The folks over at Motor Trend deliver an interesting article today: 30 Who Count: The Good, The Bad, and The Incompetent.
First one on the list, the very controversial, equally adored and disliked, BMW’s ex-Chief of Design, Chris Bangle. Before we jumped into their list, let’s take a moment to read some quotes from an article published last year by our contributor Jim B., shortly after Bangle’s resignation. (Read Chris Bangle – An Appreciation )
And so it was with Christopher Bangle’s cars during his stewardship of some of the most talented automobile designers in the world. We don’t know he if always chose the most avant-garde design that was proposed for a new model….what we do know is that there was always controversy surrounding the concept of beauty and proportion in every BMW that debuted during his 17 years at BMW as Bangle’s ideas and cars took many of us kicking and screaming into the future. For others, Bangle’s designs were the epitome of coolness- of being right in the moment and ahead of the distant crowd.
Bangle’s cars looked fast, aggressive and perhaps most importantly they were authoritative. There’s not a single BMW that has come out under his tutelage that alludes to wuss and compromise. And perhaps this is what ended it all for him at BMW.
“They made great cars. They made bad cars. They built great auto companies. They killed iconic brands. They changed the machine that changed the world. Meet the biggest auto industry movers, shakers, and newsmakers of the past 60 years.
BMW Design Chief, 1992-2009
Designed the Fiat Coupe, then went to BMW. Designed “flame surfacing” into everything from the Z9 concept to the 7 Series to the Gina Light Visionary Concept.
HE SAYS: “I do feel we’ve kick-started the industry. Now I look around and see other car companies are waking up and starting to do good.”
WE SAY: The most influential designer since Bill Mitchell.
GM to BMW to Ford to Chrysler to GM, Again
Influence on Dodge Viper, Pontiac GTO, Solstice and G8, Chevy Malibu, Buick Regal, Cadillac CTS. He’s been GM’s bigger-than-life chief “car guy” since Rick Wagoner hired him in 2001. At GM, he has pushed for better design, more rear drive, and BMW-like dynamics. His New GM post was not so well defined, which may be why he announced his second retirement from GM, effective May 1, 2010.
MOTTO: “Often wrong, but never in doubt!”