Budding car designers usually interact with automakers once they join a well-established design school, but FCA’s outreach goes further. Founded in 2013 by Mark Trostle, head of design for Ram and Mopar, the Drive for Design contest awards prizes and a scholarship for the College for Creative Studies’ Pre-college Summer Experience in Detroit. The top three winners are invited to attend. This year’s theme was to advance the Ram truck brand, a valid notion considering just how popular/profitable trucks are these days.
First place winner (above) Job Skandera is a high school senior from Santa Clara, California. His theme includes Ram’s signature headlights and grille taken to the next level on a lifted, heavily tapered crew cab, short-bed body.
Second place went to Vincent Piaskowski, a high school junior from Birmingham, Michigan. His electrified truck design shows excellent surface rendering lines at every corner, with a front end paying homage to the Ram Rebel. The body sports an innovative use of painted panels and a lightweight bed, not to mention a pretty radical A-pillar treatment.
Third place went to Alex David Kirschmann, a high school junior from Auburn Hills, Michigan. His creation eschews the traditional pickup hood, taking the Ram brand’s DNA to the world of cab-over trucks. His design transforms the cab-over from a workhorse appliance to an activity vehicle heavily influenced by radical angles and geometric shapes. The Challenger-worthy rear taillight is an excellent touch, too.
FCA’s Drive for Design is a wonderful initiative that, quite frankly, I wish I could have experienced when I was a high school student. Perhaps Mark Trostle said it best:
“Automotive design is a growing field and often overlooked by parents and students, our goal is to inspire and change that perspective. There are many career paths available within automotive design where young designers will have the opportunity to create some of the most exciting and technologically advanced products on the road today, as well as create what’s possible for the future.”