Category: Automotive Design

DeLorean Front Facia Design Exercise

DeLorean Front Facia Design Exercise

Classic car doing some time traveling.
Classic car doing some time traveling.

I have a 1981 DeLorean.  It’s a fun car to drive, has lots of power (thanks to an engine swap to a 350 sbc from a late 70’s Corvette), still turns heads more than 30 years after it came out, due to the incredible design by Giorgetto Giugiaro  of famed ItalDesign, featuring Gull Wing Doors that incorporated Northrop cryogenically hardened torsion bars to hold them up… (okay, that was a cool but nerdy engineering fact).  It looks cool from pretty much every angle.

Except one…

The front nose, or fascia, head on.  My wife loves the car except that nose. Same here, and if you talk to a number of other DeLorean owners, you might get the same story.

Ugh! That nose. It's so, 80's...
Ugh! That nose. It’s so, 80’s…

Yes, it’s typical of the 80’s with the rectangular headlights, and the rectangular grill – which is in fact a non-functioning block of plastic made to look like a grill. Non-functioning as no air passes through it.

At all.

And thus one of the many engineering design flaws of an otherwise extremely cool car which I’m totally enamored with.  The engine is in back, you have the radiator up front, and you limit air flow through the lower vent in the spoiler.

Good going guys.

So, I consider myself somewhat of an R&D Designer/industrial designer/fix things to make them better kind of guy.

And I decided I’d try and come up with something better – more modern, sleek, and hey! – more air flow while I’m at it.

So I did some quick sketches.

Some roughed out concepts.
Some roughed out concepts.

And then did some mockups in Photoshop.

I see you... and no I'm STILL not a Dodge...
I see you… and no I’m STILL not a Dodge…
Pew! Pew!
Pew! Pew!

I personally like the one with the round headlights. They offset the angles, and they’re pretty cheap to get off the shelf, whereas the others, being LASER headlights (pew! pew!) aren’t even available yet. Overall this would be a pretty simple and cost-effective mod.  And if you donate to my Kickstarter LOTS of money, then I’ll do this, and take you for one of the coolest rides you’ve ever had in your whole LIFE. (okay, I don’t have a Kickstarter but now that I think about it…)

Comments are always welcome, unless they’re related to John DeLorean and his arrest/entrapment, or cocaine. BTTF comments and jokes are a-okay.

Advertisements

Random Thought – An interesting morning…

I have a Honda Rune. Google it.. really..just Google it.

When people ask what I ride – after they’ve seen me walk into work with my helmet, or see it at my desk, they ask “So, what do you ride”. I tell them, and either they say “Oh, nice” (they really don’t know what I’m talking about..), or look puzzled, and in either case I tell them to Google it.

At the bottom of this I’ll post a pic. But Google it, because the pictures of it only tell maybe a tenth of a story about a bike Honda decided to make for only 2 years, at what’s reported at a production cost of $100,000 per bike. So, the best guess is there were only 3,000 made, and a quite a few were shipped to Japan, and then deduct how many were wrecked by bad riders, etc.

As a kid, I loved cool muscle cars, as did my older brother, which was something that was in us from birth, and my dad was more than happy to help us along in that when he brought home a 1971 Ford Ranchero Boss GT with the 429 Cobra Jet engine and Hurst shifter… yeah…I’d say we were pretty lucky to have such an education. I think almost all boys, and some girls – my wife loved muscle cars since she was a kid as her dad had an appreciation for them, and my daughter digs old muscle cars t0o – get it.

So it’s no wonder when they see a Rune, which pretty much doesn’t look like most of the other bikes out there nor sounds like one – it’s been said the sound of a Rune, as well as accounts from people I know who have commented on it, is akin to: An angry Porsche 944, a Corvette, a 1971 Mustang GT fastback, a 1970 Camaro SS…and even a p51 Mustang airplane in flight..

All I know is it sounds cool, like a muscle car, and not a Harley or crotch rocket.

The other day I decided to ride into work- I ride the Rune in pretty much 2-3 times a week depending on weather, or if it’s really foggy in the morning (won’t ride), and so on. I take the same route every time though.
But the other day was different, because I was at a stoplight on the bike in front of a church pre-school, specifically the yard area where all the kids are playing in the morning.
As I was sitting there, I looked over to see them playing, and noticed not one, but 4 or 5 boys at first stop what they were doing, and run up to the fence to check out the Rune. They waved as I looked over, I waved back. Then a few more came to look, until there were about 10 or so kids staring at the bike.
As the light turned green, I revved up the Rune and went, watching as they stood motionless, heads followed, mouths open and eyes locked on this rolling piece of art.

That was a pretty cool morning.

Car Design-Back to the Future

I love good automotive design. Period. Unfortunately, most cars that have been churned out by car makers over the past 10 or more years have looked pretty much like every other car. I remember always going to car shows, seeing the cool concepts and thinking “I’d buy that”, only to see the actual production car to come out and look pretty pedestrian — all the cool cutting edge features, the slick lines, the things that made that car a standout at the auto show were dropped to make it more affordable to produce, or in some cases, the automaker thinking people wanted boring cars. And that’s why GM and Chrysler have had so many problems (and Ford to some extent).

Back in the Golden Days of automotive design, people wanted swooping fins, space age design, something unique. So I present to you some photos of cars from the past that have been circulating in some emails, that to the designers and consumers were indeed what they thought cars of the future might look like. They were more bold in that the designs, both inside and out, said “Look at me!”, and made people feel like it truly was the jet age. And automakers weren’t afraid to be bold.

1959 Chevrolet Brookwood Stationwagon
1959 Chevrolet Brookwood Stationwagon
1954 Buick Wildcat II
1954 Buick Wildcat II
1951 Buick LaSabre
1951 Buick LaSabre

I’d have to say that one modern automaker that came close to doing what was accomplished in the Golden Age was John Z. Delorean. Yes, one of the most iconic cars of the 80’s, made famous in the “Back to the Future” movies; though failed because Delorean went bankrupt (and there’s a whole story behind that). If you remember the history of Tucker, or just saw the movie, he had a cutting edge design, one of the first cars with safety features (safety glass, seat belts, headlights that turned with the front wheels, and so on), and made the Big 3 very afraid. So, they basically found a way to shut him down, even before his cars officially hit the road.

Most people think that was the same deal with Delorean. Cutting edge design, gull wing doors, built-in safety features (it was originally to be called the DSV- Delorean Safety Vehicle)  like a lower padded console to protect a driver’s legs in an accident, and specially engineered crumple zones to protect the occupants. Early development work was actually funded by Allstate.  As much as I’ve wanted one since I was a junior in high school and saw the commercials as well as one at the local dealership, I always thought it needed to be a 4 seater – either 4 doors, or one big gull wing. The photoshop ideas below aren’t great and I could have spent a LOT more time on them, but you get the idea.

The DMC 4 Door Coupe
The DMC 4 Door Coupe
The DMC 4 Seater
The DMC 4 Seater

Comments of course are always welcome.