ArtCenter College of Design’s Car Classic 2018 Celebrates 70 Years of Transportation Design

By Austin Hall
Photos: Courtesy of ArtCenter College of Design

Commemorating its involvement in international car design, last year’s Car Classic concours d’elegance left the ArtCenter Hillside Campus decked in a sea of varying shades of red, white, and blue, with each car painted to represent its country of origin.

Ferrari’s famous Rosso Corsa red represented Italy, while Bugatti symbolized France with a two-tone blue Chiron. Cadillacs and Corvettes donned white coats, which left the concourse looking like a giant French (or American, depending on where you stand) flag.

While the selectivity of last year’s paint-centric theme did little to stop certain automobiles from participating, like the bright-orange barn-found 1969 Lamborghini Miura, ArtCenter’s theme this year caters to a different kind of exclusivity. Here’s a hint: It’s no coincidence that Car Classic 2018, the annual car show hosted by ArtCenter College of Design, takes place at the same time as its alumni weekend. We can’t say for certain that alum Henrik Fisker will roll up in a Galpin Rocket, but we’re keeping our fingers crossed.

While Car Classic is undoubtedly a full-fledged concours, organizers have always ensured that a number of cars designed in part by ArtCenter alumni are sprinkled in with the rest of the show. Few other car shows allow guests to truly experience the brains behind the design process of vehicles, rather than solely focusing on the finished product. However, more so than any past Car Classic, this year’s show will involve many ArtCenter alumni, who will participate in a number of panels to elaborate on their individual roles in designing some of today’s most renowned vehicles.

Stewart Reed, chairman of ArtCenter’s Transportation Design Department, highlights some of the standout vehicles making an appearance at the show. “If you go back to the earlier decades, the ’40s, ’50s, ’60s, they [were] dominated by domestically produced cars,” Reed says, “even the fabulous Studebaker Avanti, designed by ArtCenter alum Tom Kellogg, who went to work for Raymond Loewy designing the Avanti in a little studio in Palm Springs. In the modern era, there’ll be amazing stuff like the new Bugatti Chiron, designed in part by alum Sasha Selipanov, and the new Acura NSX. It’ll be a combination of significant production cars, concept cars and high-tech computer equipment like an industrial pointing device.”

Inspired by the former supersonic jet-testing facility that ArtCenter’s South Campus is built on, organizers want to expand beyond automobiles and feature all kinds of transportation design at this year’s show. “With the BMW Museum in Munich, you go through the different eras in BMW’s history, aircraft engines, and all kinds of things,” Reed says. “They have a product designer of the period who created desktop radios and pieces of furniture, and it’s cool to see that. So we’re going to attempt to do that too. It’s not just about cars.”

After 70 years of transportation design, this year’s Car Classic won’t be just another car show—it’ll be a celebration of many of the transportation masterpieces for which ArtCenter alumni are responsible.

ArtCenter Car Classic 2018
Iconic Design: 70 Years of ArtCenter Influence

Sunday, October 28, 2018
ArtCenter College of Design
1700 Lida Street
Pasadena, California

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