"It costs absolutely the same amount of money to make a car look ugly as it does to make it look beautiful."
Laypeople may not know his name, but auto design fans among you surely do: Frank Stephenson, the legendary designer and Art Center grad behind the Mini revamp, BMW's X5 and more Maseratis, Ferraris and Fiats than you can shake a bastone at, is currently McLaren's Chief Designer. Stephenson uttered the quote above at this year's Concours d'Elegance, where the guys over at Road Testament captured an awesomely meaty 18-minute interview with him.
As you would expect of a man who has been raised all around the world, speaks seven languages and is fascinated with biology, evolution and the animal kingdom, Stephenson's got a lot of interesting things to say. It starts with him fielding questions about relatively mundane things like paint textures, the benefits of carbon fiber and how you manage to cram luggage space into a supercar, but stick it out and you're treated to the questions Stephenson asks himself during the design process: Why is a sailfish faster in the water than a cheetah is on land? How is it that the peregrine falcon is not the fastest bird in standard flight, but becomes the fastest when going into a dive? Why are multimillion-dollar military aircraft designed without windshield wipers?
I got so excited to see the interview, I almost forgot to mention Stephenson's reason for being at the Concours in the first place. That screaming yellow car in the video is Stephenson's latest, the Spider version of McLaren's 12C supercar. Its microsite is here.