An Interview with Ford GT Designer Camilo Pardo
Allow us to introduce you to Mr. Camilo Pardo and his work. Camilo is best known as the primary designer of the mid-2000s Ford GT, the recreation of the legendary Le Mans-winning racer. Like many other designers though, his interests are varied and he is constantly working on a variety of projects that span a wide range of disciplines. Unlike many other designers, he has enjoyed success in the vast majority. He is based in Detroit, Michigan although he has “one foot in Los Angeles.” We were able to get a few minutes out of his busy schedule, between shooting a new TV show called Motor City Masters (TruTV, Tuesdays at 10PM beginning on June 24) and meeting with clients, to talk about his interests and career thus far.
Q: How did your passion for painting and vintage cars begin?
A: In New York City–during the late ’60s. It was a great time to see contemporary art, pop art, and some of the coolest performance cars the automotive industry has ever made. But it was also in my family. My mother was a painter and my uncles were architects. I was continuously exposed to art and design.
Q: Was it hard starting your career as an automotive artist/designer?
A: Yes. College was very challenging. Fortunately, I landed a good internship and started at Ford when I graduated.
Q: What is your favorite painting subject?
A: Automobiles and figurative (read: women). But I find great pleasure painting almost any subject matter–even the simplest things in life can be captured in a great composition.
Q: What technique do you use for your paintings?
A: I enjoy painting in oil, watercolor, and acrylic. I use aggressive abstraction in my brush strokes to create atmosphere and motion.
Q: Do you own or aspire to own a vintage car (and which one(s))?
A: Currently, I own what’s left of the vintage cars that have survived the stages of my life. I aspire to so many more though (this would include production, racing, and concept cars). If I had to get specific–I would have to start with Ferraris–’67 Ferrari 330P4, ’79 312t4, ’69 512 S Berlinetta Speciale Pininfarina Concept, and the ’84 288 GTO.
Q: Do you have an all-time favorite car?
A: Do you want me to recite the list again? It would by like picking your favorite song or painting in the world.
Q: So what is your favorite road and companion?
A: One of my favorite roads is the drive between Torino, Italy and Monaco. If I was driving from Italy, the companion would be a beautiful Italian girl. If I was driving from Monaco, the companion would be a beautiful Monacan girl.
Q: What is your favorite era of motorsport?
A: Easy. The late ’60s to present.
Q: As an artist, when you look at a car what do you see?
A: I see a composition of shape and form. It’s very much like anatomy–a functioning sculpture.
Q: Where do you like or would you like to see your art displayed most?
A: The Museum of Modern Art in New York.
Q: Is there a classic that you’d like to redesign for production today?
A: A few: the Shelby Cobra, Ford Thunderbird, Porsche 550 spyder, and the next Ford GT.
Q: You’re best known for the Ford GT, but was this your favorite project? If not, what has been your favorite project (automotive or otherwise)?
A: That was my favorite project. I also worked on concepts for the Thunderbird, and the next Shelby Cobra.
Q: Given the chance to design anything, what would you like to do, that you haven’t yet?
A: I would like to design the next “La Ferrari” or whatever they decide to call it. It’s the epitome isn’t it?