Automotive futurist Syd Mead dies at 86

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Syd Mead, car designer turned artist known for looking far into the future, and the visionary behind such movies as Blade Runner, Aliens and Tron, died December 30. He was 86.

Mead was a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for two years in Ford’s advanced design studio. He left to do illustrations and in 1970 started his own design company in Detroit.

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

Much of his automotive artwork focused on the future, or as he termed science fiction, “reality ahead of schedule.”

In 2017, Mead received the lifetime design achievement award at the 30th EyesOn Design car show at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, an event widely known as the car designers’ concours.

1967: Future Rolls Royce | Syd Mead art courtesy CarArt.us
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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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