Art Center Car Classic Celebrates Design Thinkers and Makers

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Design Thinkers and Makers Celebrate Diverse Vehicles at Art Center College of Design’s Car Classic 2016 “Built by Hand”

Pasadena CA, Oct 24 2016— A crowd of more than 2,000 mobility fans experienced multi-sensory delight at “Built by Hand” ArtCenter College of Design’s Car Classic 2016 on Sunday, Oct. 23, 2016. Attendees met collectors and the imaginative makers who create handcrafted vehicles featured on the road, in museums and around the world. Designers are celebrities at Car Classic, where extraordinary ideas are realized as visionaries push transportation boundaries to a limitless future.


ArtCenter College of Design—a leader in educating the world’s top automotive designers and transportation specialists—presented a carefully curated selection of 120 innovative handcrafted vehicles. The exhibition made for a highly contrasted wacky and wonderful display at the popular daylong event. From the quirky, think Greg Hahs’ customized “Lil Laker” BMW Isetta fan-mobile complete with a Shaquille O'Neal’s size 22 shoe on the back dash and interior images of Kobe Bryant, Adam Sandler and Jack Nicholson; to Kenneth and Ann Smith’s dreamy, midnight blue 1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Figoni et Falaschi work of art with a disappearing convertible top and elegant reoccurring crease point from the hood, to the dash, interior door detail and the trunk, Car Classic delivers an eclectic mix of machinery to an appreciative audience.

1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Figoni et Falaschi

1936 Delahaye 135 Competition Figoni et Falaschi

New York Times best-selling author and TV host Adam Carolla’s interview with hot rod obsessed Randy Grubb about custom-built cars provided one of the many highlights on the field. Additional conversations and panels featured top design influencers such as Dave Marek (BS 91) of Acura Honda, Freeman Thomas (BS 83) with Ford, Franz von Holzhausen (BS 92) of Tesla and master car builder Gary Wales.

1956 Fisher Body Craftman builit by Michael D Capizola

Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild built by Michael D Capizola, age 17, in 1956

Several proud ArtCenter alumni were among the 100 Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild members in attendance for a special reunion of the General Motor’s sponsored competition, held in conjunction with this year’s Car Classic. From 1930 to 1968, millions of teenage boys entered the annual car-building and design competition to be recognized as potential future talent by the car maker. Attendees included Craig Hodgetts of prestigious L.A.-based architecture firm Hodgetts + Fung and Stewart Reed, veteran automotive designer and chair of ArtCenter’s Transportation Design department.

Model makers travelled to Pasadena for the reunion and displayed their impressive 1/12th scale models depicting future car design concepts inspiring students and younger car designers-in-the-making who attended Sunday’s event.

1989 Nissan Pao at Art Center Car Classic 2016

1989 Nissan Pao

Many Fisher Body contestants went on to study automotive design at ArtCenter and launched successful careers with automotive companies around the world.

2012 Perana Zagato Z-One

2012 Perana Zagato Z-One

Bud Magaldi (BS 66), and his wife Mary, of Canton, Michigan, raved about the celebratory reunion weekend, which included a private tour of the Petersen Automotive Museum and gala dinner at the College’s Hillside Campus. After winning the competition as a high school student, alumnus Magaldi went on to a 32-year career with Ford Motor Company.

1951 International Harvester Metro Walk-in Van

1951 International Harvester Metro Walk-in Van

The College is grateful for support for this event from generous premier patrons Bruce Heavin (BFA 93) and Lynda Weinman. ArtCenter also expresses gratitude to event partners Alfa Romeo, Clarion Builds, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, Ford, Honda and Hyundai. Car Classic 2016 media partners are Arroyo magazine, Dreams magazine, Hooniverse, KCRW Radio, L.A. Weekly, Pasadena Weekly and Petrolicious.  Next event Oct 22 2017.

Car Classic 2016 "Built by Hand"Awards: 

BOLD AMERICAN DESIGN - 1963 Ford Thunderbird; and 1964 Buick Riviera

1964 Buick Riviera

BUILT BY HAND - 2016 Randy Grubb Falconer Dodic

CLASSIC DESIGN - 1937-38 Delage D8-120SS; and 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk

Rod and Elaine Byrd - 1957 Studebaker Golden Hawk

COMPETITION - 1974 Alfa Romeo GTV115; and 1946 Bill Burke Belly Tanker

1946 Bill Burke Belly Tanker

EXOTICS - 1969 DeTomaso Mangusta; and 2009 RS Design Corsa Spyder

2009 RS Design Corsa Spyder

HOT RODS & CUSTOMS - 1928 Indian Factory OHC Hillclimber; and 1952 TC Chrysler DE584D Wagon

1952 TC Chrysler DE584D Wagon by Jonathon Ward

OUT OF THE BOX - 1958 Fiat Multipla; and 1936 Stout Scarab

1936 Stout Scarab

SPORTS & GT - 1966 Ford GT 350 Shelby Mustang; 1956 Lancia Aurelia B20S GT; and 1973 BMW 3.0 CSI 

1973 BMW 3.0 CSI

STUDENTS’ CHOICE - 1957 Alfa Romeo Giulietia SS Special Bertone Prototipo

Source: Art Center College of Design

Photos: Randy Berg 

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