Even though we are on vacation this week on the beaches of North Carolina, the rest of the auto industry seems to be chugging along just fine without us (with no perceived loss in performance either). Last week we saw a new invention become visible, a really small car becomes financially viable, a pioneer gets his due, a new museum opens, another electric car manufacturer goes bankrupt (this one you’ve never heard of) and Kyle Busch endorses Peter Schreyer. Follow the jump for more news from the world of Auto Design (that rarely appears in the mainstream media).
Side and Rear View Mirrors
There have been very few advances in the design of side view mirrors, Lincoln’s pedestal design on the MKZ concept notwithstanding. This past week two new designs emerged that could change the appearance of production cars. First up is Andrew Hicks’ design for a curved mirror that eliminates blind spots but doesn’t meet some absurd governmental regulations. There is a great article on Smart Planet that describes the technology. This comes hot on the heels of Audi’s announcement to replace the drag-inducing appendages with an AMOLED screen in the cockpit of all their race cars.
According to the numerous press releases we have seen this past weeks, Ex-Formula One designer Gordon Murray claims to have discovered the secret to building small cars profitably. The secret is in the composite construction which allows a huge change to the manufacturing process by eliminating the costs associated with the stamping of steel, welding and rust-proofing processes.
Of all the automotive pioneers and visionaries, Benz, Daimler, Ford and others get the lion’s share of credit. Gabriel Voisin is getting a ton of attention after the Best of Show award at Pebble Beach as the Mullin Auto Museum is sponsoring a Voisin-only exhibition. After spending much of his life pursuing aircraft design and manufacture he switched to automobiles after the horrors of seeing his creations being used “as the engines of war“. And the auto industry is the better today because of it.
Washington state gets their own auto museum as over 10,000 visitors attended the opening day of the new LeMay museum to see almost 100 cars; from Edsel Ford’s unique 1934 Model 40 Speedster to the 1931 Indy Cummins Diesel.
If you were not aware that Iowa had an electric car manufacturing company,, don’t feel bad because neither did I. In July 2010, “Auto Manufacturing Systems Inc. … had signed an agreement with EnVision Motor Co., of Ames, to assemble a line of all-electric cars. “ After less than two years the company has debts of more than $1.7M and assets of less than $500k.
In this article Kyle Busch waxes poetically about Peter Schreyer, head of Kia Design who also happens to be Automobile’s Man of the Year. Unfortunately it is not NASCAR Kyle Busch, but Auto Examiner Kyle Busch author of “Drive the Best for the Price: How to Buy a Used Automobile, Sport-Utility Vehicle, or Minivan and Save Money.”