Featured: GALLERY: Our Favorite Design Icons From The 2017 ArtCenter Car Classic

GALLERY: Our Favorite Design Icons From The 2017 ArtCenter Car Classic

By Alex Sobran
October 23, 2017
10 comments

Photography by Alex Sobran

From its perch in the hills of Pasadena, California, ArtCenter College of Design has been churning out top industrial designers, photographers, fine artists, and general aesthetic excellence for decades. And included in the ranks of its alumni is a long string of automotive designers who collectively, continuously, shift the paradigm of what our cars look like.

You’re likely to find ArtCenter graduates heading design teams at the largest and most prominent manufacturers (there are too many to list, but Frank Stephenson and Chris Bangle jump out as examples of this), and though building consumer products on a massive scale may seem antithetical to artistry, this is obviously not true. It is a challenge like architecture is a challenge—working within the many confines of budget, physics, schedules, etc.—and when done well, it has the ability to serve aesthetic and utilitarian needs simultaneously and seamlessly. This is why we love cars in the most general terms, isn’t it? For gorgeous form and ferocious function all wrapped up in an object that we can interact with on so many different levels.   

Yesterday, ArtCenter held its annual Car Classic event at its hillside campus in Pasadena, and like last year’s focus on hand-built vehicles, the 2017 edition of the show was also tied to a theme: Red, White, and Blue, representing, respectively, the achievements in automotive design and engineering from Italy, the United States, and France. Beyond the charms of Fiat Jollys and the menace of Chevrolet Corvettes though, the curation of cars arrayed on the lawn this past Sunday was a feat in and of itself. The venue was broken up by region, and as you might expect from an organizer like a top art college, color coordinated. The sun was brutally hot, but it was shining on an assembly of cars so varied in their purposes and pulchritudes that even my mistake of wearing long pants couldn’t take away from the experience.

Besides the impressive display, there were tons of current students, alumni, and other automotive designers in the crowd offering a rare opportunity to take in the beauty of vintage cars while talking with those who know what it takes to build the next generation. Petrolicious was honored to again be a part of this splendid day, and we had a pleasure meeting some of you in person. For those who couldn’t attend, I hope you enjoy the gallery we’ve put together below! 

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Catimann
Catimann
4 years ago

What I always find ironic is how people Oooo and Awe over the iconic or even the strange stuff some of these designers came up with. Some of the 60’s kit cars are now big dollars but didn’t sell back then because of the work involved or they just didn’t look right for the public then. However when someone mods a car to their own taste (which is design in it’s own right) they are often shot down.

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito
4 years ago

I filled out the survey today and my only request on what I would like to see on this site was “Put Guitar Slinger on mute”

AndrewAllred
AndrewAllred(@andrewallred)
4 years ago
Reply to  Paul Ipolito

Everyone just needs to ignore him. He has, what we call in psych world, negative attention seeking targets. The more attention he gets for being negative the more he feels he matters.

Bill Meyer
Bill Meyer(@jack-straw)
4 years ago

I’m very bummed out that I missed the Art Center show. I let the date sneak up on me and even my Mustang GT couldn’t get me from Prescott to Pasadena in time.
I lived just down the street from the campus for a few years and always visited the events there….a great school
to be sure.
Thanks Alex, for once again making me feel like I was there, minus the heat.

Harv Falkenstine
Harv Falkenstine(@harv)
4 years ago

Alex, the key line in the article is…”For those who couldn’t attend, I hope you enjoy the gallery we’ve put together below! ” Enjoyed it immensely, I did not find your photography sloppy at all, I found it authentic, the angles, the sun all made me feel like I was walking around seeing these cars in person. Appreciate you sharing this experience with us. Obviously, at some point you have eliminated into Mr. Guitar Slinger’s morning cereal, perhaps we should measure your success by his critique. I am determined to attend this event next year. The Art College can be justifiably proud of their contributions to automotive design worldwide and I hope the show continues in its present format and does not relocate to some more comfortable less picturesque setting. Please consider my opinion authentic not swayed by the illusion of sophistication created by references to famous authors and social critics. Great pictures, Man! keep it up.

Jonathan WC Mills
Jonathan WC Mills
4 years ago

Nice to see this relationship continuing. Art Center and Petrolicious remain kindred spirits on many levels.

GuitarSlinger
GuitarSlinger
4 years ago

Sloppy photography placed in an incomprehensible overly busy grouping detracting from what could of been an excellent article on an interesting albeit somewhat superfluous event

And may Hunter S.Thompson and Robert Hughes shine brightly upon my words

😎

Dennis White
Dennis White
4 years ago
Reply to  GuitarSlinger

A legend in his own mind!

Paul Ipolito
Paul Ipolito
4 years ago
Reply to  GuitarSlinger

Speaking of a “somewhat superfluous event” , I would be inclined to add the day of your birth to that list.