Even with modern computers and the latest graphics software, many car designers still rely on pencil and paper to create the vehicles we see on the road today. Here are sketches - some from the beginning of the design process - compared with the finished products.
One of the big hits of this year's Detroit auto show was the Jeep Hurricane concept. It was designed by the Chrysler group's Aaron Pizzuti, who came up with the idea while he was in bed one night. This vehicle features two 5.7-liter Hemi engines - one in the front and the other in the back - and has a steering system that allows for a zero-turn radius.
Designer David O'Connell wanted the 2006 Mitsubishi Raider to be a pickup that stands out and conveys a sense of sportiness. He says the Raider borrowed its wheel-arch shapes from the Mitsubishi Endeavor SUV. O'Connell says: "We also gave it a one-line flush profile to make it look smooth and sculptured like a sports car."
The dominant design feature of the 2006 Audi A3, designed by Gary Telaak, is its huge front grille. But check out this side view and the way the car becomes flatter toward the rear. Audi says the A3's sloping roofline "incorporates the tail end harmoniously into the powerful overall proportions of the car as it sits low on the road."
Searching for gold
"Iosis" is an obscure word that refers to an important alchemic stage for changing base metal into gold. The Ford Iosis concept, which debuts at the Frankfurt auto show this week, is important because it represents the styling future of Ford of Europe.
These sketches are by Ford of Europe exterior designer Andrea di Buduo.
The redesigned 2006 BMW 3 series that hit U.S. highways in the spring didn't draw the criticism that the 5 series and 7 series did when they were redesigned. That's because BMW shied away from radical styling changes for its best-selling model. The 3-series' styling is evolutionary.
As BMW brand chief designer Adrian van Hooydonk has said, "The silhouette remains, but the surfaces are now more sculptural." The car was designed by BMW's Joji Nagashima.
Shortly after product czar Robert Lutz got to General Motors in 2001, he asked Wayne Cherry, the design chief at the time, to create a roadster for Pontiac. A week later, GM designer Franz Von Holzhausen submitted a sketch that he had done earlier. That led to the Solstice concept, shown here, which debuted at the 2002 Detroit auto show, and to the production version, which went on sale last month. GM says designers worked carefully to transfer the "clean lines, taut proportions and interesting details" of the concept to the production model. Oh, and they also used some features you'll find on other GM vehicles to keep costs down. For example, the backup lamps also appear on the GMC Envoy.