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February 08, 2013
Grads design latest Corvette and Viper
Detroit may be the Motor City but Cleveland plays a huge role in producing the cars Americans love. That’s because the Cleveland Institute of Art's Industrial Design program educates a disproportionate number of the nation’s top automotive designers… and has as far back as the 1930s. That’s when the late Joe Oros graduated; he went on to be lead designer of the iconic 1964 Ford Mustang.
The trend continues. Some of the hottest cars on the road today have CIA fingerprints all over them, including one car likely to draw crowds at the 2013 Cleveland Auto Show: the 2013 Dodge SRT Viper.
Viper named “Dream Machine”
The 2013 Viper is CIA inside and out. Scott Krugger (CIA Class of 2001) led the design team for the exterior and Ryan Nagode (CIA Class of 2003) led the interior design effort. Krugger is senior design manager for Chrysler exterior design while Nagode is design chief for Dodge, Ram, Fiat and SRT interior design. Joe Dehner (CIA Class of 1988) was also involved in the early stages of Viper design. Dehner is the head of Dodge & Ram design for Chrysler. The Viper recently won a MotorWeek Drivers’ Choice Award as the “Best Dream Machine.”
Corvette is star of Detroit auto show
The hype around the new Corvette has also been enormous and it was the universally featured car at the Detroit auto show, which kicked off the auto show season in January. CIA graduate Kirk Bennion (Class of 1984) was the lead designer of this version, which is due to hit dealerships in the third quarter of 2013. He’s in much of the publicity, nationally and internationally, including this interview filmed by Car and Driver.
Bennion, who admits he just loves to drive sleek, powerful sports cars, has been involved in designing the last four generations of Corvette. “I was working on Corvettes two years out of CIA,” he said. “That’s why I went there!”
Three other CIA grads worked on the newest Corvette: designers Jose Gonzalez (Class of 2000) and Casey Swanseger (Class of 2007), and model sculptor Jonathan Janke (Class of 2011). Read recent review of the new Corvette.
Lincoln MKZ spells elegance
Not all cars designed by CIA grads are sporty speed machines. In fact they also include trucks, SUVs, economy cars, and at least one very elegant luxury car. Soo Kang (Class of 1987) led the team that designed the gracious interior of the 2013 Lincoln MKZ. As chief interior designer for the Lincoln brand, she oversees a team of more than 30 people, from managers to clay-modeling support staff.
According to an article on Fast Company.com, “Her work on the cushy curves and technological connectivity of the 2013 MKZ’s cabin could be the push needed to catapult Lincoln back to its former glory as America’s top-selling luxury brand." Read a New York Times feature on her work.
Picture Credit: CIA Industrial Design student Chris Mikalauskas '13
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