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CDN competition

Entering the CarDesignNews competition-first round of submissions is next week, then i think any that progress are given another month or two to develop their models. This time all the work has to be done in Alias AutoStudio, with no ‘traditional rendering’. I guess that reflects the way the industry is heading, but there’s always room for some biro sketches! Anyway, the briefs are all set in 2028 in various hot-spots of predicted growth around the world; Shanghai, Rio de Janeiro, and New Delhi. I chose the Rio brief, as it looks at a light and fuel-efficient car that offers a little bit of racing potential.

Started off with this:


Then these:


To this rough CAD blueprint:


Could have done with more time to develop more of the initial concept ideas (seats that fold up and slide into the central ‘backbone’ of the car, clip-on functional units etc etc.) but hey, it’s all good Alias practice! Here’s some Alias development stuff:


Hopefully I’ll get some work done over the next week and get this submitted in time. Will post up finished renders soon..

Saab 9-x Hybrid concept

This from Saab’s press-release: “Echoing Saab’s roots in aircraft design, the 9-X BioHybrid also explores the potential for using active aerodynamics to reduce drag – and fuel consumption – at cruising speeds. Above 70 kph (43 mph), the upper and lower bodywork is reshaped as the roof spoiler automatically extends to further lengthen the roof line and an underbody diffuser is deployed from the bottom of the rear bumper.


I’m absolutely sure that active-aero features such as this will be filtering through to production very soon. Saab/GM have patented this mechanism, while BMW currently uses active flaps behind the grill on their Efficient Dynamics cars to only allow air not the engine bay when needed. The next stage, which is why the Saab is interesting, is to explore how the surfaces on a car can be altered and changed using active-aero techniques and advanced materials. It’s a massive subject with most of the cutting-edge research going on in aeronautics and shipping (where frictional drag is much higher than through air). I scratched the surface of it for my thesis back at university and came up with something a little bit less practical than the Saab for my MA degree project, but essentially using the same principle:



Brown-watch. episode 3

As you might know I’ve been quietly championing the return of Brown to the automotive colour palette. Ever since Nissan showed their Bevel concept and Rogue in brown back at the 2007 Detroit show, I’ve been convinced this is the hue of choice for the environmentally-enlightened trend-setter. Then the Lambo Reventon showed that a true supercar could wear brown with no shame. Just seen Fiat’s 500 offered with ‘Punk Grey’ which in their brochures looks distinctly earthy…maybe ‘Punk Brown’ ain’t cool enough.

And now this:

What is it with all the West-Country English emigrating to the US? Some Plymouth connection?!

Finally, The Face announces that he’ll be re-joining the rat-race as of next week as a ‘Design Trend and Innovation Analyst’ at a major car company. Developing concept-car themes and implementing new technologies into them. Can’t wait!



  1. The Tarantulas · March 19, 2008

    Good luck in your new role !!

  2. luciano · March 21, 2008

    I have a Design blog in which I write also articles and tips fro cardesign students.
    I publish, periodicly, skecthes too about different disciplines including cardesign (I am a design manager in automotive industry).

    I would like o know if you are interested in an exchange link between us and if I can sometime publish some of your posts naturally making links to your site and publishing you as author.

    Visit my blog at and leave me a message to let me know if we can create a sort of free cooperation.

    Thanks for your attention and keep up the good work!


  3. Brett · May 8, 2008

    Nice to see people who aren’t afraid of showing their design process, it is only through sharing that we can all progress.

    I trust you have been busy at the new job 🙂

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