IMO.

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