Twenty-five years and 150 issues have come and gone since the introduction of Auto & Design and this issue’s cover story is entirely devoted to that anniversary. The first to have his say is Robert Cumberford; the American designer and journalist, who is a long-term contributor to Auto & Design, reports on the changes that have taken place in the automotive industry over the past quarter century. The global car sector has undergone some epoch-making transformations. The British industry, for example, which ranked second only to the Americans in 1955, has now passed entirely into foreign hands, apart from a small number of specialist firms that produce fewer than 2500 cars a year. Today, all the great names of Britain’s glorious motor-manufacturing past are foreign-owned. Rolls Royce and Bentley both belong to Germany and even some of the limited edition specialists have been taken over by foreigners: Lotus is now Malaysian and TVR belongs to the son of a Russian oligarch. With those words, Robert Cumberford begins an Opinion piece that takes the Auto & Design anniversary as its opportunity for a backward glance at a complex past.
A specifically French angle on this milestone occasion comes from Serge Bellu, one of Auto & Design’s “old-timers”, who has been writing in from Paris for many years. “I remember the day I encountered my first issue of Auto & Design. That was in 1985 at the Frankfurt Show and, if I remember well, it was Gaston Juchet who showed me his copy. The early Eighties were a period of transition for design in France (…) and Auto & Design made a timely appearance amidst that maelstrom, as Europe discovered automotive design several decades after the Americans” (…).
Energetic, argumentative, informative, Auto & Design quickly established itself as a genuine news magazine in a world that had hitherto had to rely on more literary publications along the lines of the superb “Style Auto”.
The next few pages are devoted to a two-pronged enquiry by Fabio Galvano, who asks a number of the world’s top designers, past and present, about the guidelines they followed in the past and what they expect of the sector in the future.
This overview of the car world, a story told for so many years by Auto & Design, is completed by Silvia Baruffaldi’s voyage into one of automotive design history’s most predominantly Italian sectors: coachbuilding. In the process she hears from G-Studio, Stola, Cecomp, Coggiola, Opac and Modarte, all of them based in the Turin area, which have for many years been offering an impressive list of international clients, the benefits of their ability to translate drawings and mathematical calculations into the three-dimensional models that are destined to become the cars of the future.
The article continues in Auto & Design no. 150