Project V was the code name for the collaborative design and engineering project between PSA and Fiat groups that resulted in the Peugeot 807, Citroën C8, Fiat Ulysse and Lancia Phedra people carrier models.
This was my first major project after starting work for PSA Style Avancé in 1996.
I started the project working on the exterior, two my of my sketch themes were chosen to be developed with 1:4 scale clay models, the first was a dynamic looking monobox shape, the second was inspired by seeing endurance racing cars in the flesh at the Lemans 24 Hour race – a wrap around windscreen gave a fresh and modern look and was very different to the Renault Espace which was the class leader at that time. This version was selected and work started with Fiat to create four different looking versions by changing most of the front and rear panels and lights.
I was moved into the interior design department because they were slightly understaffed and needed a designer to work on the interior panels.
The exterior was completed by the bosses and changed completely but somehow Fiat had independantly created a design that was very similar to my original theme.
The interior panels were a greater challenge than I had imagined, with much of the early styling being guesswork as we waited for the engineering data. The styling phase blended into the production design phase with the rear panel’s styling being completed quite late due to a multitude of constraints dictating what was possible stylistically.
It was normal for the same car designer to follow the design process of their chosen theme right up to the vehicle’s launch. These days a seperate production design department completes the production design phases.
This experience taught me how vehicles are engineered and how to work with engineers in an effective way.
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