ATTENTION HIGH SCHOOL ARTISTS: The 2016 Drive For Design Contest is OPEN

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The Drive For Design contest is back for 2016, and it’s challenging sophomores, juniors and seniors to come up with a design for the 2025 Dodge Charger or Challenger SRT Hellcat.

SRT dodge mark trostle

We talked with Mark Trostle yesterday about how the contest has evolved for 2016, and what he expects to see from the entries this year:

“We picked the theme of ‘Hellcat 2025’ because we wanted to find people that were in tune with cars,” Trostle told us from his office in Michigan.”We didn’t want to get too far out, with flying cars or fully autonomous cars.”

2015 Dodge Challenger SRT with the HEMI® Hellcat engine

2025 might seem far off, but automotive designers and engineers are working on designs and technologies right now that will appear in that time frame. That date — coincidentally or not — is the deadline for automakers to reach 54.5 miles per gallon fleet fuel economy, so it’s something that students should have in mind as they design their cars for the contest.

The Hellcat models are modern cars, but are significantly influenced by the cars of the past, Trostle told us. “They’re a throwback to the 1960s,” he says. “They’re icons for Dodge. They’re modern nostalgia, but I’m really interested in what a 17 year old thinks,” rather than someone who was steeped in the cars of the 1960s.

Design Contest - Blundo_FirstPlace

Last year, the contest grew to include high school students from around the country, and the response was significantly higher. “It’s getting more and more exposure,” Trostle said. “It’s gratifying to see the passion for cars and the artistic talent that delivered those entries.”

For 2015, Joshua Blundo, a high school senior from Moultonborough, New Hampshire, won the contest, and he’s currently enrolled at the College for Creative Studies. “I want to hire him,” said Trostle, who sees the contest as a kind of farm team for aspiring automotive designers.

If you, your students or your kids are interested in what it takes to win a contest like this, Trostle spent some time with us and gave his advice to students readying their entries.

The contest is open to high school students in 10th, 11th and 12th grade. The contest entry deadline is January 8, 2016, via FCADriveForDesign.com. Students may also mail their entry to the FCA US Product Design Office in Auburn Hills, Michigan.

This year, the judging panel features lead designers from the FCA US Product Design Office, including Ralph Gilles – Head of Design for FCA Global, Joe Dehner – Head of Ram Truck and Mopar Design, and Mark Trostle.

There are real prizes on the line for the four winners of the contest.

Four winners will receive the following prizes:

First place:

  • Apple MacBook Pro
  • Three-week summer automotive design course at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit (includes housing, meals and field trips)
  • Three passes to the Detroit Autorama at Cobo Center in Detroit
  • Three-day/two-night stay in Auburn Hills, Michigan (includes flights, hotel and rental car)
  • Dinner with FCA US Design team members

Second, third and fourth places:

  • Apple iPad Pro with Apple Pencil
  • Three-week summer automotive design course at the College for Creative Studies (CCS) in Detroit (includes housing, meals and field trips)
  • Three passes to the Detroit Autorama at Cobo Center in Detroit
  • Three-day/two-night stay in Auburn Hills, Michigan (includes flights, hotel and rental car)
  • Dinner with FCA US Design team members

Winners will receive their awards at a special presentation on Feb. 26 at Cobo Center in Detroit to help kick off the 64th annual Meguiar’s Detroit Autorama. Known as America’s greatest hot rod show, the Detroit Autorama takes place Feb. 26-28 and features nearly 1,000 exhibits of the most amazing hot rods, custom cars, trucks, vans and motorcycles from across North America.

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Craig Fitzgerald

Craig Fitzgerald

Writer, editor, lousy guitar player, dad. Content Marketing and Publication Manager at BestRide.com.