CONCEPT TO REALITY - ONLY TOOK 13 YEARS!
The management thought it was a bit radical, but then it took the brave step of greenlighting the car for production - after all Peter had designed original CL coupe.
|Mercedes-Benz CL 600
Just three years later I'm told, Peter came up with another concept, which, although it went right through to what the car industry calls a 'see-through' model, it never made it into production.
But more on this later.
That last step is an important one for the car maker, as it's very costly, but almost guarantees the model is headed for volume production.
|Porsche Panamera Clay (at rear), and first-stage 'see-through'
|'See-through' motor show concept car
* * * *
|The 'Mad Max' Special
Peter Arcadipane, I must say, was/is(?) a bit of a rebel. He clashed many times with senior design staff at various car companies, pushing his 'crazy' ideas, but here was a guy who really did think outside the square - every time.
I really admire his originality, his thorough thought processes, which worked around the financial advantage of preserving the basic platform and putting a new 'top hat' on it.
That's not to say he only thought about extending the life of existing models. He led the design team on the innovative Kia KCV II, shown in Paris in 2002.
|Kia KCV II sketch
|Kia KCV II Paris motor show concept
|Mitsubishi Lancer 'Evolution X'
Peter has worked at Peugeot, Mitsubishi, Ford, Kia, Stola and a number of other companies, developing interesting, all-new cars, like the stunning Evolution X for Mitsubishi, but I believe he wrote his name in the automotive history book when he produced the smooth CL coupe for Mercedes-Benz.
Serious designers around the world stood back and took a deep breath when it debuted.
So, rewind to the start of this Post.
In 2000, Peter presented a design sketch and tape drawings for a 'Shooting Brake' version of the CLS to the Mercedes-Benz design management (that's a station wagon to you and me).
|Sportbrake Tape Drawing
They liked it, and it too went the full distance, from sketch to 'see-through'. However, management was super-cautious about such a radical model, so it went on the back burner.
To the basement of the design studio actually!
The whole box and dice was moved to the basement - not just the concept sketches, but the tape drawings, the full-size clay AND the see-through model!
Mercedes-Benz finally made the decision that this was a variant which could make money! So here it is - at last! Now, that's some gestation period.
The Mercedes Benz Sportbrake!
I wish him luck with this daunting challenge, and trust that having headhunted him, the BAIC management back his judgment.
From the Mad Max madness and the Mercedes Benz CL and CLS - not forgetting the Shooting Brake of course! Just 13 years after he presented the concept sketches!
Better late than never!