By Jon Konjoyan
TV’s Jay Leno made a surprise appearance at Pasadena’s Art Center College of Design’s annual Car Classic Oct. 27 presenting a Lifetime Achievement Award to General Motors executive Tom Peters, an alumnus of the School.
About 2,000 attendees including design students and their families attended the sprawling outdoor event in the hills near the Rose Bowl. Leno, dressed casually in a denim shirt, jeans, and black sneakers, arrived in a classic of his own — a right-hand drive black 1991 McLaren F1.
The television icon moderated a panel discussion featuring Peters, Director of Exterior Design of performance cars and full-size trucks at GM, and Peter Brock of Brock Racing Enterprises. Brock also spent time at GM: he penned the classic lines that would become the famous 1963 “split window” Corvette Stingray while working as a stylist in the late ‘50s. “It’s an artistic element,” explained designer Peters about details like the split window, “That gives personality and soul to the sheet metal and glass.”
The three discussed the all-new 2014 Corvette — the belle of this year’s car ball — and a bright yellow model of the sports car appeared alongside dozens of classics like a 1961 Fiat 500 Jolly by Ghia (featuring cane-back seats), a 1937 Cord 812 convertible coupe, and a 1969 Pontiac Grand Prix concept car.
For more than 80 years, the internationally renowned Art Center College of Design has been educating artists and designers. For information on the show or Art Center, visit artcenter.edu.