Iconic and Influential Car designers of all time


Some car designs are so eye-catching that you can spot them from afar. Many thanks to the great designers behind those ideas. However, not many people are familiar with the names behind these great designs. Let’s list down a few!

Photo Source:   Mike Duff

Photo Source: Mike Duff

Ian Callum

Ian is the Director of Design for Jaguar cars and is well known for his F-Type Jaguar car design. He also has a reputable name when it comes to one of the most beautiful cars in the world, the Aston Martin DB7. Here are some of the cars where Callum’s work is recognized most; Nissan R390, Ford RS200, Aston Martin Vanquish, Jaguar XK, Ford Puma and many more.
He was awarded the Minerva medal, which marks a very significant milestone in his life as this award does not come easy. The Minerva medal by the Chartered Society of Designers is the highest accolade the society can bestow to a person with an outstanding contribution in any field of design.

Photo Source:   Roy Lonberger

Photo Source: Roy Lonberger

Bill Mitchell

Does the Corvette Sting Ray Car ring a bell to you? If yes, it is probably because it was coined a “Legend”. The first Sting Ray, silver in colour, was built as a personal race car by Mitchell. The car was once part of the Atlanta’s High Museum of Art as a division of the facility’s stunning “Allure of the Automobile” Exhibit. He spent 42 years in automobile design at General Motors and eventually became the Vice President of Design for 19 years until his retirement.
He is such a tremendous contributor and influencer towards the design of over 72.5 million automobiles created by GM (General Motors). To name a few; the 1938 Cadillac Sixty Special, the 1949 Cadillac Coupe DeVille, the 1955-57 Chevrolet Bel Air, the 1966-67 Buick Riviera, the 1963-76 Corvette Stingray and the 1970-81 Chevrolet Camaro.

Photo Source:   Doug Revolta

Photo Source: Doug Revolta

Shiro Nakamura

Shiro is one of the Japanese car designers that made a name for himself and is also a legendary icon when it comes to car designing. He is the Senior Vice President and Chief Creative Officer of Nissan Motor Company. He oversees the appearance of the Nissan 350Z and 370Z sports car. The Nissan Juke and Isuzu VehiCross became the ultimate calling for Nakamura as he exemplifies his talent for crossover creativity. That achievement itself made him the “Crossover” King. According to Manoogian, a Professor of transportation design, Nakamura did a lot of things that many people would have been afraid to try. With his crossovers and SUVs, Nissan has blazed its own trail.
He has also overhauled Nissan’s performance heritage, with a restored 370Z and an edgier, fiercer GT-R, which enticed the global market. “I wanted to express Japanese DNA in the design,” said Nakamura. Some of his awards and accolades includes the 2010 Eyes on Design Lifetime Achievement Award, the Art Center’s Lifetime Achievement Award Alumni Award, and Winner of the “Grand Prix du Design” at the International Automobile Festival held in Paris.

Photo Source:   Michael Karkafiris

Photo Source: Michael Karkafiris

Walter De Silva

He was Design Chief and the main man behind the German Volkswagen Group (VW) when it comes to the creative works. The Audi A5 was described as the most “beautiful car” Walter has ever designed and is still a personal favourite of his. Throughout the years, he kept the VW Golf heritage but at the same time, moved the model forward with the sixth and seventh generation versions in order to appeal to different generations in years to come.
He has also achieved a large number of Top Gear points for his stint at Alfa Romeo and has worked on the Alfa design between 1986 and 1998. Apart from that, Walter garnered the design prize of the Federal Republic of Germany. Here are some of the respectful designs under Walter’s belt; Alfa Romeo 156, Audi R8, Lamborghini Miura Concept, Lamborghini Egoista, and Volkswagen UP.
Here is a powerful yet inspirational quote from him, “Design is, in abstract terms the sum of individual signals, which are combined into a powerful comprehensive signal. At the end, design is always the reflection of attitudes towards life, visions and beliefs”.

Photo Source:   Alchetron.com

Photo Source: Alchetron.com

Professor Peter Stevens

Stevens is one of UK’s most well-known vehicle designers and is highly respected for the iconic McLaren F1 road car of which he was the Chief Designer. He also designed the winning Le-Mans BMW when he was the Consultant Designer. In year 2012, he designed Britain’s first electric supercar where he was involved in the design and application of hybrid technology. He was also nominated twice for the Prince Philip Designer of the Year and has won numerous awards for his prestigious work. His list of clients varied from Rolls Royce to Tata, from Virgin Atlantic to Oz Wheels. Peter also believes in education and has always placed that as priority. In an interview with motorsportmagazine.com, he said, “What matters most is education. If nothing else, it’s an insurance policy for the future because we need bright young people around.”

There are many more notable car designers out there that we have yet to mention. However, all car designers, big or small, possess their own talents and experiences. Never stop dreaming and keep pushing forward towards what you believe in!