My name is Scott, and I am a full time designer with a degree in Industrial Design, and I am also a car guy. Always have been. I started drawing cars when I was 10 (in 1984), and I knew from point that I wanted to become a car designer. I ultimately chose a different field of design to peruse halfway through college, but my interest in cars has never diminished. Sadly, I stopped drawing cars during my freshman year at design school – but at the age of 37 (2011), I rekindled my love for automotive design and I became determined to pick up where I left off 17 years ago. However, I don’t have any desire to become a professional car designer anymore – at this stage in my life, it’s all about the passion for art and cars. I’m doing it for myself now.
A young designer is born:
Although my parents can indeed confirm that the first word out of my mouth was not “car”, I been inflicted with a love for the automobile as far back as my memory goes. Most of my toys were cars, I talked about cars, and I dreamt about cars – there just wasn’t anything else that could hold my interest as much as the automobile. Exactly where this love affair originated is a still a mystery to me. My father was not a car guy, but my grandfather had an interest in all things mechanical (cars, airplanes, tractors, trains, etc). I’m not sure it was he who ignited my interest, however, so I may never know how it all began…
My toddler years:
All of my natural born interest for cars couldn’t protect me from the fear of our neighbor’s hot rod blue Nova. I hated that thing. Mostly because of the noise it made, but I think it’s aggressive stance with a jacked up rear end and big tires made it look pretty scary compared to my parent’s car. I simply referred to it as the “hot rod”, and I still remember crying my eyes out the one time my neighbor took us for a ride in it. I was absolutely terrified.
My pre-teen years:
I started drawing cars at the age of 10, and I had firmly decided that I wanted to be a car designer when I grew up. We’re talking obsession-level determination here…I drew a LOT of cars, and I was starting to get pretty good at it. I was known in school as the kid who drew “cool cars” but unfortunately, I had serious competition from another boy who drew comics and action heros REALLY well. Bummer. It was also about this time that I started building plastic model cars (1:24 scale). My first kit was a “General Lee” Dodge Charger from the Dukes of Hazard, and my dad helped me out on it. We didn’t even paint it but I was so proud of the way it turned out, and I started building kit after kit from that point on.
Speaking of the Dukes of Hazard, was there any better time than the early 80’s for a car-obsessed kid to grow up? TV was filled with cool car shows: Dukes of Hazard, Knight Rider, A-Team (that ‘Vette was sweet!), etc.
The Pontiac Fiero, Chevrolet Camaro, and Pontiac Firebird were my dream cars.
My teen years:
Still determined to be an automotive designer, drawing cars became my life. I even contacted the GM design center in Warren Michigan to see if they could put me in touch with a real designer. I even included some of my sample sketches in the letter, and I was rewarded several months later with a hand written response from one of the design directors with encouraging words. That was pretty much it for me – I knew then and there I was going to design cars for the rest of my life. There just wasn’t any other option. Some other interesting car related happenings from my teen years:
- I received my driver’s license shortly after turning 16, and promptly rear-ended another car exactly one week later. Not my proudest moment.
- My Uncle bought a brand new 1988 IROC-Z a few months later, and let me drive it. Oh dear mother of god – it was probably the best moment of my life up to that point! Lol…
- The following summer I scored a job at the local Buick / Oldsmobile / GMC dealership as a lot boy. It was hard work, but definitely a good time.
- In 1992 I entered college to become a real car designer.
Long story short, I never did end up becoming a car designer. Although I was accepted into the automotive design program before my sophomore year at a prestigious design school, I chose the more diverse path of Industrial Design (instead of focusing strictly on automotive design). Here are some other notable car-related tidbits from my 20’s:
- I bought my first-ever brand new car the very first day of my new job right after college. Looking back, I probably should have been a bit more modest instead of springing for a brand new 1996 Eagle Talon Tsi. I got a lot of crap from my coworkers for that one…
- I sold that car two years later after I moved to California when my cost of living skyrocketed. Traded it in on a new 1998 Dodge Neon R/T. Lower payments, great on gas. Much better for that time in my life!
- The racing stripes on the Neon (OEM from the factory) were a cause of great grief for me. I was ridiculed everywhere I went for having racing stripes on a Neon. Lol…so I traded that car in on a new 2002 Toyota Celica GT. Much better!
I entered my 30’s pretty much burned out on the car scene. Sure, the interest was still there, but I was discouraged by the fact that I couldn’t afford the cars I was truly interested in. I deemed the hobby to be too expensive to focus much attention on, and I found other interests to occupy my time. It didn’t stop me from driving decent cars though – at 30 years old, I was still driving that Toyota Celica GT, but I made a spontaneous buy on a highly used a 1997 Ford Mustang GT as a weekend toy. However, I sold that car a month later after I realized how I didn’t need two cars while still living in a rented apartment with limited parking options. I ended up selling both cars, and bought a brand new 2004 Nissan 350Z, and drove that one happily for 6 years.
At the time of this writing (37 years old), I’m a family man driving a 2010 Honda Fit. It’s a fantastic car for daily duty, but it’s got no soul. That’s tough, especially since I feel the car passion building in me again. I’ve got a pretty bad Mustang itch at the moment, and it just may have to be scratched.
The good thing about this point in my life is the fact that I have the financial ability to buy any modest second car without much damage my wallet. The bad news is that we desperately want a bigger house (with a garage), so buying toys doesn’t make much financial sense for us at the moment. Ahh, the joys of responsibility…
So for now, I’ll keep on truckin’ with that Fit and this blog. I have rediscovered my interest in drawing cars again (after a 17 year hiatus), and it feels pretty good to get back to my roots again – without a doubt.