New Makers, Models at This Car Show

Though they had never before taught car design to high school students, officials at the Calty Design Studio have declared the inaugural program a success.

“I am very impressed,” said Dennis Campbell, a senior designer at Calty Design Studio in Newport Beach. Calty is Toyota Motor Corp.'s United States automotive design studio.

On Wednesday, after three months of study and hard work, students from Katella, Laguna Beach and Valley high schools presented clay models of cars they built during the course.

The students started with a concept and a blank piece of paper. The mission was to design a car for people in their early 20s. That meant it had to be more stylish than practical and had to fall into a price range young people can afford.


Like professional car designers, they pondered the image they wanted to create, sketched several designs and, when they settled on one they thought best suited the market, created a 3-D model from clay.

They came up with half a dozen designs for sports cars, sedans, convertibles and a mini-van. Model names were along the lines of “Style,” “Extreme” and “Smashing.”

The students, some aspiring artists and others hard-core motorheads, put their work on display Wednesday and fielded questions about how they chose the names of the cars, how much they would sell them for and what inspired the designs.

“I think it was a great learning experience,” said Preston Moore, 17, a senior at Laguna Beach High School who plans to go to trade school to learn automotive repair.


But even those like 18-year-old Enrique Venegas from Valley High School, who is interested in art and not cars, said he enjoyed the experience.

“It’s fun. You get to see the work come to life,” he said.