HomeCar CultureCommentarySyd Mead looks 30 years into the future

Syd Mead looks 30 years into the future


EyesOn Design poster by Syd Mead depicts vehicles in 2047 | EyesOn Design images
EyesOn Design poster by Syd Mead depicts vehicles in 2047 | EyesOn Design images

Frequent readers know that I enjoy it when the worlds of art and automobiles collide. And I mean collide in a positive sense. The impact between the two can be sudden, even violent, but also creative and beautiful, even wondrous.

Consider the way in recent years that major art museums have welcomed not only exhibitions of astounding automobiles, but also the people who come to see them, often people who never before have ventured inside such an edifice, but who, very often, wander around the place to see what else it offers, learn something about the appreciation of art, and return even when the cars have gone.

Another of Syd Mead's auto artworks
Another of Syd Mead’s auto artworks

Consider, too, the work of Syd Mead. To the public at large, he is the artist/designer behind the scene settings for Star Trek, Blade Runner, Aliens, Tron and other futuristic films.

But to those of us in the car world, Syd Mead, visual futurist, is the Art Center graduate who was recruited to Ford’s design studios, stayed there two years and then left to do illustration and architectural renderings for several global companies, and eventually for Hollywood. Fortunately, he has continued to draw futuristic vehicles, works of art cherished by car and art collectors.

On Father’s Day, Mead will receive the lifetime design achievement award at the 30th annual EyesOn Design, which may be the best concours-quality car show you’ve likely never heard of. The show takes place each Father’s Day on the grounds of the historic Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, is curated by leading auto designers, and benefits the Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology. Among the features is a white-glove judging of cars by people with limited or no sight.

Since this will be the 30th anniversary EyesOn Design, the theme is vehicles that represent era-defining body styles and illustrate vehicles designed to be “uniquely suited” to their contemporary lifestyles and purposes.

From Father’s Day in Detroit to Fourth of July in Alaska

A van takes flight off Alaskan cliff | Fuel Curve photo
A van takes flight off Alaskan cliff | Fuel Curve photo

The Goodguys Rod & Custom Association recently launched a wonderful new website called Fuel Curve. I think it was the first, or maybe the second weekly installment that included a video of the car-flying festivities that take place as part of the Fourth of July celebration in Glacier View, a community around 40 miles north of Anchorage.

It started when a car and moose collided in 2005, totalling the car. Instead of merely adding the car to a junkyard, folks figured out a way to drive it off a cliff and a tradition was, well, launched.

Here’s some very bad ‘carma’

The Associated Press reports that a man running a collector car scam has been sentenced to 27 months in prison. Rodney Crosby Jr. of Pisgah, Iowa, pleaded guilty to wire fraud after taking payments at his Hot Rod Classics shop and failing to deliver the vehicles people thought they were buying.

Meanwhile, a northern California newspaper reports that the owners of West Coast Auto Craft, one of whom already was on federal probation for drug trafficking, were taken into custody by authorities on multiple counts of grand theft and identity theft. The accused displayed classic cars at car shows and offered his restoration and repair services to car owners at the show. He would pick up their vehicles and their deposits, then claim the work required more time and money, at least once returning to the owner a car in pieces that had been in running condition.

On a more positive legal front…

SEMA’s Action Network reports that West Virginia has passed a law to make it easier for people to claim abandoned antique vehicles and not only is creating a digital map of off-road vehicle recreation areas, but is expanding more trails.

In addition, a bill is moving through a Senate committee in Missouri that would allow camping trailers more than 25 years old to be permanently registered for a $52.50 fee.

And a bill has been introduced in Louisiana’s legislature to exempt antique motor vehicles from state and local taxes.

Imagine: A billion-dollar auction week

One more comment about the worlds of art and automobiles: We get excited when the auctions on the Monterey Peninsula post sales in excess of $300 million. Last week in New York City, 11 art auctions generated sales of $1.6 billion. Yes, billion with a “b.”

Also significant is news that that figure represents a more than 30 percent boost over the same sales the previous year.

If the auto marketplace follows the art path, we may be in store for a rollickin’ run come August in northern California.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

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