Shannons has launched a new documentary series, interviewing and exploring the work of Australia’s leading automotive designers, while featuring incredible footage of their teams at work.
The series, titled ‘Design to Driveway’, airs online over seven weeks. You can see them at the bottom of this story, so grab a snack and kick your feet up – it’s good to see.
Update: Episode 3 is now live!
Episode 3 of Design Two Driveways is live now, so keep scrolling to watch each episode in order – or use the links below to jump to your favorite next episode.
Photo: Corinne Miller’s VJ Charger
Episode 1: Leo Pruneau
“I couldn’t get petrol out of my blood”.
In the first episode, Host Warren Brown talks to American-born designer Leo Perneau, responsible for the 1965 Chevy Impala and – after the move to GM’s Australian business at Holden – the Statesman Caprice (inspired by Rolls-Royce and Aston Martin, of course).
As well as its face on the first-generation VB Commodore and VK, Pruneau was also the designer behind the iconic LE Monaro coupe – partly through an unusual coincidence, as you’ll discover in the video.
Although Leo Perneau retired from Holden in 1988, he says “I couldn’t get petrol out of my blood”.
Episode 2: David Ford
“It was a hell of a ride while I was on it.”
In the second episode, The Shannons step into the great automotive division to land in the blue oval, to talk to David Ford (not related!), the product planner and honorary ‘designer at heart’ who helped shape and introduce the XR Falcon. Kay – later in 1967, on Ford’s first Bathurst victory by Fred Gibson.
David later made significant contributions to the next-generation Falcon models, XA through XC, and the XD body, while also spearheading the creation of the Australian Fairlane.
“Shannons is proud to launch this historic series to celebrate the rich design heritage of the cars we all know and love. While Shannons key role as Australia’s leading insurer for motoring enthusiasts We also believe it is important to preserve our automotive history for future generations,” said Mark Behr, Executive Manager, Marketing for Shannons.
Episode 3: Dennis Nicol
The odd twists and turns of the automotive industry gave one man the task of designing two distinct but still iconic Australian cars – the VJ Valiant and the TM Magna.
Nicol’s career saw him move from the Chrysler Keswick pattern shop in Adelaide, but his first major design job was assisting on the VJ Valiant Charger. He later traveled to America to train with the legend Bob Hubbach.
“On returning to Australia, Nicole again helped pen the likes of Valiant,
Regals and more Chargers before they caught the wave of Australian surf culture, creating the drifter panel van and drifter’s winning style.
utility,” Shannons says of Nicole.
When Chrysler pulled out and Mitsubishi moved to Tonsley Park, Nicol found himself responsible for the styling of several generations of the Magna (and Verada), including the export model.
Keep an eye out for more episodes airing every week.
- Episode 4: Phil Zmood – Holden Chief Designer premieres on November 6
- Episode 5: David Hardy – Leyland Australia Designer Premieres on November 13
- Episode 6: Graham Wadsworth – Ford Australia Designer Premieres 20 November
- Episode 7: Richard Furlazzo – Holden Chief Designer premieres on November 27