FCA's Lead Designer Seems to Be Having Fun With Us

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky
fcas lead designer seems to be having fun with us

With the coronavirus keeping everyone on the cusp of cabin fever, we’ve seen unaccompanied celebrities release collaborative renditions of terrible songs in order to maintain their fragile egos, museums offering virtual tours and activities, and texts from good people that we haven’t heard from in ages. The secret to living in isolation, it seems, is to remain active and upbeat while sharing those positive vibes — something made easier by the internet.

Keeping that in mind, we noticed some buzz surrounding Fiat Chrysler lead designer Ralph Gilles on Monday. Seemingly bored to tears, he’s been working from home this month and decided to share a rendition of the Dodge Charger (maybe Challenger?) the team has been working on. While clearly an early design draft of a yet-unbuilt concept model, we’re not so sure the artist has taken the exercise totally seriously.

It’s not the loud paint color (which is pretty standard for Dodge) or the hood pins and wild dimensions that raise our collective eyebrow — it’s the integrated front spoiler guards Gilles saw fit to include and then make reference to. And yet there may still be some legitimate automotive design taking place here. FCA’s design head at least admitted the image was in service of an experimental design at one point — though that may have also been in jest.

“We are still having virtual design reviews while we self isolate & work from home,” Gilles wrote on Instagram. “While we are NEVER to show future product on social media I have made an exception this time as this experimental design of a of the future fell on the cutting room floor… because the designer decided to make the yellow spoiler guards a permanent part of the theme. We had a really good laugh about it though!”

While we’re under the assumption that Gilles simply wanted to brighten everyone’s day by making light of the bizarre trend where Dodge customers leave on the protective yellow guards that are supposed to be dumped after shipping, there’s always a chance this rendering could denote the styling of some future product. No one could tell you which cues might stick around without FCA’s help — and that isn’t happening.

Instead, we’re just having a good laugh and taking note of the Dodge brand’s continued willingness to engage with customers like they’re real people who might have an opinion about cars. It’s solid marketing, whether that was Gilles’ original intent or not, and a smart way to keep us thinking about the brand as the entire auto industry essentially goes on hiatus.

[Image: Ralph Gilles/ Instagram]

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  • Mjz Mjz on Mar 25, 2020

    I actually LIKE the bright, contrasting spoiler guards. They add some color and visual interest to the usual dull grey scale selection of exterior color choices (although Dodge does have a nice color assortment!).

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 25, 2020

    In a world with no speedbumps (front spoiler), pavement irregularities (tire aspect ratio), dark nights (lighting efficacy), or heads and shoulders (greenhouse), this vehicle would appeal to me. But that's not the world I live in.

  • Nrd515 I bought an '88 S10 Blazer with the 4.3. We had it 4 years and put just about 48K on it with a bunch of trips to Nebraska and S. Dakota to see relatives. It had a couple of minor issues when new, a piece of trim fell off the first day, and it had a seriously big oil leak soon after we got it. The amazinly tiny starter failed at about 40K, it was fixed under some sort of secret warranty and we got a new Silverado as a loaner. Other than that, and a couple of tires that blew when I ran over some junk on the road, it was a rock. I hated the dash instrumentation, and being built like a gorilla, it was about an inch and a half too narrow for my giant shoulders, but it drove fine, and was my second most trouble free vehicle ever, only beaten by my '82 K5 Blazer, which had zero issues for nearly 50K miles. We sold the S10 to a friend, who had it over 20 years and over 400,000 miles on the original short block! It had a couple of transmissions, a couple of valve jobs, a rear end rebuild at 300K, was stolen and vandalized twice, cut open like a tin can when a diabetic truck driver passed out(We were all impressed at the lack of rust inside the rear quarters at almost 10 years old, and it just went on and on. Ziebart did a good job on that Blazer. All three of his sons learned to drive in it, and it was only sent to the boneyard when the area above the windshield had rusted to the point it was like taking a shower when it rained. He now has a Jeep that he's put a ton of money into. He says he misses the S10's reliablity a lot these days, the Jeep is in the shop a lot.
  • Jeff S Most densely populated areas have emission testing and removing catalytic converters and altering pollution devices will cause your vehicle to fail emission testing which could effect renewing license plates. In less populated areas where emission testing is not done there would probably not be any legal consequences and the converter could either be removed or gutted both without having to buy specific parts for bypassing emissions. Tampering with emission systems would make it harder to resell a vehicle but if you plan on keeping the vehicle and literally running it till the wheels fall off there is not much that can be done if there is no emission testing. I did have a cat removed on a car long before mandatory emission testing and it did get better mpgs and it ran better. Also had a cat gutted on my S-10 which was close to 20 years old which increased performance and efficiency but that was in a state that did not require emission testing just that reformulated gas be sold during the Summer months. I would probably not do it again because after market converters are not that expensive on older S-10s compared to many of the newer vehicles. On newer vehicles it can effect other systems that are related to the operating and the running of the vehicle. A little harder to defeat pollution devices on newer vehicles with all the systems run by microprocessors but if someone wants to do it they can. This law could be addressing the modified diesels that are made into coal rollers just as much as the gasoline powered vehicles with cats. You probably will still be able to buy equipment that would modify the performance of a vehicles as long as the emission equipment is not altered.
  • ToolGuy I wonder if Vin Diesel requires DEF.(Does he have issues with Sulfur in concentrations above 15ppm?)
  • ToolGuy Presented for discussion: https://xroads.virginia.edu/~Hyper2/thoreau/civil.html
  • Kevin Ford can do what it's always done. Offer buyouts to retirement age employees, and transfers to operating facilities to those who aren't retirement age. Plus, the transition to electric isn't going to be a finger snap one time event. It's going to occur over a few model years. What's a more interesting question is: Where will today's youth find jobs in the auto industry given the lower employment levels?
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