The best car designer in the world?

Look no further than Frank Stephenson

by: Mike Rutherford, Auto Express Opinion
12 Nov 2023

Frank Stephenson has designed some of the most beautiful on the planet, and Mike Rutherford is glad to see him passing on his knowledge to the next generation

A quarter of a century ago, I met a bloke who reckoned he was designing the all-new MINI. “Can you tell me more?” was my obvious response.

“Not really. But I’ll happily do a sketch that’ll give you a rough idea of how it’ll look,” he replied helpfully as he grabbed a cheap ballpoint pen and, on the rear of his business card, drew me a mini rendition of what he claimed was the MINI for the 2000s and beyond.

The printed side of the card comprised a BMW logo, the words ‘Frank Stephenson, Design’ and not much else. At the time I was impressed by him and his lightning-fast sketching. But it’s been in the 20-odd years since that I’ve watched him grow into the most talented, versatile and productive car designer on the planet. Apart from the MINI, he’s designed some of the finest Ferraris, McLarens (P1 included), Maseratis and Fiats (500 among others) plus a BMW (X5) and Ford (Escort RS Cosworth), in addition to aircraft, advanced tech, watches, safety equipment, you name it.

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