This is how the Ferrari F430 was designed

The Ferrari F430 is considered by many to be an instant classic, partly due to its attractive styling that has aged beautifully like fine wine. The timeless design can be attributed mainly to Frank Stephenson, one of the most prolific automobile designers over the last couple decades. Stephenson’s work also include the modern day Mini Cooper, Fiat 500, as well as the design direction behind modern McLaren cars, starting with the P1.

Over the past few weeks, Frank Stephenson started a new video series called ‘How I Designed…’ over on his YouTube channel. In this second episode of the series, Stephenson gives us a deep dive on the thought process and details he took into account to design the timeless icon.

Frank Stephenson admitted that it was not an “easy mission” designing the Ferrari F430, as the brief for that project was to improve upon the 360 – a car that is beautiful in its own right. We’d say he definitely succeeded on that aspect.

Stephenson also talked about some of the more technical details of the design, including the use of “tumblehome”, an industry term for the narrowing profile above the shoulder line of the car which can help give the car a more dynamic stance, as well as the placement of the twin round taillights.

It was also particularly interesting how the design can hinge entirely on one single detail. Take for example the sketch of the front fascia, which to us looked completely unrecognisable until Stephenson draws in the sharknose air vents – inspired by the Ferrari 156 Formula One car.

The element of romance by interpreting olden design elements into modern applications – a sort of “artistic finesse” – is also what Stephenson says is lacking in modern Ferraris, a painful fact that we can’t help to agree.

Fortunately, Ferrari seems to be taking a step in the right direction (in our opinion) with the all-new Roma, featuring a design that is a little invokes more elegance and style, instead of just making it look fast and deadly. As Stephenson says it, “You add a little bit on Ferraris to get that sensuality.”


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