What if Engineers Designed Supercars?

Well, to answer that question the nice way, let’s be thankful for designers and accountants, because engineers don’t know beauty.

Neither do accountants, of course, but thanks to them many of the engineers’ grand plans get the kibosh for monetary reasons. Unfortunately for society, GrabCAD, an online engineering community, recently decided to give engineers the chance to pen a body for a ready-made chassis by 500 Group, a think tank for new products. The site received around 200 unique designs, the top quarter of which went on for final judging.

There’s nothing wrong with a little competition between engineers, but here’s where things get bad:

500 Group will actually produce one (or more) of the designs through a General Motors Special Projects agreement.


Normally I’m all for new supercars, but they have to ooze a certain level of sexiness. The ones “designed” by the engineering community are as sexy as an NPR newscast. There’s no visual appeal whatsoever, and I wonder why anyone, other than fellow engineers who lack proper design sense, would buy one of these. On the bright side, the existing chassis uses GM Performance parts and is set up to make use of the E-Rod LS3, LS7 or supercharged LS9 V8 engines. So at the least the ugliness will have some scoot.

In the supercar world, a vehicle’s design is an emotional appeal to sell cars and make money for the manufacturer. Oftentimes, these cars are designed first, and then engineered. That’s the right way to create a supercar. Engineers can create the tight fit and finish of an Accord and figure out how to stuff a quad-turbo W16 engine into the rear end of a Veyron, but the design has to supercede the engineering. Without that compromise all we’d ever see on the roads are Camrys. Or sad attempts at engineered supercars.

What do you think of the supercars designed by engineers?


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  1. I definitely disagree with this article. I mean, look at cars like the Nissan GT-R and McLaren MP4-12C. Those cars are incredible engineering marvels. They may not have the looks of a Lamborghini or Ferrari, but they’ve got the performance to put them to shame.

  2. Wow, and I used to work with some of these people. What I learned was that:
    1. Anyone with average intelligence, patience, good study habits and plenty of money can get a PHD.
    2. An engineer is only as good as his/her technical support.
    3. Everyone has at least one idea that won’t work.
    4. Engineering managers are the worst managers of all, and were probably bad engineers too.
    5. The national hotbeds of bad taste and mediocrity reside right here in Auburn Hills (Chrysler) and Warren. (GM)

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