Time to recruit the next-generation car designers.
For the past seven years, Fiat Chrysler has held its Drive for Design contest for American high school students in grades 10-12. It challenges them to design the "ultimate status vehicle using any FCA brand." Those brands include Fiat, Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Alfa Romeo, and Maserati. Only three winning design submissions are chosen and this year's winners have just been announced, and they are as follows:
• First place – Maximillian Cooper, Design and Architecture Senior High, Miami, Florida
• Second place – Mason Ross, Kennedy Catholic High School, Burien, Washington
• Third place – Vincent Piaskowski, Ernest W. Seaholm High School, Birmingham, Michigan
Maximillian Cooper designed the "Serpente" Alfa Romeo, which appears to feature a single cockpit design with an overall hypercar look. It's definitely not what the upcoming 8C will turn out to be, but it's quite stunning and definitely worthy of the cloverleaf badge. Second place went to Mason Ross for another Alfa Romeo design, this time one with more of a racing influence. Finally, third place was given to Vincent Piaskowski with his Maserati "Pescecane" design. It looks unlike any Maserati we've ever seen and it very clearly takes nearly all of its inspiration from its English namesake, a shark.
All three students receive an all-expenses-paid trip to Auburn Hills, Michigan for a behind-the-scenes tour of the FCA US Product Design studios. They also receive one-on-one time with professional car designers and a scholarship to attend the Precollege Summer Experience Transportation Design program at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.
Mark Trostle, Head of FCA design for North America, started this contest back in 2013 as a way to give the next generation of car designers a head start. "We are always impressed by the next generation of talent that competes in the annual Drive for Design contest, but this year our expectations were vastly surpassed based on the level of comprehensive art work submitted," he said. "Even though it's a growing field, automotive design can often be overlooked by students entering the workforce, so our goal with this competition is to change that perspective and encourage promising talent to pursue opportunities where they could design the vehicles of the future."