The look of tomorrow

The look of tomorrow

Art Center’s Car Classic 2011 showcases the future

By Jennifer Hadley 10/20/2011

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At first glance, the daylong event may seem like your run-of-the-mill car show. But that’s where similarities between this show and others end, as more than 100 rare and innovative automobiles take center stage at Art Center’s College of Design Hillside Campus, 1700 Lida St., Sunday as part of Car Classic 2011.

The theme of this year’s event, “California Design: Influencing Change,” was created to showcase the unique, long-tenured influence California has had on the transportation industry and to offer a glimpse into how it stands poised for an even greater influence in the future. Due in part to our hodgepodge environment, where a freeway culture is simply a fact of life and originality and creation is a way of life, it’s not surprising that Southern California is home to more than 20 of the world’s top vehicle design studios. As a result, the region we call home has long been viewed as the birthplace of innovation in all things transportation.

In contrast to cities like Detroit, which are known for manufacturing automobiles, Southern California serves as the point of conception for new ideas. Illustrators, graphic designers and the creative types, who first dream up out-of-the-box vehicles like those we see on the big screen in franchises like the “Star Wars” films or Pixar’s “Cars” movies, are among those who’ve cut their teeth right here in Pasadena.

At this year’s show, the California Vehicle Design Studio Showcase will give attendees a sneak peek at more than a dozen concept vehicles. Moreover, Art Center alumni responsible for the Southland’s reputation for churning out the latest and greatest advances in transportation will be on hand to answer questions. Indeed, many Art Center alumni now hold prestigious positions in the world’s most highly acclaimed design studios. Spanning the transportation spectrum, including autos, motorcycles, aircraft, boats and alternative vehicles, Pasadena has been at least a temporary home for some of the world’s most influential transit players. Fortunately, many former students also return to Art Center as professors to educate the next generation of visionaries, ensuring the future of mobility remains cutting edge, with a hearty dose of California cool.

It’s the product of a cycle of learning from those who came before while remaining committed to nurturing new concepts that will be on display at the Car Classic on Sunday. From classic cars to hot rods to concept cars, the exhibition aims to show not only what’s been done in the past in California, but what is on the horizon, in terms of much more than just how we get from point A to point B. That is, this is not just about cars. In addition to viewing tried and true designs and details from the past, attendees are also encouraged to tour the campus and view students at work in their own studios.  

While core audiences in the past have been mainly automotive enthusiasts, even those who may not consider themselves such have been in abundance as well. Those who have a general interest in design, public policy, mobility systems or urban planning won’t be disappointed. Nor will children, as plenty of food and drink options will be available.

The show, which opens to the general public at 11:30 a.m., begins on the center stage with a welcoming ceremony. Back-to-back panels on topics ranging from California beach culture to California motor sports will be held on the center stage and broadcast throughout the campus.  This way, attendees can listen as they peruse the vendor and sponsor booths.

Special guests include Pete Brock of Brock Racing Enterprises, Barry Meguiar, president and CEO of Meguiar’s Inc. and host of “Car Crazy” on the SPEED Channel, and Chip Foose, CEO of Foose Designs, which specializes in illustration, graphics and complete construction of automobiles and automotive-related products. The show wraps up at 5 p.m. following an awards ceremony.

Tickets to the Car Classic are available at Tickets purchased online are $50, $60 at the door. Alumni pay $30 and children 12 and under get in for free. Parking is available beginning at 11 a.m. in Lot K of the Rose Bowl with free shuttles to and from the event provided.

Contact Jennifer Hadley at


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