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An English Car Designer Abroad is the humorous and personal account of a life spent working on the design of some of the world’s best known cars. Commencing his career as a designer at Vauxhall Motors, Luton in 1973, Peter Birtwhistle then left the UK in 1977 to take a position abroad, at Audi in Germany, where he lived for the rest of his working life.
From Audi, his career took him to Porsche in Stuttgart, and eventually, in 1988, to the Japanese company Mazda, with whom he would help develop a Design Centre close to Frankfurt, eventually becoming Chief Designer for Mazda Motor Europe. During his career, Birtwhistle was involved in the design of some very significant cars and in his work and travels, crossed the paths of many significant personalities from the car industry.
Car design has changed enormously since the time he commenced his career, and for Birtwhistle it was clear, his story needed to be documented before it was lost in time. Featuring original photographs and illustrations from the author’s own collection, this highly humorous and very personal story creates a fascinating collage of anecdotes and historical facts, not only from the secretive world of car design, but also his private life.
About the Author
The English Automotive Designer Peter Birtwhistle was born in Reading in the early 1950s. Birtwhistle studied Design at the Berkshire College of Art and the Royal College of Art, London, where he graduated in 1973, taking a position at Vauxhall Motors, Luton. In 1977 he moved to Audi, in the German town of Ingolstadt. Here, Birtwhistle contributed to the designs of some of the company's most iconic vehicles, including the Audi 100, 80 and of particular note, the famous Audi Sport Quattro. In 1983 he moved to Porsche in Stuttgart, before joining the Japanese company Mazda in 1988, helping them set up a Design Centre near Frankfurt. As Chief Designer for Mazda Motor Europe, Birtwhistle ended his career in 2014. Although retired, Birtwhistle still maintains touch with his passion for Automotive Design, employed as a lecturer at Coventry University’s Transport Design Course, close to his new home in England, the town of Leamington Spa.