Iconic Automotive Designer Peter Horbury Died At Age 73

Chris Teague
by Chris Teague

iconic automotive designer peter horbury died at age 73

The automotive world recently lost a giant of design. Peter Horbury, the man credited with pushing Volvo from the brick-making OEM to one building flowing, curvy vehicles, has died. He passed away, aged 73, on a recent trip to China while visiting colleagues from his more recent employer, Lotus.

Horbury’s resume is the stuff of legend. He had stints at Ford, Volvo, Chrysler, Rolls-Royce, and others. Though his impact was felt across the automotive ecosystem, some of Horbury’s most impactful work happened at Volvo, where he led the design team in the early 1990s – one of the automaker’s most transformative periods. Later, he headed design for Ford when it owned Aston Martin, Volvo, and Jaguar. Most recently, Horbury worked with Geely after the Chinese company bought Volvo from Ford. One of his last credits came with the Lotus Eletre, the automaker’s first SUV.

Old-school car design may be fading as imaging software and computing have become massively powerful, but there’s still a place for humans with keen eyes and the will to speak out about a design decision. We still have plenty to be hopeful for, however, as there are many iconic designers still working hard on new vehicles. 

Henrik Fisker managed to deliver the first EVs from his new company, Ralph Gilles is still cranking out aggressive, muscle-bound rippers at Stellantis, and Frank Stephenson has made some of the most interesting YouTube content about his design process and the minds of others in the industry. It’s still a good time to love beautiful cars, though you might have to look a little harder for the name or names behind them. 

[Image: ryosha via Shutterstock]

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