Posted: May 21, 2013 at 6:09 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
In the dark winter months before
General Motors Co. (GM) filed for bankruptcy four years ago, its top
designer, Ed Welburn, was growing increasingly frustrated with
the negative news about his company.
He gathered his 300-member design staff in the cavernous
domed showroom at the automaker’s suburban Detroit studios for a
serious, stand-up meeting. There were no chairs. Welburn, 62,
normally bookish and reserved, spoke with passion.
“You are better than what is being written and said about
GM,” he recalled telling them. “We’re going to survive this,
and when we come out on the other end of this very dark period,
the world is going to be looking to see what General Motors is
capable of doing. And they’re going to be looking at design.”
The result of Welburn’s motivational moment: “The team
really dug down deep — they were angry,” he said in an
interview in his sleek, postmodern office last week. “And they
created some of their absolute best work.”
From the fires of Detroit’s descent into near-death, GM,
Ford Motor Co. (F) and Chrysler Group LLC have forged some of the
most distinctive designs since tailfins were soaring in the
halcyon days of the postwar-era. Models such as GM’s Cadillac
ATS sports sedan, Ford’s Fusion family car and Chrysler’s Jeep
Grand Cherokee are turning heads and stoking sales.
On the strength of stylish new showroom offerings, GM, Ford
and Chrysler all gained market share in the first quarter for
the first time in 20 years. Meanwhile, Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)’s
staid standard-bearer, the Camry, has endured three months of
declining sales as the automaker ceded U.S. share this year.
‘Safe is Out’
Detroit’s joy ride demonstrates that style now sells.
Consumers, coming out of a deep recession, are driving cars that
average 11 years old and they’re looking for more than just a
new set of wheels. They want a car that looks new.
“Safe is out,” said Jeff Schuster, an analyst with
researcher LMC Automotive in Troy, Michigan. “Instead of your
bread-and-butter car that just gets you from Point A to Point B,
buyers are looking for something with more individual appeal.”
Detroit is delivering in a way it hasn’t since GM’s
original design chief Harley Earl put the first tailfins on a
1948 Cadillac and his successor Bill Mitchell carved gills into
the side of the 1963 Corvette Stingray.
“The industry got away from design and what really sparked
growth and passion and connection to vehicles in the ’30s, ’40s
and ’50s,” Schuster said. “Detroit is trying to make that
connection again and their designs are doing that.”
It took nearly going out of business for GM, Ford and
Chrysler to change their conservative ways and return to risk-taking, Schuster said.
“The slap-in-your-face shock of what Detroit went through
ignited this,” Schuster said. “They are trying to come out of
that and show the world that they have been reborn.”
J Mays, Ford’s chief designer since 1997, can trace a long
history of design breakthroughs saving the company. The 1949
Ford resuscitated a company “brought to its knees” by the war
effort, he said. The Thunderbird in the 1950s, the Mustang in
the 1960s, the Taurus in the 1980s and the Explorer in the 1990s
all came along when Ford needed them most, Mays said.
“Every time Ford Motor Co.’s butt has been up against the
hot pipes,” Mays, 58, said in an interview, “it’s been design
that has somehow allowed them to emerge as a successful company
No Camry Clone
The pipes were positively steaming when Mays convened a
meeting of his top designers in London in February 2008 to
discuss what should be done with the Fusion, Ford’s family car
that was a distant also-ran to Toyota’s Camry, the top selling
car in the U.S. for 11 years now.
At the time, Dearborn, Michigan-based Ford was hemorrhaging
cash, losing a record $30.1 billion from 2006 through 2008.
Chief Executive Officer Alan Mulally, who arrived from Boeing
Co. 17 months earlier, had bet the company on $23 billion in
loans that had to be spent wisely. With sport-utility vehicle
sales collapsing amid rising fuel prices, Ford had to fix its
lackluster family car.
“We’ve got to find a way to create a break-out on this
car,” Mays said he told his design brain trust.
Cloning the Camry wasn’t the answer, Mays told them, since
most manufacturers were churning out “automotive appliances”
in pursuit of Toyota’s sensible sedan. Instead, he said he
wanted a $25,000 family car that looked like a $40,000 luxury
car — and since Ford at the time owned Jaguar, Aston Martin and
Land Rover, these designers should know how to create luxury.
“Everybody wants what they can’t have,” Mays said.
“Everybody aspires to look richer than they are.”
They crafted a car that was sleek like a sports sedan, with
crisp creases inspired by the bespoke suits of London’s Savile
Row. The key ended up being the car’s grille, a stylized
trapezoid that rode too low on the previous-generation Fusion.
“Why is it down there? It doesn’t feel proud, it doesn’t
feel confident,” Mays told his designers. “As we started to
inch that trapezoid up between the headlamps, suddenly the car
just took on this far more premium feel.”
Consumer clinics convinced skeptics inside Ford that Mays’s
risky strategy to take the frumpy Fusion upscale was working.
Potential buyers compared it to a Maserati and a Jaguar.
“There was all sorts of tension up until that point,”
Mays said. “But once the clinics were over, everybody was
Now Ford is adding an extra shift of Fusion production at a
factory in Michigan to try to keep up with record demand for the
sedan, which has seen sales rise 25 percent this year. That’s
despite a mixed review from Consumer Reports magazine, which
wrote in January, “The Fusion’s sleek form reduces function.”
Other car reviewers compare the Fusion to Aston Martin,
which Mays insists was not an inspiration for the car, despite
Ford’s former parentage of that British luxury line favored by
“We never had any thought in the back of our mind that we
were trying to do something like that,” Mays said of copying
Aston Martin. “We were just taking our inverted trapezoid and
pushing it up on the front end.”
If Ford was in distress when the Fusion was being born,
Chrysler was in critical condition, with the media writing its
obituary in 2008 as the Auburn Hills, Michigan-based automaker
was designing its make-or-break model, the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
“It was really bad, definitely a horrible time,” Ralph Gilles, Chrysler chief designer, said in an interview last week.
“You have no choice but to succeed because you realize how
critical it is. Everyone rallied together. There was less
arguing, more doing.”
The Grand Cherokee, along with the Explorer, pioneered the
SUV boom in the 1990s and fell from favor as gas prices rose and
the big rigs became synonymous with conspicuous consumption. If
Chrysler was to survive, it had to turn Jeep around and that
meant moving away from the big and boxy look, Gilles said.
“You’ve got to make a little noise,” Gilles told his
designers, “because you’re coming from behind.”
Their solution was essentially to have the Grand Cherokee
hit the gym, transforming it into a trim, fit athlete. Car
buyers who rejected old-school SUVs embraced this lithe and
lighter Grand Cherokee. Sales soared 21 percent last year.
That success has given Gilles more freedom. When he
presented several design sketches for a new, smaller Cherokee
model to Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne two years ago, the boss
choose the most controversial rendering.
“We cheered,” Gilles, 43, recalled of the design staff’s
meeting with Marchionne. “We were so excited to have him give
us that confidence that we could execute the most aggressive
Now Gilles said he feels pressure to “keep pushing and not
let up,” particularly on the Chrysler 200 redesign coming next
year, which will take on the Camry and Fusion. He wants to prove
Chrysler’s government-funded bankruptcy in 2009 is paying off.
“You know everyone is looking deep at you,” Gilles said.
“When you have a new car and you have a certain track record,
people want to study it and say, ‘OK did they do something
different? Did they fix it?’”
At Detroit-based GM, design Vice President Welburn is also
focused on keeping the troops motivated. After his stand-up
meeting in the design dome, he assigned all 10,000 of his
stylists worldwide the task of drawing the next Corvette sports
car in what he called a “global design blitz.” The finished
product won raves at auto shows this year and goes on sale soon.
“Every designer wants to design a Corvette, but only a few
get assigned to it,” Welburn said. “I thought that not only
might we get something cool out it, but also that it would be
good for morale.”
Now Welburn sees confidence restored in his studios, which
is what gives the Cadillac ATS its sports-car slant and the new
Chevy Impala its aggressive shark-nosed grille. He also sees it
across town at Ford and Chrysler, which he said have never been
more competitive. And he sees that design ethos spilling out of
the car studios and influencing the art scene all over Detroit.
“I see a real renaissance in design and art in this
city,” Welburn said. “For creative people, life experiences
are the foundation of their creativity. Things were tough and
things were frantic. Those things had an influence.”
To contact the reporter on this story:
Keith Naughton in Southfield, Michigan, at
To contact the editor responsible for this story:
Jamie Butters at
Renaissance in Detroit Auto Design Sparked by Darkest Days
General Motors Co. via Bloomberg
The 1963 Corvette Stingray is shown in red.
The 1963 Corvette Stingray is shown in red. Source: General Motors Co. via Bloomberg
Renaissance in Detroit Auto Design Sparked by Darkest Days
General Motors Co. via Bloomberg
The rear tailfin of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado is shown in white. Detroit is delivering in a way it hasn’t since General Motors Co.’s original design chief Harley Earl put the first tailfins on a Cadillac in 1949.
The rear tailfin of a 1959 Cadillac Eldorado is shown in white. Detroit is delivering in a way it hasn’t since General Motors Co.’s original design chief Harley Earl put the first tailfins on a Cadillac in 1949. Source: General Motors Co. via Bloomberg
Ford Motor Co. Chief Creative Officer J Mays
Ford Motor Co. Chief Creative Officer J Mays poses in front of the redesigned 2011 Ford Focus compact at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
Ford Motor Co. Chief Creative Officer J Mays poses in front of the redesigned 2011 Ford Focus compact at the 2010 North American International Auto Show in Detroit. Photographer: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg
Chrysler Group LLC SRT Brand CEO Ralph Gilles
Chrysler Group LLC SRT Brand Chief Executive Officer Ralph Gilles speaks at the New York International Auto Show.
Chrysler Group LLC SRT Brand Chief Executive Officer Ralph Gilles speaks at the New York International Auto Show. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg
General Motors Co. Global Design VP Ed Welburn
General Motors Co. Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn assigned all 10,000 of his stylists worldwide the task of drawing the next Corvette sports car in what he called a “global design blitz.”
General Motors Co. Vice President of Global Design Ed Welburn assigned all 10,000 of his stylists worldwide the task of drawing the next Corvette sports car in what he called a “global design blitz.” Photographer: Jin Lee/Bloomberg
Article source: http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-21/best-car-design-since-1960s-drive-u-s-market-share-gains.html
Posted: May 19, 2013 at 5:39 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
The design of the Formula E racing car has been unveiled. The look is not dissimilar to a conventional racing car, it is a futuristic looking single-seater capable of reaching 0 – 100kph in under three seconds.
The Spark-Renault SRT_01E is under construction by Spark Racing Technology, with a technical partnership with Renault, in preparation for the 2014 inaugural race series.
The races will take place on street circuits in ten cities around the world, following the principles of Formula 1. It differs in its zero-carbon targets; the cars must be wholly electric.
The races are intended to show that electric vehicles can be as fast, powerful and exciting as ICE race cars whilst bolstering technological and mechanical developments for electric passenger vehicles. The battery and powertrain components have yet to be announced. The chassis will be produced by Dallara and the tyres will be supplied by Michelin.
Article source: http://bestmag.co.uk/news/052013-482/
Posted: May 17, 2013 at 5:24 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
Some 43 cars were considered for the award, this selection being reduced to a shortlist by an advisory panel of design experts before final consideration by the 66 World Car of the Year jury members
There’s a red hot new Jag in town, and it appears as though everyone is taking notice of its arrival. Since making its debut at the Paris Auto Show last year, Jaguar’s F-Type has periodically made headlines, the most recent of which was turning into Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the year, Raquel Pomplun’s toy for an entire year (Watch : Playboy Playmate of the Year gets Jaguar F-type).
Not a bad set of wheels for the Latina beauty considering it’s just won this year’s World Car Design of the Year. A very big deal if you take into account the fact that Jaguar’s new sportscar looking as gorgeous as it does, went head to head with some 43 other prospects before being reduced to a shortlist by an advisory panel of design experts, who then deemed it worthy of the such honour.
Ian Callum, Director of Design, Jaguar was notably elated at the announcement and said, “No design project has given me greater pleasure than the creation of the F-Type. It’s a project I’ve looked forward to from the moment I joined Jaguar, and it’s one that’s given my team and I great satisfaction.”
“The F-Type is a sports car that is true to Jaguar’s design values – beauty of line and purity of form – and I’m honoured that the World Car of the Year jury has recognised our work with this award,” he added.
The two-seater sports car with its long wheelbase, short overhangs and flared fenders is an evocative and progressive design and is very much on par with Jaguar’s own elegance and style. The first full-blooded Jaguar sports car to be launched for more than 50 years, the F-Type could only be a Jaguar – ‘Callum unfiltered’, as it is called in-house.
Article source: http://www.zigwheels.com/news-features/news/jaguar-ftype-awarded-2013-world-car-design-of-the-year/16375/
Posted: May 15, 2013 at 4:50 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
We live inside our cars, but did you know that interior designers are working with car manufacturers?
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Having a good engine and an attractive outer appearance isn’t the only reason people are purchasing specific vehicles.
One important reason is a good car interior design. We live inside our cars not outside. The driving comfort is only one small factor in the selection of a car; its interior design, color, how it makes you feel, technology, textures, sound system and luxury features are also huge factors. Here are the hot trends for 2013 from the top of luxury.
Land Rover Range Rover Sport – The cabin in this model features three different colors of leather along with wood and aluminum trims.
Mercedes CLA45 AMG – Red seat stitching, red seatbelts, and red air vents enhance the car’s interior. Carbon-fiber trim adorns the dashboard, and AMG’s unusually shaped shifter stands atop the center console. The bucket seats are wrapped in a blend of Artico and Dinamica leathers.
Audi A8L- This car offers the ultimate in luxury; with massaging as well as seats, heater and cooler all with real walnut wood trim, and premium leather seating. The A8 also come with Audi Connect, which makes your car a Wi-Fi hot spot with the ability to connect multiple types of electronics. Listen through Bang Olfusen 3D speakers, which makes you feel like you are at a live concert.
Bentley Mulsanne – Designed and built to offer Grand Touring, handcrafted luxury coupled with immense power and sportiness, the Bentley Mulsanne offers one of the world’s most exclusive driving experiences. For 2013, the Mulsanne is more luxurious than ever, with new features such as a large, tilt-opening, tinted glass sunroof and an electrically operated bottle cooler with hand-blown and hand-cut lead crystal champagne flutes. All hand-stitched top quality leather, real wood and nothing but the best.
Cadillac XTS – Experience Cadillac’s platinum collection. Perforated Opus full-leather seats are renowned for their supple feel. Also check out the highly polished premium wood trim and a luxurious microfiber sueded headliner, which frames the expansive UltraView sunroof. With CUE, the Cadillac User Experience, pair up to ten Bluetooth-enabled smartphones and effortlessly access all your contacts and wirelessly stream music or place a call or select a song on command with Natural Voice Recognition.
Connectivity and infotainment is shaping the vehicle interior and the in-car experience. It’s about making your vehicle a place to connect to the outside world and have all the comforts of home at the same time. With speak-to-text becoming a part of the future, even Ford and Hyundai are currently producing this type of system.
Although the outside of a vehicle is important, the inside is where you drive and experience your automobile.
Article source: http://hudsonvalley.ynn.com/content/living/664311/hot-trends-for-car-interior-design/?ap=1&MP4
Posted: May 13, 2013 at 4:34 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
Following its tradition of showcasing future concepts at the Worthersee Festival, German auto major Volkswagen has now put up the race car ‘Design Vision GTI’ at the event, which promises to produce 503bhp. The striking “Design Vision GTI” is based on the seventh-generation GTI. The design team, led by Klaus Bischoff (Head of Design of Volkswagen Brand), has drawn the C-pillars and sills outward as autonomous body elements, thus creating space for substantially wider front and rear tracks, as well as specially developed 20-inch wheels (with 235 tires in the front and 275s at the rear). The “Design Vision GTI” can reach a top speed of 300kmph and looks as if it could start racing tomorrow.
Although the new GTI has plenty of power in standard form, with up to 230bhp available on the Performance model, the “Design Vision GTI” ups the ante with 503bhp, developed at 6500rpm. Just like the engine in the regular GTI, the concept car has a turbocharged and direct – injection TSI engine — in this case, a 3.0-liter V6 instead of a 2.0-litre four cylinder, using twin turbochargers. Two three-way catalytic converters are arranged close to the engine to optimize emissions behavior. The V6 TSI develops 369 pound-feet of torque from as low as 2000rpm, with a maximum figure of 560Nm at 4000rpm.
All this power and torque is distributed to the wheels via a DSG® dual-clutch automatic transmission and an all-wheel-drive system. With this powertrain and a specially tuned chassis, the “Design Vision GTI” eats any type of racetrack. On a dragstrip, it will reach 100kmph from a standstill in an impressive 3.9 seconds
In order to slow this super-powerful GTI, Volkswagen fitted it with large carbon-ceramic brake discs, sized 15.0 inches up front and 14.0 inches at the back. The ceramic brake discs and red-painted brake calipers peek through the spokes of the 20-inch alloy wheels, which are 8.5J wide at the front and 9.5J at the back. The “Design Vision GTI” wheels, derived from the “Austin” GTI design, feature integrated blades that are designed to vent hot brake gas through the wheel openings. The wheel bolts are covered to give the appearance of a center-lock design.
Explaing the design of the car Klaus Bischoff says, “Our claim to be a global player is enhanced with our universal design language. A design that immediately communicates the brand’s identity is central for all models that carry the VW logo, with elements that allow each model to be recognized as a true Volkswagen by its distinctive design.”
Developing a show car for the GTI meeting at Wörthersee is always a great opportunity to package extreme ideas and a lot of emotion. Klaus Bischoff says: “The design team’s brief was to give a spectacular glance into the future of the GTI.” Marc Lichte, Andreas Mindt, and Philipp Römers, the same team who developed the latest Golf and the new GTI, also collaborated in the development of the “Design Vision GTI”, breathing the charisma of a race car into the concept.
The C-pillar, which has always been a distinctive Golf and GTI feature, is drawn outward as an autonomous design element, while the main part of the body narrows strongly towards the rear. This process starts right behind the front wheel with a vertical air outlet that emphasizes the waisted doors. In parallel to that, the sill grows continually outward until its upper edge merges with the C pillar — a styling device that gives this GTI a very dramatic look.
The GTI concept’s front end is similarly sculptural. The radiator grille, the bottom air inlet, and the brake cooling vents are combined with the headlights and framed by the front fenders and the hood. The precision and straightforwardness of the lines follow the Volkswagen design DNA. The grille and air inlets — although re-interpreted — consciously underscore their relation to the production GTI’s. The so-called “blades” are an especially prominent detail.
The GTI’s typical red line divides the headlights of the “Design Vision GTI” horizontally. The actual lighting elements are set back, giving the “eyes” depth — an innovative variation of the “evil eye” popular with GTI customizers. Like the front end, an all-round sharp edge is a consistent feature at the rear. The taillights straddle the space between the C-pillars and the rear deck, while the integrated rear spoiler has the same position as the production GTI’s. At the bottom of the car, the dominant elements are the aerodynamically conceived ribs of the rear diffuser and the exhaust tips that frame the assembly.
Article source: http://www.cardekho.com/india-car-news/volkswagen-unveils-design-vision-gti-race-car-at-worthersee-10325.htm
Posted: May 9, 2013 at 3:52 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
(USA Today) — Even though its first flying car is still at least two years away, a Massachusetts aerospace firm has unveiled a new design for a future product after that, one more akin to a helicopter than a plane.
Like its winged Transition flying car, its first product that is now scheduled for delivery in 2015, Terrafugia’s TF-X would drive like a car on the ground, then take to the air like a plane. But instead of requiring drivers to find a runway, they could merely head to the local helipad — or a parking lot — and take off using tilt-rotor technology.
The car would lift off nearly vertically using propellers on its stubby wings. The props would then rotate from a vertical to a horizontal position for regular flight. It’s the same kind of technology that is found in the Marines’ V-22 Osprey, a transport now in common use, though it got off to rocky start with a series of accidents during development. Plans are for it to use a “plug-in hybrid electric” powerplant.
“We felt this was our time to share our vision of the future,” says Richard Gersh, vice president of business development for Terrafugia, based in Woburn, Mass. Though the new flying car design isn’t likely to take off for another decade, “if you don’t start today, it won’t happen.”
Already, Terrafugia has gotten further than a raft of others either dreaming or designing a vehicle that can be both driven on streets and flown from airports. The Transition, a car with wings that fold into its sides, has gone through two design phases and is about to go through another. The current prototype now has 50 hours of flight time and “quite a bit of driving on the ground,” Gersh says.
But even though the company says it has more than 100 orders and has pushed back delivery dates, he says another generation is in the works to make further improvements before any can be delivered. Complicating the process: The driveable plane has to meet the stringent safety requirements for both an aircraft and a car.
The Transition still has a price tag of $279,000.
Observers say the new craft appears to incorporate lessons from Terrafugia’s participation in a Defense Department project to develop a flying Army jeep a couple of years ago. The tilt-rotor concept will be complicated because of both the added cost of creating such a craft and dealing with the takeoff noise, says John Brown, editor of the Roadable Times, which keeps tabs on the quest to build a flying car. While the idea might easily be written off as pie-in-the-sky, he says Terrafugia can’t be written off.
“I would caution anyone from saying this is science fiction,” Brown says. “They have a track record of doing what they say. We need to take this seriously.”
Likewise, Paul Moller, whose Moller International has worked for years to bring a flying car to production, says he knows the difficulties of building the new design, but that Terrafugia is a “pretty impressive” company that might be able to pull it off.
But Gersh says breakthroughs in both materials and technology make the concept possible. Carbon-fiber for the skin is both lighter and stronger than metals. Engines are becoming more compact and powerful. The TF-X is the “next logical progression” and the company’s engineers — it has 22 employees, about half of whom are engineers — will be able to turn to its development as they finish up work on the Transition.
“You’ve got to be looking forward,” he says.
Article source: http://www.wusa9.com/news/article/258402/158/Terrafugias-Flying-Car-Design-Evolves
Posted: May 7, 2013 at 3:18 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
More than ever, designing cars people want is a tricky business.
Rapidly developing technology, changing demographics, emerging global markets and stricter fuel efficiency standards have forced automakers to rethink how they design cars and conduct consumer research, top automotive executives said today at the SAE 2013 World Congress in Detroit.
“You can’t use traditional research methods to ask a customer ‘do you like this or do you like that,’” said Mike O’Brien, Hyundai vice president of corporate planning and product strategy.
Instead, O’Brien said automakers must ask consumers about the forces changing their lives.
For instance, O’Brien said Hyundai had to do research a few years ago to decide if it really was going to drop traditional V6 engines for its midsize sedans in favor of only four-cylinder engines. The question was hard to research since it had never been tried before.
“It was a big risk, but the sales speak for themselves,” O’Brien said.
Ralph Gilles, senior vice president of design for Chrysler, also said the changing demographics are changing how automakers design cars.
Millennials, generally those born between 1980 and 2000, have been hard for automakers to reach, partially because they have vastly different expectations for cars and transportation than their parents.
But Gilles said he thinks millennials are often misunderstood.
“Everyone says they don’t like cars,” Gilles said. “Maybe. But I don’t buy that. They just don’t need cars right now.”
Another assumption that Gilles challenged is that Americans prefer large cars.
In 2012, sales of small and compact cars increased 27% in the U.S. compared with 13% for the overall industry.
“I think small is the next big thing. I think small cars are finally here,” Gilles said.
Article source: http://www.freep.com/article/20130416/BUSINESS0103/304160135/1206/BUSINESS01/Younger-consumers-forcing-changes-car-design
Posted: May 5, 2013 at 3:09 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
Western Washington University’s Society of Automotive Engineers has been building an entirely new car design to compete in the Baja 2013 International Car Design Competition May 16-19, hosted by Western’s chapter at the Hannegan Speedway in Bellingham.
The team will be running their first driving tests with the car this weekend.
The Baja team, a Western club founded in 1999, gives members the chance to build and race an off-road vehicle through the Society of Automotive Engineers competitions.
“Before this year, none of us have really been around when the team has built a car from the ground up,” said team manufacturing director Derek Seabrook.
“At first we were like, ‘Ah, we don’t really know what we’re doing.’”
The biggest change in the new car is the size and weight.
The new car, formally called Viking 52, is more than 50 pounds lighter than last year’s car, weighing in at about 390 pounds.
Despite starting with a new design this year, Seabrook said he sees promise in it.
“I’m expecting it to do well,” Seabrook said. “It’s smaller but it looks burly and it looks mean. We’ll definitely be able to hit everything full throttle like we usually do.”
Patrick McLean, manufacturing engineering technology major and team captain, said he will wait to see what happens during testing.
“I’m mostly optimistic,” McLean said. “I don’t know how it’s going to handle. I don’t see any obvious weak spots, which is good, but it’s better to be able to predict where it’s going to fail.”
Derek Stout, the chassis and suspension designer who pushed for the smaller design of the new car, said he is relieved the design turned out so well.
“I’m a lot more excited about it now that we’ve gotten it on the ground and it’s starting to come together,” he said. “It’s been really nerve-racking for me, because if it doesn’t work, I’m going to take a lot of the blame.”
Eric Leonhardt, faculty adviser for the team, said the year started out as a challenge for the team.
“They had a smaller team initially, and that has been a challenge,” Leonhardt said. “But they’ve been getting stuff done.”
Viking 52 bears a resemblance to its predecessors as it remains a two-wheel drive car powered by an modified 10 horsepower Briggs and Stratton engine, per SAE competition rules.
To ensure teams obey the rules, cars are inspected before and after each event. The top five finishers in the endurance race will have their engines completely torn apart after the race.
This rule puts teams on an even playing field, McLean said.
“We all have the same engine, so whoever can build the lightest car that handles the best and also is able to present it the best is going to win,” McLean said.
The team is comprised of 12 students, mostly engineering or industrial technologies majors.
During competition, most students on the team will have the chance to drive the car. McLean, Stout and Seabrook will be three of the four drivers during the endurance portion. Other students will drive in the acceleration, hill climb, rock crawl and maneuverability events.
The competition will include 87 teams from around the world, Leonhardt said.
McLean said the team plans to test the car this weekend and again the following weekend.
Since the team isn’t allowed to see the actual track before the event, they will be testing on a 40-acre plot of land off Highway 542 near Maple Falls, McLean said.
“You learn basics in classes, but you learn so much more in these SAE projects,” Seabrook said. “It’s cool because you have to apply [classroom knowledge]. After this you’ve got a car that hopefully wins competitions.”
Article source: http://www.westernfrontonline.net/news/article_2e35f5a6-b3f9-11e2-a2bc-0019bb30f31a.html
Posted: May 3, 2013 at 2:45 am | Tags: Automobile Design, car design
McLAREN P1™: ‘DESIGNED BY AIR’ INTERACTIVE EXPERIENCE UNLEASHED
- Insight into the groundbreaking aerodynamic technology which has optimised the bodyshape of the McLaren P1™
- Online interactive experience can be found at designedbyair.com
The key to the performance for the McLaren P1™ is aerodynamics, and a new web experience, entitled ‘Designed by Air’, is the first of a two part series telling the extraordinary story behind the car’s design.
The website offers participants a detailed insight as the car is ‘born’ from raw metallic and carbon elements and is crafted by airflow. The journey evolves to unveil the McLaren P1™ within the wind tunnel highlighting the aerodynamic focus of the design.
Expanding into further sections, the story behind the design of the McLaren P1™ reveals an interactive 3D model with further information about the finely honed aerodynamic features. The immersive experience, inspired by McLaren Automotive Design Director Frank Stephenson’s biomimicry design philosophy, showcases the McLaren P1™ in simulated urban, alpine, highway and track environments, detailing how the active aerodynamic systems adjust and adapt to deliver optimum performance for differing driving conditions.
The ‘Designed by Air’ McLaren P1™ experience is socially enabled, with a final section ‘Future Chapters’ inviting users to ‘like’, share and register ahead of future updates on the car’s interior and performance features.
Frank Stephenson, Design Director at McLaren Automotive explains: “Our main objective with the McLaren P1™ was to design the best driver’s car in the world, on road and track. Managing air flow in and around the car’s bodywork and optimising aerodynamics was key in achieving this goal. This design philosophy crafted the highly unique and emotive shape of the car.
“The online ‘Designed by Air’ experience developed for the McLaren P1™ captures the essence and detail of the car’s aerodynamic design in an immersive and engaging way.”
The McLaren P1TM experience can be found at designedbyair.com.
Article source: http://www.worldcarfans.com/113050257250/mclaren-launches-designed-by-air-experience-for-the-p1