Automotive design: features, history and interesting facts

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Automotive design: features, history and interesting facts
Automotive design: features, history and interesting facts

Auto design is usually called a preliminary, draft stage of creating a model of a car of its own unique and individual art form. Automotive design is based on the given conditions of rationalism and manufacturability when creating cars. Something without which the car cannot drive, as well as meet the requirements of buyers and regulatory authorities, must be provided in one form or another in the sketch, drawings and in the metal. Space is needed for the engine, wheels and other equipment, items and devices that ensure the comfort and safety of the driver and passengers.

The flight of fantasy of designers, their vision of beauty and following fashion follows and “flows around” everything necessary, functional and rational. But this is a two-way process. The emergence of new forms, proportions, individual details gives impetus to the search for new technical solutions and materials, as well as the "rearrangement" of existing ones.

automotive design
automotive design

It is most profitable for any manufacturer to create and sell large-sized things. This is also beneficial for designers - nothing limits the flight of fancy. But if there is a demand for miniaturization in society, and large cars are sold in small batches, then the company will change the production vector.


Despite the fact that cars began to be produced on a significant scale since the end of the 19th century, and therefore there was some design of them (at least as an imitation of a carriage or wagon), it is considered that automobile and transport design as an artistic design with a theoretical justification and how a real business appeared in the North American states in the late 20s of the last century.

Ahead of all was the General Motors concern, which formed the corresponding division in 1926. A year later, the Cadillac La Salle, which struck everyone, was already released. Immediately after the end of World War II, automotive design began its triumphal march through European countries and Japan. Forty years later, all automakers, including the USSR, had design groups and departments. And in GM, more than one thousand four hundred specialists worked on this topic (in the Ford concern - 875).

Western car design

In the first decades of the 20th century, the appearance of the car takes on familiar features and is no longer a copy of a horse-drawn carriage. There is a fierce struggle not only for the type of engine used (steam, electric or gasoline), but also for the type of body - "salon" or open.

automotive and design
automotive and design

Automotive design of the 20-30s of the last century was defined by the workaholic Budd - this is a "streamlined shape" (Streamline). In the 40s, the Art Deco (decorative art) style also had a strong influence. This is a mixture of neoclassicism, cubism, constructivism. The car design embodies the severity of forms, unusual geometric solutions and luxury finishes (rare types of bone, wood, as well as aluminum, silver, and so on).

With the advent of the Cadillac 62nd model in the US, a new “aerostyle” begins (at that time military aviation was at the peak of progress). She also dictated fashion. England has its own style - "razor blade". A little later, the “fin style” appeared in the USA, which spread throughout the world and existed even longer than in the “homeland”. It is named so because of the presence of stylized fins of various fish or keel. Fins of different arrangement and shape created a catchy appearance, but were extremely impractical.

Fifteen years later, “pseudo-sporty” style comes into fashion, spawning a numerous class of pony cars (pony cars). In parallel, in the 70s, there was a struggle between "muscular" (insidious killers) and "moths". Muscle-cars are mid-range 2-door models with engines from the older class. At this time, more attention was paid to the safety of the driver and passengers. The "Muscles" defeated the "Moths", but they, constantly appearing and being an alternative to the "insidious killers", have made significant improvements in the field of security.

The laws of aerodynamics begandictate fashion in the next decade. The streamlined, smooth shape of cars reduces the resistance to oncoming air flow and gives significant fuel savings, which is becoming more and more relevant. In the last decade of the last century, the aerodynamic "era" continued, but the style of "biodesign" was added to it. This is an imitation of natural streamlined shapes, such as rounded pebbles.

In the zero years of the current century, rational "computer" forms of cars became familiar - all 3 volumes clearly stand out. In parallel, there was a wave of "nostalgic" design - automotive design with a bias in the 30s-50s of the last century.

Currently, there has been a gradual departure from the styles of the previous decade in the direction of complicating the outlines of the body and increasing passive safety.

Russian car design

Automotive design in the USSR appeared much later than in the West. Until the 70s of the last century, a few automakers, both officially and unofficially, worked under "Western licenses". At the beginning of the second half of the 20th century, under the “wing” of NAMI, several interesting original domestic projects were created (NAMI-013, “promising taxi”, “Maxi”), but they were not implemented in production. The PAZ - Tourist bus also failed to get into the existing models, although twice this concept bus received prizes at international exhibitions for innovation and originality. A slightly different situation developed at the Gorky Automobile Plant, where in 1961 the design bureau was headed by B. B. Lebedev. His truck projects, including those oncaterpillar, managed to realize.

Russian automotive design has always let down production, its sluggishness and technical backwardness. The picture does not change in the current century, in the age of global division of labor and cooperation, in almost all areas of production.

Design the appearance of the car of the future

The design of the cars of the future is quite difficult to predict, since it is impossible to predict all the incoming factors and, most importantly, scientific discoveries. What is important now for body design? This is:

  • durability;
  • ergonomic;
  • security;
  • minimizing production costs.

Things can change dramatically with the introduction of such a factor as the invention of a new type of fuel and / or propulsion. And most of the vehicles, for example, "soar" up and hover in the air, as is often shown in science fiction films. Or is there something else going on. The design of the air car will immediately change, as will most of its principles.

automotive and transportation design
automotive and transportation design

If there are no drastic changes, then, most likely, by the end of the century, the electric motor will finally win, and there will be a final division into vehicles for super-cities (cities of huge size) and for everything else.

Salon design

Interior design can be carried out by the manufacturer of the car, as well as after its purchase at any time, although most often this happens at the stage of preparation for operation in parallel with its tuning. If aleave crazy ideas and radical alterations out of the equation, then the task of post-design is to further emphasize the style of the car (its particular feature) and / or the lifestyle of its owner. As a rule, there is enough refinement of individual details, but with bringing them almost to perfection in the Hi-End class. The inimitable texture and elegance change the feelings and, to some extent, the attitude of the driver and his passengers. And this is achieved, for example, with just inserts of reptile skin and ivory. Although not everything is so simple, and to create the appropriate atmosphere, a complex effect of many factors is needed.

automotive history
automotive history


Rim design is an integral part of car design. Not uncommon are wheels that are like the same car, but in a used condition. For example, US Nutek products cost just under $25,000 per four wheels. Savini wheels are very good for sports cars. They look modest, but elegant, forged and incredibly light. For off-road vehicles, large, one-piece aluminum Dub rims, which constantly win awards at specialized exhibitions. Vossen, produced with special "low" casting techniques, look sophisticated (chrome finish on a black base) and innovative, and are half the price of Nutek.

automotive and transport
automotive and transport


The goal of car seat design is not only to give them the right form and function for greater ergonomics and safety, but also to createthe corresponding interior, including with the help of covers for them. The material for their manufacture and decoration can be used very different. As they say, for every taste, color and size of the wallet (upholstery fabric, leatherette, genuine leather). Comfort and piquancy are given by capes on seats made of natural fur. Eco-leather allows air to pass through, but prevents the penetration of water.

The design of tailoring car covers also consists in decorating the fabric from which they are sewn. Both modern technologies, for example, machine computer embroidery, and ancient ones are used. Even in ancient China, the technology of decorating fabrics by imposing pile on them (flocking) was used. The volume of drawings and the play of colors are achieved using the “flock on flock” method.

Boats and automotive design

Since many automotive companies produce small river and sea vessels and / or equipment for them, they also design them. Affordable and futuristic-looking boat Toyota Ponam-31 is shown in the photo.

transport design
transport design

A very original model is launched by Lexus, but it is much more expensive, and not only because of the finishes (carbon, leather, wood). The luxurious yacht Arrow460-Granturismo produced by Mercedes-Benz is admired for its appearance. Aston Martin or Bugatti yachts are real works of art. And those who are "obsessed" with speed, headwind and splashes in the face are intended for the products of Cigarette Racing (up to 160 km/h) and Marine Technology Inc (up to 300 km/h).


So we've looked at the history of automotive design. Now it is at the intersection of high art and technical solutions, therefore, to implement the ideas of "geniuses", design engineers are needed who can shift the ideas of brainstorming groups and departments into a completely technical language. Painstaking and detailed study is the completion of the project.

automotive transport design
automotive transport design

Recently, there has been a tendency for women's thoughts, logic and vision of problems to come into autodesign (by the way, it fits into the general trend of the development of society). As they say, let's see and feel what they will create. Or maybe it's for the best, as some experts talk about the "decline" while others talk about the end of automotive design.

Really, is it a design job for cars to look like twins, differing only in the look and layout of the headlights, as well as other minor details? Cars are beautiful in themselves, but very similar, and therefore faceless. It's good for mass production. But I want something else, new and untested.