Derek Jenkins is Design Director at Mazda. He’s a designer whose work I respect a great deal, partially because he did VW’s amazing 2001 Microbus Concept when he worked there. But according to his LinkedIn profile, he’s just left that position to be Vice President of Design for “Stealth Project.” What’s going on here?

This was actually sent to me by friend-of-Jalopnik Mallory McMorrow, since I don’t use LinkedIn for my professional contact needs — up until recently I used a professional contact site called AshleyMadison, but they seem to be having issues. I’ve emailed Mazda to get confirmation, and, yep, he’s gone:

Derek left Mazda last Friday. He left on great terms in order to work on a new endeavor. We wish him the best of luck. He will be missed, but we are sure that he will do great things in the next chapter of his career.

So, Mr. Jenkins is no longer at Mazda, and is designing something super-secret. Personally, I hope it’s some variant of that amazing Microbus concept, moving ahead with it even if VW doesn’t have the balls, dodging copyright and intellectual property issues with cunning and his bare fists.

Beyond that, no one knows. I know he has a Myers Manx he built — maybe he’s designing that Myers Manx ultra-luxury sedan we’ve all been wanting to take the place of Maybach? Who wants to blindly speculate? It’ll be fun!

We reached out to Jenkins to ask what’s going on. We’ll update if we hear back.


Contact the author at jason@jalopnik.com.