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LA Design Challenge 2011

Six concept cars channel Hollywood for design inspiration

by Josh Rubin in Design on 21 November 2011

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As part of the eighth annual Design Los Angeles automobile designer's conference, this year's Design Challenge tasked six studios from Germany, Japan and the U.S. to design "Hollywood's Hottest New Movie Car." Each team—Honda, Hyundai, Subaru, Mercedes-Benz, Maybach and Smart—presented their idea through sketches, renderings, models and even mock movie trailers.

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As a holistic design challenge—centered around but not exclusive to automotive concept—the competition judged each entry on how the vehicle reflects the brand within the movie plot, how it relates to their target audience, the level of imagination and character development of the vehicle and overall ingenuity of the story, car and character combination.

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Standouts include the post-apocalypse-inspired Honda's IH (Intelligent Horse) and Subaru Horizon for their story development, while Mercedes-Benz wowed everyone with a full-scale model of their Silver Lightning—hoop wheels and all—a formula 1 inspired concept drawing a direct connection from past to future achieved through safety and style. Going after the inner child in everyone, Maybach's Berline gives Cinderella's coach a futuristic transformation.

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As the winner of the Challenge, the Smart 341 Parkour is reminiscent of the rocket-shooting, martini-shaking cars of James Bond lore, albeit pared down to tackle more everyday problems like small parking spaces. The Smart design team created the concept for Annie, a fictional investigative journalist in need of a car as curious as she. Thus, the 341 Parkour is capable of driving, flying and even climbing—best illustrated by Smart's promotional trailer created for the Challenge.

For more information check 2011 LA Design Challenge online.

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