Explosive, brilliant and king-hearted man, Chris Bangle is one of the most important car designers of the last 50 years. He is not afraid to say that today’s cars all look the same, to get emotional when talking about one of his colleagues who died prematurely, or to limit himself to the present day. His are cars that look ahead, often too far. “I remember that I used to lose in the early days”, Bangle tells us. “Competitions between designers were organised to choose the design of the cars and I always used to lose, but then I realised that some of my team’s ideas were applied by others. When I started at Fiat, I remember that my boss at the time said to me, ‘You are doing a fantastic job. Your job represents the engineers’ stylistic weapon, you have to show what can be done, you have to motivate your design competition to go beyond the limits’”.
The tour of his most iconic works can only start with the Opel Junior, a 1983 concept for which the then 27-year-old Bangle (born in Ravenna, Ohio, in 1956) designed the interiors. “At the time, it had just arrived in Germany, but I was inspired by Ikea anyway”, he says. “It was a young car and the idea was that it would arrive practically empty to the customer. Then, everyone could fill its interior as he or she wished, and then buy, as in Ikea, the various parts such as the car radio, rev counter, oil or water temperature gauges and add them as he or she pleased”.