Have talent, will travel


MANY Aussies are making a mark on global car design. From Monash Uni graduate Frank Rudolph and his acclaimed interior work on the Chevy Bolt EV to Ford GT designer Todd Willing, you don’t have to dig far to turn up an Aussie.

Look at Hyundai. Korean-born Casey Hyun feels at home in the massive Namyang R&D centre, but get him talking and the accent is pure North Ryde, Sydney. He’ll happily talk V8 Supercars and makes sure to get his copy of Wheels every month.

Although study and work took him from Australia to Korea via Japan, Germany and the UK, Hyun’s proud of his Aussie passport and has been contributing to Hyundai’s rapidly evolving design maturity.

Hyun is best-known to Wheels readers for his work on the Hyundai Genesis (2014), the i20 (2014) and Sonata (2010). It’s a meteoric progression for a guy whose first job was designing the hubcap for the iLoad van.

Over in the US, Australian ex-Pininfarina clay modeller Ben Burnett now runs Tesla’s modelling studio.

And then there’s Andrew Smith, executive director for General Motors in charge of global Cadillac and Buick design. That’s a long way from the remote country town of Gilgandra, NSW.

Son of the local Holden dealer, Smith is now steering the design direction of two of America’s most respected marques.

Calvin Luk (right) says his success at BMW in Germany is proof young Australians can make it big on the world stage of car design.

“If you’re passionate about design, there’s nothing stopping you from doing it,” he advises aspiring designers. “Just try everything, try to communicate with those who are doing what you want to do and don’t give up.”