The car may be first and foremost a mode of transportation, a way to get from A to B, but it’s pretty clear that over the decades it’s become much, much more than that. For so many, the car represents a prized possession, a source of pride, an extension of oneself. The car is also, at its best, a work of art. Like with painting or music, some are misses, others middling successes. And then there are the masterpieces.
With more than a century of automotive history to look back, it’s actually hard to pick out just 10 car designers as the crème de la crème. Rather, our exercise is to shine the spotlight on 10 designers who left the biggest mark on their field. This means of course that some very distinguished figures have been left out, but with such a rich history to choose from, that’s unavoidable. Let the debating begin!
Here then, are our 10 car designers that most marked automotive history, in alphabetical order.
Paul Bracq is not the best-known figure in the domain of elite car designers, but this French stylist, born in 1933, made quite a mark in his time at brands like BMW, Citroën, Peugeot and Mercedes-Benz. It was at the latter company that he did his first major work, notably creating the Mercedes-Benz W108, a sedan that would later evolve into the S-Class.
He subsequently worked on the 230SL Pagoda, the E-Class and the Pullman limousine. After moving to BMW in the early 1970s, he was tasked with creating the model that became the 5 Series.
For Paul Bracq, a car is nothing less than a sculpture on wheels.