Ford Loses Another Designer as Larry Erickson Heads College Design DepartmentBy Michelle Krebs August 12, 2008
Well-known auto designer Larry Erickson has left Ford as chief designer of the automaker's advanced vehicle development to chair the transportation design department at Detroit's College for Creative Studies.
Erickson has been named the Paul and Helen Farago Chair of Transportation Design at CCS, considered one of the world's best automotive and transportation design schools. Erickson also will oversee the school's Master of Fine Arts in Transportation Design program when it launches in the fall of 2009.
Erickson most recently served as chief designer in Ford's Strategic Design Group, but is well-known for his hot rod designs, including ones done with the late Boyd Coddington.
Prior to being chief designer in Ford's Strategic Design Group, Erickson was chief designer on the 2005 Mustang and chief designer in Ford's Small and Medium Car Vehicle Center (SVC) Design Studio in Dunton, England.
Erickson is best known to enthusiasts for his design and construction of custom cars and hot rods. Working with the late Boyd Coddington, Erickson designed Billy Gibbon's Cadzzilla, Hogzzillas and Aluma Coupe. He has also worked with Chip Foose and Craig Naff. Erickson is an inductee in the National Rod and Custom Car Hall of Fame and the Grand National Roadster Show Hall of Fame. He serves on the Specialty Equipment Market Association Board of Directors.
An established instructor who has taught at CCS in the past, Erickson earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Design from Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif., CCS' archrival. He began his design career at General Motors Design in 1983 in its Advanced Aero Studio in Detroit. He returned to California working for Bartlett Design on bus exterior and interior design and Tracy Design working on motorcycle and motorcycle accessory design until 1985 when he returned to GM. He was a senior exterior designer and exterior and interior design manager in the Cadillac studio working on the Seville/STS/Eldorado programs and as vehicle chief designer in the Chevrolet studio working on the Malibu and Cavalier programs.
At CCS, Erickson's Transportation Design faculty also includes designer Mark West, a former senior design manager at Visteon Corp., and Kunihisa Ito, former Ford and Nissan designer, who is highly regarded in Japan and a regular columnist for CarStyling magazine.
Erickson is the second high-profile designer to depart Ford in recent weeks. Richard Gresens, chief designer of the innovative Ford Flex, reportedly was pushed out as part of Ford's downsizing.
At Ford affiliate Mazda, celebrity designer Franz von Holzhausen, credited with the Pontiac Solstice design, left Mazda to start an in-house design organization for electric-car upstart Tesla Motors.
1 - Larry Erickson
2 - Larry Erickson's Aluma Coupe