Own a Pair of Wild Coachbuilt Supercars From Designer Ken Okuyama

Discussion in 'Cars in General' started by GTPNewsWire, Jan 10, 2019.

  1. GTPNewsWire

    GTPNewsWire Contributing Writer

    Messages:
    7,927
    Location:
    United States
    Snake55wildcat and AgentBlackDog like this.
  2. Slurm

    Slurm

    Messages:
    1,165
    0 Comments? These things are insane! Bizarre, uninhibited styling. :tup::tup: Thanks for sharing.
     
    AgentBlackDog and Snikle like this.
  3. Tornado

    Tornado

    Messages:
    37,437
    It's insane, bizarre, uninhibited styling from someone who spent the end of his career vomiting all over Ferrari's lineup with similar designs, to the extent that people generally didn't seem too upset when he left.



    It's probably not a coincidence that his better designs were done under the watchful eye of Chuck Jordan and (later) 5,000 ultra-conservative and nearly broke German engineers.
     
    Last edited: Jan 10, 2019
  4. Dave A

    Dave A Premium

    Messages:
    26,967
    Location:
    United Kingdom
    The Kode57 is the lesser of the two evils on my eyes, the Kode0 is awful. I don't mind out there styling, but if I had more money than sense I still wouldn't buy either of those or request a coachbuild from KOC.
     
    ROAD_DOGG33J likes this.
  5. kikie

    kikie Premium

    Messages:
    17,297
    Me want:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    VXR and Nessy like this.
  6. TheCracker

    TheCracker Premium

    Messages:
    20,670
    Location:
    South Korea
    The Kode0 looks like an early concept for the Gallardo if the brief had been to conjure up some of the show-stopping presence of the Countach LP400. Not something from 2017.
     
    VXR likes this.
  7. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

    Messages:
    5,356
    Location:
    Iran
    I find it amusing that the same guy that designed the 4th Gen Camaro designed the Ferrari Enzo. :lol:
     
  8. TexRex

    TexRex Premium

    Messages:
    11,701
    Location:
    United States
    One wonders to what degree he was actually involved. Did he go all the way back to the beginning of concepts like the Banshee and IROC-Z or did he reshape those designs into something safe for large scale production? And as has already been suggested, Chuck Jordan, who was head of design at GM until 1992, wasn't exactly the hands-off type.
     
  9. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

    Messages:
    5,356
    Location:
    Iran
    Here comes SkeptiRex ruining my fun, yet again. :lol:
     
    TexRex likes this.
  10. TexRex

    TexRex Premium

    Messages:
    11,701
    Location:
    United States
    As much as I don't care for either of these, there is one of Ken's "Kodes" that I really appreciate:

    [​IMG]
     
  11. Joey D

    Joey D Contributing Writer

    Messages:
    40,473
    Location:
    United States
    Based on his website, he was the Cheif Designer at GM when he worked there. Although, a guy by the name of Kirk Bennion was over the Camaro design program. I'm guessing the two worked together to get the final shape.

    Also, according to this, he had his hand in the C5 Corvette design too...which is just as odd.

    Oh and if that wasn't strange enough, he also designs eyeglasses and furniture as well.
     
  12. TexRex

    TexRex Premium

    Messages:
    11,701
    Location:
    United States
    Interesting. I hopped on over to Dean's Garage and did a search, and of the three instances in which "Okuyama" appears, the most insightful simply indicates that he had Bunker Hill Bradley as an instructor at Art Center in 1984.

    Now that's certainly not the last word, as while I'm aware of Bennion at Corvette, he isn't mentioned on the site at all.

    Most of what I'm gleaning from broader searches seems to regurgitate the same vague information ("worked for GM before moving to Porsche and helping to design the 996"), though I found something that suggests he was keyed into the design of the Opel Calibra (which begs the question "where did he work for GM", since Wayne Cherry was in the United States and Erhard Schnell was in Germany).

    Edit: The "image cars" from GM were a bit of priority at GM Design in 1986, when Ken is supposed to have started with the company, so that feeds into (though certainly doesn't confirm) the notion that Ken may have been involved with the fourth generation Camaro from the start.
     
    Joey D likes this.
  13. Tornado

    Tornado

    Messages:
    37,437
    Certainly he was there when the C5 was designed, but I'd question his actual input on that even more than on the 1993 Camaro. The C5 was originally targeted for 1994-ish, then GM tried to cancel its development outright in 1992 when Dave Mclellan retired from GM. Chuck Jordan was still at GM then; and I'm pretty sure the C5 was designed in the same way that the C4 was anyway (meaning a couple of guys, and I'm pretty sure the C4 designer was even one of them, working with the Corvette engineers directly outside of the influence of the actual GM design department).
     
  14. TexRex

    TexRex Premium

    Messages:
    11,701
    Location:
    United States
    Most of what I've read of Ken over the years suggests that he has a tendency to be boastful.
     
  15. Eunos_Cosmo

    Eunos_Cosmo

    Messages:
    5,356
    Location:
    Iran
    Its conceivable he was based in the US while working on designs for Europe. I've often wondered how similar automotive design is to architecture in terms of the day-to-day workflow and team distribution. I'm currently working on a project here in San Francisco with design team members in SF, LA, New York City, Genoa (Italy), Munich, and Hong Kong. Needless to say, conference calls are a bitch. :lol:
     
    TexRex likes this.
  16. Joey D

    Joey D Contributing Writer

    Messages:
    40,473
    Location:
    United States
    I'm wondering if the vagueness in the sources comes from the fact that most stuff I found about Okuyama is in Japanese. Even Google Translate did a horrible job putting Okuyama's own website into anything remotely sensical.

    As for where he worked? Chances are Warren, Michigan since that's where GM does virtually everything. If not there, then in North Hollywood where it has another design studio. Past that, I'm sure there are other design studios around the globe, but those two seems to come up most when looking at GM's modern design history.
     
    TexRex likes this.
  17. TexRex

    TexRex Premium

    Messages:
    11,701
    Location:
    United States
    Oh, absolutely. He's supposed to have worked at Opel in the grander scheme (apparently being head of design there), and it's still very possible that he did that without being in Europe, let alone Germany.

    That could certainly be the case.

    ...

    Edit: I wonder if/where "the Ed Welburn of it all" figures into the Camaro's design.

    Second edit: Whoops! Wayne Cherry was at GM Design in Europe for 26 years, including the period during which the Calibra was conceived. Not that has any bearing on the capacity in which Ken worked at GM, I just wanted to fix an error.
     
    Last edited: Jan 11, 2019
  18. KinLM

    KinLM

    Messages:
    1,947
    Location:
    United States
    Am I the only one on here who thinks that the Kode0 looks like a modern version of.. the Dome Zero?
     
  19. TenEightyOne

    TenEightyOne Premium

    Messages:
    17,348
    No - I was about to post the same thing! The Dome Zero just did it a lot better. Both cars look (imo) like the sort of knock-off bodykits one sometimes sees built into Peugeot chassis at dodgy car shows.