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About Virgil Exner Jr.

Virgil M. Exner Jr. is an internationally known designer of automobiles and powerboats. He was at least concept designer of the Studebaker Lark, Volvo P1800 S, Renault Caravelle, Renault R4, Ghia Selene II, Fiat 2300S, Fiat 1500S, Karmann Ghia 1500, Ford Maverick, Ford Pinto, various Ford Thunderbirds, the first Ford Fiesta, and the Ford Crown Victoria--as well as Buehler Turbo Craft, Brunswick, and Riva Boats. Exner also designed the Motor Trend Car of the Year trophy.

Exner's mother and father, the Automotive Hall of Fame designer Virgil Exner Sr., brought him up to love automobiles and race cars of all types, as well as people who share share the enthusiasm for beautiful, sensible, transportation design. It's pure Car Lust fun!

Posts by Virgil Exner Jr.

Design a 2013 Studebaker!

The Studebaker National Museum is once again holding a design competition. If you'd like to enter, submit a one- or two-page illustration of your design....

Studebaker 1
Studebaker 2

...accompanied by a 100-word writen description and an official entry form to:

Studebaker National Museum
Attn: Design Contest
201 S. Chapin St.
South Bend, IN 46601

by mail or personal delivery, or e-mail it to the Museum.  The deadline is October 27, 2013.

There are four age categories: 11 & younger, 12–16, 17–20, and 21 & older. There will be a winner announced in each category, along with several honorable mentions. I'll be judging the contest, along with Professor Paul Down from the University of Notre Dame and WSBT radio personality Jon “JT” Thompson.

--Virgil M. Exner, Jr.

The Aero-Trail: a 21st Century Trailer

A good friend of mine who is a local automotive reporter and fellow racing nut suggested wanting a really modern trailer to take to Florida and leaving it there for future trips. It got me excited. I've designed many power boats before, but never thought of designing a travel trailer. This is my first attempt.

Aero-Trail by Virgil M. Exner, Jr, 2012Now, I'll have to design a matching tow vehicle.

--Virgil M. Exner, Jr.

Download a PDF of the Aero-Trail by clicking here

The DeSoto Adventurer I -- My Favorite Show Car of All Time

Virgil M. Exner, Sr., with the DeSoto Adventurer IRegardless of having been associated with great car designs and car designers all of my life, my favorite show car of all time has to be the 1953 DeSoto Adventurer I. My father designed it in 1952 as the Director of Advanced Styling for Chrysler Corporation.

Father actually started the design at our home in Birmingham, Michigan, with scale drawings and then modeled the 1/4 scale adaptation in clay in his office "back room" along with one of his favorite modelers, Ron Martin. Ron was the son of my father's clay modeler at GM Styling, George Martin, when Father was the Chief Designer of Pontiac from 1936 through 1938. Ron also brought the first use of fiberglass casting to Chrysler Styling, and the Adventurer model was the first to be cast in fiberglass and shipped to Ghia in Italy for the full size show car to be developed. Prior to that the scale models were cast in plaster and always subject to cracking of the beautiful finishes.

Continue reading "The DeSoto Adventurer I -- My Favorite Show Car of All Time" »

Project Terrapin: a Design for a "Turtle Deck" Roadster

Lately, my design blood has been really bubbling. I guess I'm just anxious to forget playing on my computer and getting back to modeling and twisting a wrench. Here's my latest idea: a "Turtle Deck" roadster which emulates a little more antique version of the 1932 Studebaker two man Indianapolis racer my father once owned.

Exner Turtle-Deck Roadster

Continue reading "Project Terrapin: a Design for a "Turtle Deck" Roadster" »

The Silver Bullet

This design for an electric-powered car was my submission to the League of Retired Automobile Designers' show at the Studebaker National Museum last year.

Studebaker Silver Bullet

Continue reading "The Silver Bullet" »

Studebaker Week: Studebakers for the 21st Century

(Car Lust contributor Virgil Exner, Jr. celebrated Studebaker Week by designing a few Studebakers of his own and sending us some high-resolution renderings. Click the pictures to enlarge them and read Mr. Exner's commentary. -- Ed.)

Studebaker President

Continue reading "Studebaker Week: Studebakers for the 21st Century" »

Revolutionary Efficiency

Hyundai i10(Note from Chris: We're very proud to welcome Virgil Exner Jr. as an official Car Lust contributor. Mr. Exner is of course the son of famous designer Virgil Exner of Forward Look fame, and a distinguished automotive designer in his own right. He previously contributed a rebuttal to Cookie the Dog's Owner's original Stutz Blackhawk piece.)

Hello Car Lust readers, I'm very happy to be aboard as a contributor to the blog and hope you will enjoy my input.

My wife and I recently returned from a short vacation in St. Martin in the Caribbean, and I had an opportunity to rent a virtually new India-produced Hyundai i-10 four-door hatchback. It had all of the accessories as our 2008 two-door Ford Focus, and both of us thought it was really great. It got 27 mpg for more than 200 miles around that hilly and traffic-jammed island and drove and handled just as well as the Focus. Our Focus gets 19 mpg in more favorable traffic and on flatter roads. I thought the Hyundai would make the Focus feel heavy when we returned to our car, and it did.

Continue reading "Revolutionary Efficiency" »

Pictured above: This is a forlorn Chevy Vega photographed by reader Gary Sinar. (Share yours)

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