Chris Bangle's Mystery Comeback Car Was So 'Liberating' It Made A Designer Sick

Illustration for article titled Chris Bangle's Mystery Comeback Car Was So 'Liberating' It Made A Designer Sick

Chris Bangle was gladly talking shit about one, or possibly all, of the major automakers during the Frankfurt Motor Show this past week, but that overshadowed one very important detail: he’s finally working on another car for a mystery company and claims it was so liberating it made one designer physically sick.

If you thought Jalopnik was dramatic, you’ve probably never heard Chris Bangle talk about design. In the same interview where the former BMW design chief called somebody (or everybody) out for being derivative and boring, Bangle revealed he pushed one of his designers so hard on a new mysterious car project that they became physically sick. Here’s the unbelievably over-the-top story from Automotive News:

Actually, Bangle can’t resist hyping it in his own way. He related a story about one of his designers, a veteran stylist who Bangle asked to do something quite radical. The designer told him, “every bone in my body refuses to do this.”

“He said, ‘I can’t do this’ and he got sick, literally sick. He came down with a bad flu and he spent three days in his hotel room, eating soup — and drawing what I had asked him to draw. And when he came out he had created something no one had ever seen, and he said to me, ‘I am liberated.’

Talking about this, Bangle got choked up. He had to excuse himself, pull out a handkerchief and dab his suddenly red, watery eyes.

His voice cracked.

“This was extremely emotional,” he said. “I was able to get this designer to go past a mental barrier. When people ask me what is the problem with cars of the future, I say it is the mental barriers in the heads of designers. It is not the management’s fault or the customer’s fault or technology’s fault, it is these things in our heads. We’ve got to end the banality. We’ve got to get rid of the normal.”


Holy moly, that is fucking amazing. All of it, but particularly the emotion behind it.

So what the hell is this emotional, barrier-breaking, designer-destroying mystery design? Who knows! Bangle isn’t ready to reveal it, but he did tell Autonews that it was a manufacturing company familiar with electric vehicles, but one that wasn’t yet an automaker. Which company could it be?

Magna-Steyer is a possibility, but it already technically builds cars. Dyson has hinted that it could take a stab at designing a car, but that’s a company very focused on its own designs which probably wouldn’t go to somebody like Bangle. There’s Yamaha, which worked with Gordon Murray on a sports car concept not too long ago. Some others, off the top of my head, could be something like Samsung, or fuck it, I’ll say it—Apple. Or it could just be another random Chinese start-up of some sort.

Whichever company it is, Bangle promises we’ll know more soon. Evidently he fought really hard against the idea of attaching his name to another car project—he’s been out of the game for eight years—but he claims it’s a courageous project unlike anything else those losers in Frankfurt are putting out.


Maybe it’s just one giant flamed surface. Here’s hoping it’s anything but a damn Apple car.

Reviews Editor, Jalopnik

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Even though he didn’t design it personally he still let this happen under his watch. Bangle 7 series rear ends I can tolerate but I get emotionally ill every time I see this crease “design” feature dent on the road.