Car talk with Car designers

By Nauman Farooq


Have you ever gone to an auto show, fallen in love with a car, and wondered who designed it, and what cars inspired them when they were growing up?


I caught up with two very talented designers at the 2009 Canadian International Auto Show, to ask two designers some questions.

Ralph Gilles

Ralph Gilles, Chrysler (Photo: Nauman Farooq)

On hand were Randy Rodriguez from Nissan, and Ralph Gilles from Chrysler, both of whom are originally from Canada.


Rodriguez, 31, has been with Nissan since 2002, working with the design team at Nissan Design America in San Diego, Ca.


While he has worked on many project, the 370Z is his pride and joy, as his design was hand-picked from all the various entries from Nissan designers from around the world.


This was especially emotional for Rodriguez, as he grew up admiring the Z-car since he was a kid.

Randy Rodriguez

Randy Rodriguez, Nissan (Photo: Nauman Farooq)

Ralph Gilles from Chrysler has also loved cars since he was a kid. Gilles, 39, has been with Chrysler for many years and is admired the world over for his designs, ranging from the 300C, Charger, Challenger, Ram and the Viper Coupe, to name just a few.


Gilles is a pure petrol-head and enjoys taking part in competition events in Canada and U.S.A.


I asked Randy Rodriguez (RR) and Ralph Gilles (RG) five identical questions as follows:


Q1. What was your favorite car design from when you were a kid?


RR. It was the Datsun Z-car, my brother bought a 280ZX and I fell in love with it. I bought my first Z-car at age 14 and since then have owned 10 Z-cars.


RG. Porsche 930 Turbo with the big whale tail spoiler and the regular nose, not the slant nose.


Q2. What is your favorite car, designed by you?


RR. As far as production cars go, definitely the 370Z.


RG. The Chrysler 300C, because it really started the modern Chrysler design theme.


Q3. What are you working on next?


RR. Canʼt say right now, you have to wait and see. But we start working on a cars replacement almost as soon as a new car hits the showrooms.


RG. We have a lot going on, despite what people might think about our brand in the current economic conditions. We are working more than ever and I see a great resurgence is on the way from Chrysler.


Q4. Where is car design headed?


RR. The trend is going towards passionate designs with more form and expressions. Public now demands great design language even in affordable cars.


RG. Efficiency is playing a big part in design now as aerodynamics are a big part of the equation. What we designers try to do is to offer interesting designs while keeping very aerodynamic shapes. If we just paid attention to aerodynamics, all cars will look the same and will be very boring.


Q5. Which current car from another manufacturer do you like the most?


RR. Current is the Bugatti Veyron, but some recent cars I liked include the Porsche Carrera GT and the Lamborghini Reventon.


RG. I like the Audi R8, Mercedes-Benz CLS, Bentley Continental GT and the Aston Martin DB9. I just love beautiful designs.


It was great to chat with some truly talented car designers. If you want to see their creations in person, be sure to visit this years auto show, itʼs open to the public from Feb. 13 to Feb. 23.

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