Fiat Chrysler recognizes three young designers

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Three budding car designers have won awards in this year’s Drive For Design competition for high school students, sponsored by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles US. The winners will get exclusive, private tours of FCA’s Product Design studios in Auburn Hills, Michigan, including one-on-one time with FCA’s leading designers, as well as scholarships to attend the Precollege Summer Experience Transportation Design program at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit. The winners will also serve as junior judges at this year’s Eyes On Design, a prestigious annual car show held by Detroit’s automotive design community at the Eleanor and Edsel Ford estate.

The first place winner was Maximillian Cooper, who attends Design and Architecture Senior High, in Miami, Florida. His Serpente is a mid-engine, cab-forward Alfa Romeo. Second place winner Mason Ross, of Kennedy Catholic High School in Burien, Washington, also contributed a Alfa sports car, while Vincent Piaskowski of Ernest W. Seaholm High School, Birmingham, Michigan, won third place with his shark-inspired Maserati Pescecane. If Vincent’s last name sounds familiar, his father Joel Piaskowski is in charge of Ford of Europe’s design team.

Drive For Design started in 2013 as a Detroit-area competition and now accepts entrants in grades 10–12 from across the United States. This year, competitors were asked to submit designs for an “ultimate status vehicle” from one of the FCA brands.

Identifying talent has always been a concern for the auto industry. From 1930 to 1968, General Motors ran the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild scholarship competition, with many winners going on to notable design careers at GM and its crosstown competitors at Ford and Chrysler. While there are now about a half dozen professional automotive design programs at schools around the world, it’s still valuable to identify talent early.

Mark Trostle, Head of Performance, Passenger Car, and Utility Vehicle Design for FCA North America, in a statement announcing the winners, explained the rationale for Drive For Design.

“Even though it’s a growing field, automotive design can often be overlooked by students entering the workforce, so our goal with this competition is to change that perspective and encourage promising talent to pursue opportunities where they could design the vehicles of the future,” said Trostle.

The winners will be honored at Eyes On Design’s annual banquet held prior to the annual Father’s Day show.

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