My Car Quest

November 22, 2017

The ArtCenter College Of Design Classic 2017

A Very Personalized Show, by Designers for Designers

by Wallace Wyss –

“Eclectic” is the best way to describe the ArtCenter Classic Concours.

The reason is that it’s not run like a regular concours. There are not, say, half a dozen Speedsters competing in a Speedster class or 356 class. No, there are maybe one, and it is representing the design.

The ArtCenter College of Design, located in Pasadena, California in the mountains that shadow the Rose Bowl, is famous for training most of the world’s auto designers. So this is a show that, I conclude, opens their eyes to all the possibilities of design, way way beyond what you can see in a showroom.

For instance, I saw a prewar Ford hot rod that was sort of “rat rod” (unpainted hot rod) but had an engine probably from the 1950s. But it had an utter distain for things like upholstery (who needs it) paint (ditto) or chrome. Yet it had a certain feisty charm.

ArtCenter Rat Rod

It was mostly a rat rod but one rat rodder I talked to said it was too ornate, more an exercise in filigree, and should really have had a prewar engine to be a true rat rod. But it sure as heck eschewed bright paint and chrome…

Some of the 115 cars chosen (you had to submit a written reason why your car should be included) were very influential in their time like the Cadillac bodied by Ghia, which I think might be responsible for quad headlamps. It still has one of the most beautiful bodies every made in Italy.

Ghia

A Prince in the Middle East bought this Caddy bodied by Ghia for Rita Hayworth but once she decided to leave him, it didn’t bring her back. I think the styling holds up very well in the front considering that was over 60 years ago.

Right next to it was a Chrysler d’Elegance, a car that a Chrysler distributor in Paris liked so much when Chrylser did a concept car that he put in an order with Ghia for approximately 50.

ArtCenter College Of Design Classic

The “red row” fitting the theme of a red section, a white section and a blue section. Interesting idea and in the white car section you could really appreciate the styling without color influencing you.

ArtCenter College Of Design Classic

The theme of the show was “red, white and blue” so accordingly they had a dozen white cars two dozen red ones (mostly Italian) and a dozen blue ones.

Rarely seen in America are the low cost French postwar cars; Citroens and Renaults and more obscure ones, it almost makes you sad that French cars haven’t been imported for decades now, when they were once so creative. One of the ones that the drifters like was the mid-engined Turbo II Renault 5 in an incredible electric blue color, a modern interpretation of French blue.

Facel Vega

The Facellia was the death of Facel Vega as they tried to build their own engines, the engines broke and they had to run out and buy Volvo engines. It lacked the class of the big brother Facel II.

Because one of the guest speakers, The ArtCenter grad Sasha Selipanov, designed the 2018 Bugatti Chiron, currently one of the fastest (over 250 mph) and most expensive cars (over $2 million) there were two Bugattis on display so the lucky ArtCenter students got to see the ultimate examples of speed and cost imaginable.

Selipanov, who was just appointed head of advanced design for Genesis, gave a one hour presentation that covered what he did for VW, Lamborghini and Bugatti. He came across as very strong minded, and advanced the idea that what he wants to see from young designers he hires is how they work with the form of a car—the shape—which he views as much more important than a flat drawing and he wants to see designs shown in three dimensional form ASAP.

One of the unusual things about The ArtCenter show is that there is a little area where students are selling art work. Not as many as you would think, only 3 or 4, but I think for some who are training to be commercial artists it gives them a little taste of meeting the customers.

The show is held on a large common green area nestled between the hillside school and a steep hill, so there’s only room for 150 cars. But you’re glad that it’s up there right at the school because all the concours visitors are free to roam around and watch future car designers carving models of clay, drawing or (more common now) creating new designs on the computer.

ArtCenter College Of Design Classic

This Studebaker also had a grille and hood that I think would pass muster today. Raymond Loewy is given credit for Stude design back then but an Avanti owner there said Loewy claimed the credit for work his underlings did. Hey, what else is new in business?

There’s also a gallery in the lobby that contains not only car designs but sculpture, portraits, product designs, advertising, illustration, interaction design, fine art, entertainment design and even short clips of student films.

The great thing about The ArtCenter show is you see cars there that you might not see in a more strict concours, whimsical cars. For instance, Gary Wales of Woodland Hills brought a prewar Bentley that he had bought for a song 30 years ago, thrown away the body and after three decades of ruminating on a new design created his own idea of 1920s elegance with such features as a rearward hinged door that is round in front to accommodate the outside spare tires. And he added tailfins. Three of them. In a way the car looks like something you’d find in Wayne Manor, where Batman lives, maybe built by Batman’s grandfather (Hey, Hollywood, think about that for the next Batman movie…).

Gary Wales “Bentley”

Gary Wales "Bentley"

Gary Wales, still creating cars full tilt boogie at age 75. His Bentley, which modern Bentley designers insisted on taking to England to be inspirational to the boys on the boards.

Gary Wales "Bentley"

Gary Wales "Bentley"

Another rather eccentric guy making cars his own way is Jonathan Ward, of a company called Icon. He was showing a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud that looked a little down at the heels (even with a metal lizard on the hood) but when you looked at the engine you saw a modern high horsepower American engine so then you realized that, yessir, this is one of his trick “sleeper” cars that looks like it won’t get out of its own way but can probably cruise at 140 mph.

There was also a custom Packard there that looked liked the best of 1930s but turns out it was a modern day hot rod made by a firm called Hollywood Hot Rods for James Hetfield, a Metallica band musician. It had an electrically reclining hardtop—something that you wouldn’t have seen in the 1930s (though a French company did have a manual reclining hardtop).

ArtCenter College Of Design Classic

Viewers of the show can also go to the ArtCenter library, which has over 30,000 books.

Wherever I went in the show I would meet Art Center grads, back for the annual show, meeting up with their old schoolmates and discussing how the job was going at their respective automakers. It was a little like Old Home Week.

It was fun to see the young wet-behind-the-ear students here and there sketching cars they had never seen before, especially those students from countries where there aren’t concours d’elegance like in America.

Each year I’ll be careful to note when The ArtCenter show is because I see this is a way to glimpse one of those occupations I didn’t follow but wished I had….

The theme was “red, white and blue” with cars grouped by color, an interesting idea.

Anybody attending the concours was free to walk through the design studio, where you could see student’s work, like clay models, work drawings and sometimes an elaborate rationale for determining the target audience for a car

Who says we don’t have coachbuilders today who can do what the famous French carrosseries did? This bespoke Packard body was made in modern times by a Hollywood customizer for a famous musician who wants prewar streamline Moderne styling in his hot rods…

Let us know what you think in the Comments.

Wallace Wyss

 
 
THE AUTHOR: Wallace Wyss is the author of 18 car histories. He is now writing the sequel to his action thriller novel, Ferrari Hunters. Interested parties can reach him at Photojournalistpro2@Gmail.com.

 
 
 

 

 

ArtCenter Car Classic

ArtCenter Car Classic 2017 – Judge Choices

Team: Italian – Motorcycles

Lead Judge: Miguel Galluzzi
Other Judges: Marek Djordjevic, Franz von Holzhausen and Geoff Wardle

Choice 1:

1929 Henderson Model KJ
Owner: Paul Greenstein

Choice 2:

1976 Morbidelli-Benelli ARMI 125 VR Grand Prix Racer
Owner: Philippe De Lespinay

Team: Other Colors
Lead Judge: Ian Cartabiano
Other Judges: Ken Saward and Bradley Arnold

Choice 1: Classic

1936 MG SA Saloon
Owner: David Spiegel

Choice 2: Performance

1958 Morgan 4/4
Owner: Larry Guzin

Choice 3: Special Interest

1938 Bentley 4.25 L Special Roadster
Owner: Gary Wales

* Honorable mention: 1951 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster, Roger Zrimec, owned by Strother MacMinn

Team: American Classics
Lead Judge: Frank Saucedo
Other Judges: Chuck Pelly, Dave Marek

Choice 1:

1953 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe by Ghia
Owner: Petersen Automotive Museum

Choice 2:

1940 Lincoln-Zephyr Continental Cabriolet
Owner: Beverly and Ronald Cressey

Team: American Performance
Lead Judge: Derek Jenkins
Other Judges: Jonathan Ward, Jason Castriota and Richard Pietruska

Choice 1:

1955 Chevrolet Corvette
Owner: Paul and Sherrill Colony

Choice 2:

1966 Shelby GT-350
Owner: Craig Kuromi

Team: American Special Interest
Lead Judge: Chris Chapman
Other Judges: Tom Peters and Fireball Tim Lawrence

Choice 1:

Blastolene “Blown Ranger” Fairchild XFR0001 Roadster
Owner: Michael Leeds

Choice 2:

1936 Ford Pickup Custom
Owner: Joe Magliato

Team: French
Lead Judge: Jae Min
Other Judges: Sasha Selipanov, John Sahs and Jason Hill

Choice 1: Classic

1976 Renault Alpine A110B
Owner: James Selevan

Choice 2: Performance

1981 Renault R5 Turbo 1
Owner: Bruce Milner

Choice 3: Special Interest

1949 Voisin Biscooter Prototype
Owner: Scott Boses

Team: Italian – Ferraris
Lead Judge: Freeman Thomas
Other Judges: Rich Plavetich, John Krsteski and Dennis Campbell

Choice 1:

Year: 1963 Ferrari 400 Superamerica
Owner: Donnie Crevier

Choice 2:

1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GT Euro
Owner: Bella Classics, Inc.

Choice 3:

1990 Ferrari F40 Coupe
Owner: Rick Principe

Choice 4:

1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta by Touring
Owner: Don and Carol Murray

Team: Italian – Exotic/Sport/GT
Lead Judge: Richard Kim
Other Judges: Christopher Rhoades, Kevin Hunter

Choice 1:

1976 Lamborghini LP400
Owner: Chuck Gayton

Choice 2:

1955 Fiat 8V Zagato Berlinetta
Owner: Milani Classics Collection

Choice 3:

1969 De Tomaso Mangusta
Owner: Erik Goplen

Team: Italian – Special Interest
Lead Judge: Miguel Galluzzi
Other Judges: Marek Djordjevic, Franz von Holzhausen and Geoff

Choice 1:

1927 Lancia Lambda 7th Series Airway
Owner: The Byrd Family

Choice 2:

1958 Fiat Multipla
Owner: Rudy Pock

Designer’s Choice

1960 Chevrolet Cunningham Corvette Le Mans Roadster
Owner: Bruce Meyer (Tom Kenney accepting)

1932 Bugatti Type 55
Owner: Peter and Merle Mullin – Mullin Automotive Museum

1972 Citroen DS 21 Pallas
Owner: Po Shun Leong

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Owner: David SK Lee

1962 Fiat/Abarth 1000 Coupe
Owner: Thomas Shaughnessy

1957 BMW Isetta
Owner: Bruce Heavin

ArtCenter Car Classic 2017
Judge Choices

Team: Italian – Motorcycles
Lead Judge: Miguel Galluzzi
Other Judges: Marek Djordjevic, Franz von Holzhausen and Geoff Wardle

Choice 1:

1929 Henderson Model KJ
Owner: Paul Greenstein

Choice 2:

1976 Morbidelli-Benelli ARMI 125 VR Grand Prix Racer
Owner: Philippe De Lespinay

Team: Other Colors
Lead Judge: Ian Cartabiano
Other Judges: Ken Saward and Bradley Arnold

Choice 1: Classic

1936 MG SA Saloon
Owner: David Spiegel

Choice 2: Performance

1958 Morgan 4/4
Owner: Larry Guzin

Choice 3: Special Interest

1938 Bentley 4.25 L Special Roadster
Owner: Gary Wales

* Honorable mention: 1951 Jaguar XK 120 Roadster, Roger Zrimec, owned by Strother MacMinn

Team: American Classics
Lead Judge: Frank Saucedo
Other Judges: Chuck Pelly, Dave Marek

Choice 1:

1953 Cadillac Series 62 Coupe by Ghia
Owner: Petersen Automotive Museum

Choice 2:

1940 Lincoln-Zephyr Continental Cabriolet
Owner: Beverly and Ronald Cressey

Team: American Performance
Lead Judge: Derek Jenkins
Other Judges: Jonathan Ward, Jason Castriota and Richard Pietruska

Choice 1:

1955 Chevrolet Corvette
Owner: Paul and Sherrill Colony

Choice 2:

1966 Shelby GT-350
Owner: Craig Kuromi

Team: American Special Interest
Lead Judge: Chris Chapman
Other Judges: Tom Peters and Fireball Tim Lawrence

Choice 1:

Blastolene “Blown Ranger” Fairchild XFR0001 Roadster
Owner: Michael Leeds

Choice 2:

1936 Ford Pickup Custom
Owner: Joe Magliato

Team: French
Lead Judge: Jae Min
Other Judges: Sasha Selipanov, John Sahs and Jason Hill

Choice 1: Classic

1976 Renault Alpine A110B
Owner: James Selevan

Choice 2: Performance

1981 Renault R5 Turbo 1
Owner: Bruce Milner

Choice 3: Special Interest

1949 Voisin Biscooter Prototype
Owner: Scott Boses

Team: Italian – Ferraris
Lead Judge: Freeman Thomas
Other Judges: Rich Plavetich, John Krsteski and Dennis Campbell

Choice 1:

Year: 1963 Ferrari 400 Superamerica
Owner: Donnie Crevier

Choice 2:

1973 Ferrari Dino 246 GT Euro
Owner: Bella Classics, Inc.

Choice 3:

1990 Ferrari F40 Coupe
Owner: Rick Principe

Choice 4:

1951 Ferrari 340 America Berlinetta by Touring
Owner: Don and Carol Murray

Team: Italian – Exotic/Sport/GT
Lead Judge: Richard Kim
Other Judges: Christopher Rhoades, Kevin Hunter

Choice 1:

1976 Lamborghini LP400
Owner: Chuck Gayton

Choice 2:

1955 Fiat 8V Zagato Berlinetta
Owner: Milani Classics Collection

Choice 3:

1969 De Tomaso Mangusta
Owner: Erik Goplen

Team: Italian – Special Interest
Lead Judge: Miguel Galluzzi
Other Judges: Marek Djordjevic, Franz von Holzhausen and Geoff

Choice 1:

1927 Lancia Lambda 7th Series Airway
Owner: The Byrd Family

Choice 2:

1958 Fiat Multipla
Owner: Rudy Pock

Designer’s Choice

1960 Chevrolet Cunningham Corvette Le Mans Roadster
Owner: Bruce Meyer (Tom Kenney accepting)

1932 Bugatti Type 55
Owner: Peter and Merle Mullin – Mullin Automotive Museum

1972 Citroen DS 21 Pallas
Owner: Po Shun Leong

1967 Ferrari 275 GTB/4
Owner: David SK Lee

1962 Fiat/Abarth 1000 Coupe
Owner: Thomas Shaughnessy

1957 BMW Isetta
Owner: Bruce Heavin

Summary
The ArtCenter College Of Design Classic 2017
Article Name
The ArtCenter College Of Design Classic 2017
Description
The ArtCenter College of Design, located in Pasadena, California in the mountains that shadow the Rose Bowl, is famous for training most of the world’s auto designers.
Author

Comments

  1. It must have been a great experience for the students. Hope they got to learn a lot about the cars from the show.

  2. Roger Rousset says:

    Wally it was nice for me to have spent lots of personal time with you in such a great and beautiful show!!!
    and as I always tell you when I see you “KEEP WRITING”!!!

  3. Gerald Greenfield says:

    The Custom Packard was designed and built for Bruce Wanta of Bellevue, WA at a cost of 2 plus million dollars. It has won every Custom/Hot Rod show in 2017 and was awarded the AMBR Award for 2017 (America’s Most Beautiful Roadster), which is equal to Best of Show at Pebble Beach.

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