For a peek at what Chryslers and Dodges might look like 30 years from now, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles designers went to the high school students who might one day be drawing them.
Paige Webb, a student from Rochester Hills’ Stoney Creek High School, is among the three winners of FCA’s 2017 Drive for Design Contest announced Thursday. Webb finished third behind Richard Chen of Delmar, Delaware, and first-place winner Davis Kunselman from Macon, Georgia.
All three entries share long, aerodynamic shapes with small greenhouses and huge wheels typical of design concept sketches. The designs feature huge air intakes for cooling which hint at a future in which gas engines will still be prominent. The first two prize-winners are sleek, mid-engine designs, while Webb’s gorgeous third-place entry explores a Dodge coupe concept with a long front hood suggesting FCA’s performance brand may be making Son-of-Hellcat three decades from now.
“I drew the car for speed,” she said of her design, which notably drops Dodge’s signature, horizontal cowl grille for vertical side intakes. “I wanted to imagine what a coupe would look like 30 years in the future, but keep my realist’s cap on. No flying cars or anything like that.”
Webb, 18, graduated from Stoney Creek this summer and is eying a future in automotive design. “I’ve always loved cars,” she says.
Mark Trostle, FCA’s North American design chief, said in a press release that the Drive for Design contest “helps connect our design team to the extraordinary artistic talent of students across the country and allows us to help guide them for a potential career in automotive design.”
The FCA design team partnered with EyesOn Design (which benefits the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology) and Lawrence Technological University for this year’s contest, now in its fifth year. The winners will be honored at the EyesOn Design “Vision Honored” auction.
Prizes for the winners include:
■Two-week summer automotive design course at Lawrence Technological University
■Passes to EyesOn Design Vision Honored Black Tie and Silent Auction
■Automotive Design Exhibition in Grosse Pointe Shores
■An Apple MacBook Pro
Henry Payne is auto critic for The Detroit News. Find him at firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @HenryEPayne.