Ford Start Concept: Like a Pebble on the Beach - AutomobileMag.com
(an interview with the designer, Freeman Thomas)
Posted April 23 2010 01:23 PM by Joe DeMatio
"It's like finding a polished pebble on the beach." Freeman Thomas, Ford's Director of Strategic Design, explains the design philosophy behind the handsome Ford Start Concept at AutoChina 2010 in Beijing. Designed in California, it was inspired by the 1960 Alfa SZ Zagato
and the 1956 Porsche Speedster
...“We chose AutoChina [to introduce the Start] because it’s a global show, and it’s also an opportunity for us to understand more about this huge, growing market. This is the first time we’ve ever introduced a car here. Obviously, we wanted something that appealed to the Chinese, yet we wanted a vehicle that also appealed to a global audience. We see, especially with millenials, that they are global. You know, they’re on the Internet, they’re talking to each other all over the world.
“The Start is on a clean-sheet platform, but dimensionally it’s the size of a shortened Fiesta, so it’s sub-B-segment, but with width and overhangs very similar to the Fiesta.
It’s about the length and width of a Mini, but it’s very different from a Mini.
“It’s also very different from the Fiesta. We created something that we believe is sportier. Its influences and its inspirations come from sports cars, not hatchbacks. I think it transcends age groups. I think that you could be 15 or you could be 50. We wanted to achieve an [upscale look] with every design element. From the grille, the way it works as a venturi coming into the intercoolers. All the side glass opens, so you don’t have the claustrophobic feeling in a 2-door that you would normally have...
...“[We’re asking] how simple can we make the car? And how much aspiration and premium-ness can we make while making it simpler? And the Start is also about size. You know, can we make a car down to a sweet spot in size and say, gosh, that’s a size I’d love to have. I would drive it every day. I would have fun driving it. It’s lightweight, it’s super fuel-efficient, it’s super green, even the whole undertray….if you look underneath you’ll see the whole undertray is sculpted. It’s the next frontier for aerodynamics. [We want to] leverage every opportunity to make the car as efficient but as endearing and as aspirational we can. That’s really a Ford trademark that created the Ford Mustang and other great icons...