So, Kirk Bennion, what’s the secret to designing cars that remain timeless over the years?
“You want to improve the breed of the car and integrate the latest technology,” he explains. “You also want to give the car kind of a timeless look and not get too trendy, knowing people are going to coddle these cars and own them for a long time.”
Bennion would know all about that coddling, as he still has his first car, a 1970 Camaro Z/28, sitting in his garage.
He’s the man responsible for the design of many of our favorite Corvettes, including the sixth generation coupe and convertible that debuted in 2005, the 2006 Z06, the 2012 Centennial Edition, and the 2013 60th Anniversary Edition. He also practices what he draws, having had a five-year stint in amateur road racing and teaching 20-plus driving schools at the National Corvette Museum.
Bennion, who started his GM career as a 23-year-old upstart who loved the idea of using GM’s newly constructed wind tunnel in 1984 to incorporate better aerodynamics into vehicle styling, is currently exterior design manager for the seventh generation Corvette Stingray and the sixth generation Camaro.
But he’s definitely paid his dues, having also spent nine years designing ordinary vehicles like the S-series pickup, Tahoe, and TrailBlazer, as well as full-size vans.
“They’re just as active in the wind tunnel as performance cars,” Bennion said. “There’s a lot to get your hands around — a lot of work to be done. They’re kind of the other side of performance: off-road performance vs. on-road.”
Indeed, he gives this advice to young wannabe designers who want to design the next Corvette: “I say, ‘Next time you’re at the airport and see the 15-passenger van, I was responsible for that,'” Bennion said. “I try to tell them that’s the bread-and-butter work that you have to do as part of the team.”
[VIDEO] Corvette Presentation from the 2017 Twelve Hours of Sebring
[PICS] Corvette Designer Kirk Bennion and his 2017 Grand Sport
[VIDEO] The C7 Corvette Stingray Exterior Design Seminar at the 2013 NCM Bash