Tag Archives: Jay Leno

Cobras, Stingrays and Mako Sharks, oh my! Auto afficionados get “Inspired by Nature” at Car Classic

This past Sunday, nearly 2,000 visitors—transportation designers, car collectors, auto enthusiasts and more—assembled at Art Center College of Design for its popular annual Car Classic event. This year, the event showcased transportation design “Inspired by Nature” and celebrated a generous recent gift from Southern California philanthropists and car collectors Peter and Merle Mullin, who attended the event.

Nearly 90 carefully curated cars, trucks, motorcycles and bicycles–many of which, in keeping with the event’s theme, were inspired by birds, fish, insects and other natural phenomena–were on display at the event. A jury of alumni, faculty and industry leaders issued Best in Class awards to 18 vehicles in eight categories; while attendees voted for five vehicles in five categories.

Local custom auto designer Gary Wales’ 1917 La Bestioni Boat Tail Speedster was named the People’s Choice award winner. The Inspired by Nature award went to the 1959 Chevrolet Corvette Racing Stingray, whose lines were originally penned by alumnus and Car Classic honorary guest Peter Brock. And a 1961 Chevrolet Corvette Mako Shark, designed by alumnus Larry Shinoda, received the first ever Kids’ Choice award.

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Art Center’s Car Classic showcases nearly a century of design

Art Center College of Design celebrated nearly a century’s worth of vehicle designers and designs — from the 1924 Rolls Royce to the 2011 McLaren — at Car Classic.

The annual event, held Sunday at the Hillside campus, drew a crowd of 1,200 and featured a cameo from “Tonight Show” host Jay Leno who arrived in his jet-powered EcoJet.

Nearly 90 vehicles were parked in a series of style-themed vignettes, including colorful all-American classics, a series of French Citroens from the ‘70s and a progression of cars built for speed, from a 1947 Indy racer to the 2011 Leela Spyder.

A section of the field — a ’61 Cadillac Coupe, ’88 Fiero, ’64 Corvair Monza Coupe and a ’58 Cadillac Eldorado Biarritz Coupe — was dedicated to designs by Ron Hill, an Art Center alum and former chair of transportation design. Hill also received the Lifetime Achievement award for his 30-year career that spanned Corvettes, Camaros and Cadillacs.

“The theme of inspiration makes our car show unique,” said Stewart Reed, chair of Art Center’s undergraduate and graduate Transportation Design programs. “While other Concours d’Elegance events showcase the world’s most historic and luxurious vehicles, Car Classic draws a parallel between the vehicles on display and the people who created them.”

The event also benefitted Art Center students: General Motors Foundation donated $100,000 for Transportation Design scholarships and programs, and undergrads had a chance to talk shop with industry leaders.

“You get to meet world-class designers as car lovers,” said fifth-term Transportation Design student Marcello Raeli. “I talked to [General Motor design executive] Clay Dean for 40 minutes until I realized it was him.”

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Chip Foose, Bruce Meyers and Jay Leno Among Special Guests To Appear at Car Classic ’11

Influential and innovative car designers and aficionados always show up at Art Center’s Car Classic, and this year’s lineup is no exception. Here’s a list of special guests scheduled to appear at Car Classic ’11 on October 23:

  • Bruce Canepa – Porsche racer and owner of Canepa Design
  • Peter Brock PROD ’56 — Founder of Brock Racing Enterprises and designer of the ’63 Corvette “split window” Sting Ray and the Cobra Daytona Coupe
  • Chip Foose TRAN ’90 — President and CEO, Foose Design and member of the Hot Rod Hall of Fame
  • Miguel Galluzzi TRAN ’86 – Designer of the Ducati Monster and Vice President of Design, Piaggo
  • Dave Kunz — Automotive reporter for KABC-TV Los Angeles
  • Jay Leno – Host of NBC’s The Tonight Show and Jay Leno’s Garage
  • Barry Meguiar – President/CEO, Meguiar’s, Inc. and host of Car Crazy, as seen on SPEED Channel and heard on syndicated radio
  • Bruce Meyer – Car collector and former chairman of Petersen Automotive Museum
  • Bruce Meyers – Father of the modern dune buggy
  • Chuck Pelly PROD ’58 – Founder, The Design Academy Inc. and BMW Designworks, USA
  • Freeman Thomas TRAN ’83 – Director of Strategic Design for Ford Motor Company

This year’s Car Classic will explore the continuing global influence that Southern California has on transportation design. Visit the event’s website for additional information and tickets.

See you next weekend!