My New Favorite YouTuber Designed The Ferrari F430

Illustration for article titled My New Favorite YouTuber Designed The Ferrari F430
Screenshot: Frank Stephenson (YouTube)

The guy who designed the reinvented Mini, drew some McLarens and made the Ferrari F430 is now just making videos from his house about design, and they’re wonderful.

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The only reason I write for Jalopnik today is because I used to search “new cars” and “new car designs” and occasionally something about the new Civic and a magical horse from Jason Torchinsky would come up and grab my attention. Car design is my favorite thing to learn about.

So when Frank Stephenson, one of the most prolific car designers working over the last generation, starts uploading videos to his YouTube channel about how he designed some of the most defining modern automobiles, you bet your bosom I’m going to pay attention.

This one, on the design of the F430, is the second in the new car design series. The first was about the redesigned modern Mini Cooper, and I got a lot of insight into the proportions and careful panel cutting that I never appreciated before.

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I love that Stephenson reveals the F430 was not an “easy mission” because he had to base it on the Ferrari 360—a stunning car in its own right that would be hard to follow up. Not that designing any other Ferrari would bring any less pressure, I’m sure. He also talks a lot about the design concept of tumblehome and how the F430 was inspired by the “Sharknose” Ferrari race cars.

“It’s not a McLaren where everything was minimized. You add a little bit on Ferraris to get that sensuality.” Looking at some of the recent attempts at Ferraris in recent years, I’m glad to see the Italian brand has seemingly returned to Stephenson’s edict with the new Roma.

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My favorite (and I guess only, until reading this article) Frank Stephenson story is about the reboot MINI’s exhaust tip design:

“Mini designer Frank Stephenson explains what a can of Budweiser and the new MINI have in common:
“We worked a number of 24-hour days trying to get the full-sized clay model completed for presentation to the board of directors,” says Stephenson. “So when we finished the job with just hours to spare, I thought it appropriate that the team have a beer or two to celebrate. That’s when I spotted the problem.”

That problem was the complete absence of an exhaust tip on the otherwise complete clay. Thinking quickly, Stephenson stripped the paint from his beer can, punched a hole in the bottom, and fixed it in place on the model.

It wasn’t long before he was called on the carpet by his boss at BMW. “It wasn’t the shape (of the tip),” he says, “everybody liked it because it was unique yet oddly familiar. He was concerned that I had wasted a modeler’s time milling the piece when his time could be better spent elsewhere. That was when I felt the need to confess.”

That confession got him stunned silence followed by nearly uncontrollable laughter.”