Magazine article Sunset

Car of the Future in Pasadena?

Magazine article Sunset

Car of the Future in Pasadena?

Article excerpt

Car of the future in Pasadena? The car of the future may very well emerge from a lump of modeling clay sculpted in Harry Bradley's auto design class (shown above) at Pasadena's Art Center College of Design.

Sound far-fetched? Not when you consider that car-crazy Southern California has become an international center for automobile design, and that many of the leading auto designers in this country, Japan, and Western Europe are graduates of the Art Center program.

To recognize the region's design leadership, Sunset has established the annual Western Automotive Design Award for students in the program. Our first award project: devise a vehicle for weekend use by Westerners of the future. Results will go on display in Art Center's lobby gallery January 15.

Not only students but also professional designers are targeting Southern California's huge, tough market of car buyers--described as the most discriminating, knowledgeable, and innovation-hungry in the world. The region also has acute need for vehicles that offer improved fuel efficiency and meet toughening emissions standards.

Aware that California's car-buying tastes lead the rest of the country by about three years, 12 automakers--all the major American and Japanese companies, and two European manufacturers--have set up Southern California design studios since 1973. Here they can watch trends emerge. They study how people use their vehicles--what they carry, where they go, how long they drive--and how they customize what they drive.

Then the automakers start responding. Richard Hutting, Ford's head California designer, says, "Detroit wants unbiased opinions, true West Coast thinking. …

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