Peter Stevens is one of the world’s most well-known and respected automobile designers. Over the course of his career, he’s regarded within the industry as an incredibly versatile car stylist and designer, with road cars spanning the gamut from humble economy cars and trucks to some of the most revered supercars ever made. He was a professor at the Royal College of Art in London until October 2014, undoubtedly helping thousands of students (including Porsche’s Tony Hatter) to realize their vision of becoming fellow designers. He’s collected numerous honors for his works over the years, twice as the UK’s Prince Phillip Designer of the year and the Automotive Designer of the Year in 2002 by Autocar. He continues to work to this day as a consultant, lecturer and designer while doing some writing and illustration on the side for publications such as The Road Rat.
He is most well known for his work with Gordon Murray on the original McLaren F1 that was one of the most revolutionary designs of its time, and one that continues to this day to be one of the most awe-inspiring road cars ever produced. He worked with Tom Walkinshaw to design and produce the Jaguar XJR-15, essentially a road-going version of the Group C XKR-9 prototype race car. While working full-time at Lotus, he designed the Elan and redesigned the Esprit. During his tenure at Lamborghini, he was responsible for designing the Jota, the most powerful variant of the Diablo ever to be produced.
Few people are aware of his deep involvement with motorsports. Just to name a new, he designed the Parmalat livery on the Brabham BT46 F1 car driven by Niki Lauda, simplifying the original multi-colored color scheme to a much more aesthetically pleasing and identifiable red-and-blue livery. While working for Lotus, he moonlighted for Richard Lloyd Racing, developing the team’s Porsche 962 and refining the aerodynamics. He was responsible for the 924 GTR and 956 Canon liveries, as well as the iconic Liqui-Moly livery on the 962. He designed the Subaru Impreza “555” cars, worked closely with Prodrive on the WRC Subaru P1 cars and Prodrive P2. He designed the V12 LMR which earned BMW their only win at Le Mans to date.
In this episode of Fresh Brewed and Air Cooled, Peter Stevens shares his incredible wealth of knowledge and insider stories ranging from design, racing and the personalities behind the cars.