LEADING AUSTRALIAN automotive designer Paul Beranger swipes the access card and takes you inside the top-secret world of Australiaís design studios in his book Crayon to CAD.
In a 47-year career that commenced with the Australian muscle-car era in 1968, Beranger penned cars for Holden, Nissan and Toyota and travelled the world working on design programs before going on to establish design studios for Toyota and Nissan at the height of local car making.
Crayon to CAD takes you on an entertaining tour of the Aussie car industry, from post WWII and the first Holden right up to the cessation of local manufacturing in 2017.
You meet the unsung heroes of the industry, the designers, whose names may not be familiar, but their cars sure are.
While working in the industry Beranger had many opportunities to talk to groups and often people would say to him, you ought to write a book about that. When he was part of the industry there was no time, but after leaving the industry a couple a couple of things happened as he explains.
ďA lot of Australian automotive designers havenít received the recognition they deserve for their achievements," he said.
"Design studios are so secretive that even 99 per cent of car company employees never see inside them! I thought it would be nice to celebrate the designers efforts over the decades.
ďWhen I started at Holden as a junior designer, my boss was a guy called Alf Payze and he was one of the designers on the first Holden. With the local manufacturing closedown, I thought it was a good opportunity to bookend that aspect of the industry and put it into words and pictures.Ē
Though Crayon to CAD isnít about cars per se, itís all about the people and places and the tools that people use to design cars.
Berangerís research includes interviewing dozens of current or past car people involved in design and engineering and in the book are detailed interviews with 23 leading industry figures, with each accompanied by their biography.
The author touches on niche car makers like Campbell Bolwell, and Bill Buckle and others who were peripheral to mainstream car manufacturing, but still had a role in the Australian automotive landscape.
Crayon to CAD tracks the success and failures of companies like Holden, Ford, BMC Leyland, Toyota, Chrysler and Mitsubishi, featuring the industry movers and shakers, including the ones who came in, the ones that went out and importantly what cars they were designing.
According to Beranger everybody has an opinion on what Aussie car is iconic.
ďA lot of people say the EH Holden was iconic because everybody had one," he said. ďA lot of people say the first Monaro was iconic because itís broke new ground for Holden and everybody would agree the GT Falcon is iconic as it gave birth to the GT-HOs and later on, Superbirds and Cobras. I havenít tried to highlight the best or the worst cars Iíve tended to highlight significant cars why they came about.
ďI cover the P76 which was a very interesting program, if people understood how it happened and realised how screwed up Leyland was in the UK. The Australian management did a fantastic job to get it where it was, and given enough time it wouldíve been a much better car then it was when they launched it. But at that stage in the company was pretty much broke in England so there was no money to spend."
Crayon to CAD is written for everyone who has never been in a car design studio (basically everyone) and a must for all car enthusiasts.
According to Beranger, ďItís an insiderís view and I try and join the dots between a drawing on a piece of paper and a car appearing on the showroom floor with people walking in, liking the look of it and buying it.Ē
Beranger has also included dozens of anecdotes that he hopes will have readers saying, 'I didnít know that.'
Crayon to CAD features over 400 photographs many of which have never been seen thanks to Beranger's unique access to archives and design studio personnel.
The inside cover has the names of over 700 people who work or have worked in Australian auto design studios and according to Beranger, Crayon to CAD is dedicated to them and to give them the recognition they deserve.
Why Crayon to CAD? Beranger came up with the title from the post-war era when designers used crayons, coloured pencils and pastels to design cars through to today, when itís done by CAD Computer Aid Design. If you love cars, put aside a few hours, because once you start reading itís impossible to put down. Crayon to CAD is available at: c2cpublishing.com.au