I'm not sure if automotive design is evolving, or just getting weirder for the sake of being weird. While engineers are busy trying to develop autonomous systems, car designers mostly seem preoccupied with developing loud forms that will cut through the signal noise of our attention economy. Here's what jumped out at us in 2021:
Audi revealed their shape-shifting Skysphere concept, a sort of telescoping car that can increase or decrease its wheelbase.
Speaking of tiny cars, we learned of a strange-to-us vehicle category in China: Ultra-narrow low-speed EVs. It's apparently a vehicle commonly used for a single grandparent to transport a single child to school.
We got a glimpse of Rolls-Royce's bananas Coachbuild Program, where rich clients are embedded within the design team to help develop their own bespoke vehicles. That's gotta be fun for the designers….
"Ford Nucleon Atomic Powered Vehicle, Rear Side View," 1956, Albert L. Mueller, American; gouache, pastel, prismacolor, brown-line print on vellum. Collection of Robert L. Edwards and Julie Hyde-Edwards.
"'71 Barracuda Front End Facelift Concept," 1968, Donald Hood, American; crayon, gouache, ink, felt marker, prismacolor, pastel on vellum. Collection of Robert L. Edwards and Julie Hyde-Edwards.
"Rendering of Proposed 1967 Cadillac Eldorado Design," 1964, Wayne Kady, American; watercolor, gouache, and ink on paper. From the Collections of The Henry Ford, Dearborn, Michigan.