Jaguar E-type, Lamborghini Miura, Aston Martin DB4 and the Ford GT40 — some of the most iconic cars ever made.
Their bodies seem to have been sculpted by the old master Michelangelo himself. The perfect combination of aerodynamics, speed and style.
Every line and curve was drawn carefully by Designers who were at the top of their craft. They were Designers with vision, who desired to create beautiful works of art.
Do you have dreams of being like them?
Do you wish to design the next Lamborghini or Ferrari?
Or better yet, design your own Car?
Then let’s rev up the passion in your heart for carbon fibre, aluminium and sheet metal and dive into the world of Car Design.
Ready? Set? Go!
- Car Design and Its Elements
- Famous Car Designs and Designers
- Car Designing Courses for Beginners
What is Car Design?
Car designing is the creative discipline of defining the physical appearance of Cars.
It is a subtle art that requires infusing aerodynamics, aesthetics, and safety regulations to create a viable, good-looking and safe design.
Hence designers have to keep many things in mind more than just “how the car looks.”
Let’s take deeper dive into the question — What is Car Designing?
Elements of Car Design
There are 4 main elements of Automobile Design. They are:
- Interior Design
- Exterior Design
- Colour & Trim.
- Graphic Design
All these aspects are inherently aesthetic in nature and they concentrate on the look, feel and comfort of the car.
Let’s pop open the bonnet of Car Design and take an in-depth look at these individual elements.
1. Interior Design
Interior Designers are responsible for the look, feel and functionality of the inside of the car. This aspect of Car Design has become more important during recent years.
The increase in technological innovations and better interconnection of Digital devices have created more demands in the world of Car Interiors.
Leather lined seats and custom driver’s wheel covers are no longer on top of people’s priority list. Bluetooth connectivity and Internet access, along with touch-screen functionalities seem to take priority.
Younger People are leaning more into minimalism and like cleaner interiors that are more functional. However, traditional car lovers still see the appeal in handmade leather line Car seats.
Other things that come into the realm of Car Interior Design are Seats, Seat height, Cushioning, Leg space, Boot space, Dashboard, Air Conditioning and Stereo systems.
2. Exterior Design
Exterior Design involves Designing the body, chassis, shape and aerodynamics of the car. They begin the process by drawing the sketches manually and then converting them into 3D computer models using Car Designing software.
Although the word aerodynamics is used mostly in association with sports cars, it is a major component of all types of cars, and not just sports cars. Lesser drag and air resistance improve the mileage of cars.
A good Car Design can be the very reason your car is bought. Car Design is hence a very time-consuming task that is scrutinized very carefully.
After the initial sketching and 3D rendering, life-size clay models are made to see the car in all its glory. Only then do they work on creating the prototypes.
However, 3D Printing may soon replace clay modelling as it is much less time-consuming. 3D printing technology in fact has endless possibilities in Car Design.
In-Fact, 3D printing might revolutionize the world of Car Manufacturing. You can 3D print an entirely functional car and not just prototype models! Right from the chassis down to the Engine!
Can’t believe there’s a 3D printed supercar? Wait till you see the first 3D printed Hypercar then!
3. Colour and Trim
Colour and Trim include paints, plastics, fabric, leather, wood, threads, grains, carpet, headlights, wheels, rims and many other detailing components.
These components bind the car together and complete the look.
‘Colour and Trim’ comprises one of the most important parts of Car Design- The paint job. The paint job is a vital element when it comes to defining the looks of a car.
In a study, it was shown that 40% of the people were willing to switch brands if the car wasn’t available in their preferred colour.
Colour and Trim Designers have to be in touch with the current trends and work closely with interior and exterior Designers.
4. Graphic Design
Badges, Dials, Decals, Switches, Grilles, Vents and other small components come under this which make the use of automobile Designing software.
These are the finishing touches that are added to detail the car.
Blending these elements in different ways allows designers to create different types of cars. Let’s take a look.
Types of cars
The different types of cars are usually defined by the shape of their body.
The different car types usually come with distinctions in price range and fuel economy. Let’s have a look at the list
Hatchbacks are the most economical types of cars on the lift, both in terms of price and fuel consumption.
They have a recognisable shortened trunk. This makes the car small and compact. They are used as family cars or as starter cars for youngsters.
They are almost always front-engined and front-wheel drive. This direct transfer of power ensures a lesser loss of energy as the engine is close to the wheel.
These are 4-Door cars with elongated trunks separate from the body. This allows for a longer sleeker look that allows for more leg space inside the car.
They are long and smooth cars, which can be used as family cars or executive cars.
They are more expensive and less fuel economical than hatchbacks, however, some hybrids provide really high mileage.
These were typically 2-Door, 4-Seater cars with a trunk and a solid roof. They include cars like Ford Mustang or Audi A5.
They are designed to be long and low. Looks and Performance are more important than fuel economy and practicality in this class of cars.
Most American Muscle cars and 2-Door sportscars can also be considered coupes.
MPV is short for Multi-Purpose Vehicles. These are usually big cars which car seat up to 7 people. They are considered large hatchbacks that resemble SUVs.
They are designed to look like hatchbacks elongated in the middle and have a passing resemblance to SUVs. They are meant to be practical vehicles.
MPVs are priced between Hatchbacks and SUVs. They also have ample large boot space and headspace to accommodate the needs of 7 people.
Innova, Omni, and Ertiga are some famous MPVs.
Sport-Utility Vehicles are also called crossovers. They tend to be taller than sedans and are designed with straight lines in a box shape.
The ‘sport’ and ‘utility in the name should provide you with some hints as to their purpose. It is to be strong, sturdy and provide a lot of power.
They have elevated seating, high ground-clearance and can even be used for off-roading. Many offer 4-Wheel drive for this purpose.
Sportscars are mostly 2-Seat high powered performance vehicles that are bought for novelty.
They usually have low ground clearance and aren’t made very tall for aerodynamic efficiency.
Sportscars are very sleek and eye-catching. They are usually designed to be poster cars.
Convertibles are cars whose roofs can be removed, folded or retracted. They are usually of the sportscar variety with the only difference being the retractable roof.
‘Spyder’ is another word used to describe convertible cars. They are often the most desired variety of Sportscars and hence manufacturers make convertible versions of popular Sportscars.
However, there weren’t always these many types of cars. Cars in fact had humble beginnings.
A cruise down memory lane wouldn’t be such a bad idea, especially with the beautiful Car Designs that await at every turn.
A Brief History of Cars and Car Design
The Benz Patent-Motorwagen marked a revolution in the world of transportation. A road-going vehicle that needed no external force to pull or push it to move.
However, the first affordable car for the masses was the Model-T by Ford, who revolutionised the world of industries with the Conveyer Belt.
It was designed to look like Horse-Carriages. They were built for affordability and comfort. But, we have come a long way since the Model-T; cars have been improved and perfected ever since.
Their purposes have also changed. They can be purely utilitarian or just head-turning show-pieces. They can be machines of raw speed & power or elegant creations for luxury and comfort.
That does not mean that cars of the old were not good-looking. Oh no… that would be the furthest from the truth. Why tell when you can just show.
Let’s look at some of the most iconic Designs in the history of Automobile Design.
Best Car Designs of the 20th Century
1. The Jaguar E-Type
The quintessential Jaguar; the E-Type is widely considered the most beautiful production car ever made. How could it not be? After all, it was designed based on the iconic Le Mans-winning Jaguar D-Type.
Malcolm Sayer was the man who Designed both the elegant E-type and racehorse that was the Jaguar D-Type. He truly Designed a monumental car in the world of Automobile Design.
There is a Reason Prince Harry and Meghan Markle chose this car to be their Wedding Car
When Enzo Ferrari calls a car the most beautiful car ever made, there’s a chance he’s correct. Have a look at this beauty.
2. Aston Martin DB4 GT Zagato
Aston Martin is a company renowned for its beautiful cars and maybe the most gorgeous Aston is the DB4.
This beautiful creation of metal was shaped and crafted by Zagato, a coachbuilding company known for its exceptional Designs.
James Bond’s favourite choice of car and the car to appear most in James Bond movies, the DB4 is a thing of beauty.
3. Lamborghini Miura
From the eyelashes on its front light to its sleek elegant hood. The Miura is one of the most beautiful Lamborghinis ever made.
The Miura was designed by THE most iconic Car Designer — Marcelo Gandini.
Miura was the first mid-engined supercar and one of the last Lamborghinis designed with smooth elegant contours.
4. Ford GT40 1966
The most iconic Le Mans car ever. The GT40 won The 24 hr Le Mans race 3 times in a row from 1966–68.
Ron Bradshaw is credited with the design of this iconic car which went through a lot of rework before finally becoming taking its final form in 1966.
The story of this iconic car is told in the oscar-nominated movie Ford Vs Ferrari. The brainchild of the legendary car-maker Caroll Shelby and his trusted engineer/driver Ken Miles, this astonishing piece of engineering was a thing of beauty! Take a look for yourself.
5. Lamborghini Countach
The quintessential poster car of the 20th Century.
This gaudy monstrosity of a car was responsible for 14-year olds tearing off their Ferrari posters and replacing them with Lambo posters.
Marcelo Gandini is yet again responsible for this showstopper that rocked the world in the 70s
Now that we have paid homage to the grandfathers of beautiful cars, let’s now look at some modern masterpieces.
Best looking cars of the 21st Century
1. BMW i8
Benoit Jacob is the Genius behind the Design of this masterpiece which featured its display on the windscreen!
This car was featured in the fourth installment of the Mission Impossible Movie series and nobody believed it was real!
It looked like something that travelled back in time. However, the car that beggared belief was all too real and an amazing sight to behold!
The most expensive among the Holy trinity of Hypercars, the LaFerrari is a sight for sore eyes.
Flavio Manzoni is the artist behind this elegant design. He is also credited with the Design of the iconic Ferrari 488.
Take a look at this magnificent motor vehicle strutting its beautiful gull-wing doors.
3. Aston Martin DB11
One of the prettiest cars ever made and the only car from this list that consistently makes it on the list of the most beautiful cars ever built.
Miles Nurnberger is the man responsible for one of the best looking car exteriors ever designed.
The DB11 car has beautiful lines that ooze elegance and style. Have a look for yourself.
4. Mclaren Speedtail
Arguably the most good-looking Mclaren ever made and that’s saying a lot.
The Speedtail is also the reason the Mclaren P1 and Mclaren 650s don’t make this list. It is a wonderful feat of Automobile Design.
Designed to be a homage to Mclaren F1, this centre-seated car is a symphony in Carbon fibre. Its long straight line and bold long tail-end are absolutely spectacular.
5. Lamborghini Aventador J
Any list about beautiful cars would be incomplete without a Lamborghini. This addition is a special one as it is truly a one-of-a-kind car.
That’s right, there is only One Lamborghini Aventador J in existence.
Filippo Perini, the iconic Designer, is the mad artist behind this creation. He Designed this eye candy from scratch in just Six Weeks!
The normal Aventador is in itself an astonishing feat or Car Design. However, the Aventador J is just in a league of its own (literally).
Automobile Design is a very diverse domain, and many companies have their own trademark look/Design.
It can be the shape of the bonnet, the headlamps or even the front grille!
Let’s have a look at some trademark Designs.
Signature Looks of Popular Car Brands
1. Rolls Royce Grille
Probably the most iconic Car Grille ever. This trademark Grille is the mark of Luxury and Grandeur everywhere!
It is called the Pantheon Grille, designed to resemble the tall imposing pillars inside Rome’s famous temple — The Pantheon
Nobody describes the design better than Rolls Royce themselves.
“The Pantheon’s majestic columns were purposefully built with wider middle sections so that the human eye perceives each long pillar to be completely straight. It’s a perfect optical illusion and a genius stroke of design”
2. Porsche — Bonnet Shape and Headlights
The Porsche bonnet designed by Ferdinand Alexander Porsche is an icon in the world of Automobile Design. Paired with the signature projected four-point headlamps, it completes the trademark Porsche look.
3. Lexus — Grille Shape and Design
This is the typical Lexus spindle grille and is a trademark look of all their luxury cars.
4. Mclaren — Bonnet Shape
The angular V-shaped bonnets have been a Mclaren trademark almost forever. It loosely resembles their logo and the bonnet of the iconic Mclaren f1.
5. BMW — Grille Shape and Design
This is the Signature BMW Kidney grille, called so for its unique symmetrical double-grille design.
There are many more signature looks in the car world. Why don’t you find some signature looks and tell us what you find!
Interesting Fact: The three-point seatbelt that we all know today could have been an iconic trademark for Volvo, that they could have patented.
Instead, they chose to put people’s lives and safety above their own profits and made design an open patent. This meant the design was free to use for every car manufacturer in the world!
According a study, the three-point seatbelt is estimated to have saved over a million lives worldwide.
That’s right Car Designing can save lives!
So what are you waiting for? Put on your capes and sharpen your pencils!
Car Design is a viable career option, especially for those with talent and a predisposition for arts and crafts.
If you’re looking for a course then you’re in luck cause Verzeo provides just that!
Car Designing Courses
1. Car Design Academy
Car Design Academy (CDA) is an online academy that specializes in Car Design. It is a based in Japan-based online design school.
CDA also conducts an annual Car Design competition for all its students.
Verzeo’s Car Design Course is an all-inclusive course for car design.
It has 8 modules that cover all the nuts and bolts of Car Design from 3D rendering on automobile designing software down to the basic wheel design.
The course teaches you how to use Two Automotive Design Softwares — CATIA and ALIAS
Udemy gives you a wide range of mentors to choose from and you can select the
Best rated mentors to learn the topic from. This also gives you price flexibility as mentors charge different rates.
You have now completed our Grand Tour of the world of Car Design. You took a trip down memory lane and made your way to the present.
You have successfully completed the quest and found answers to the question “What is Car Design?” You are now geared up for the world of Automotive Designing.
Have we provided you with the drive required to go through with a Career in Car Designing?
What are you waiting for then? It’s time to shift gears and get started on your Automotive Designing Journey!
Frequently Asked Question’s
Can I design my own Car?
Yes, you can either design a car and make it custom-made or use different car parts and fuse them to make a ‘Frankenstein’ car.
Are Car Designers in demand?
Experts predict that almost 10,000 automotive designers will be needed in India in the next 7 years!
Who is the best Car Designer from India?
Ramkripa Ananthan from Mahindra and Mahindra is currently the most noted Car Designer working for an Indian Company. Here’s a list of all the famous car designers who work for various companies abroad and in India — Top Indian Car Designers