Peter Stevens (car designer)
Professor Peter Stevens’ focus is on creating visually pleasing, light, safe, fuel efficient vehicles, articulating the design process around aerodynamics and the development of innovative materials.
Having worked as a design consultant and tutor for the Royal College of Art Vehicle Design department for his early career, from his collaboration with Imperial College emerged a radical design process which prioritised aerodynamic efficiency from a project’s inception. Using this technique, Stevens’ benchmark design, the McLaren F1 road car, marked a paradigmatic shift in high performance automotive design. It was produced between 1993 and 1997 and remains an influential and acclaimed design.
Stevens developed his research into lightweight materials and aerodynamics through the 1990s and into 2012. Outputs, incorporating his research outcomes, are evidenced by a prolific personal portfolio of race-winning and mass-market vehicles, were developed in collaboration with industry and under non-disclosure agreements.
Innovative, lower cost composite panels, developed in association with Gurit, were first used in the Stevens-designed MG SV medium volume, high performance vehicle in 2002.
He spent five years as chief designer at Lotus Cars in the 1980s, where, among many other projects, he developed the Esprit revision and designed the Lotus Elan (M100). He then became Chief Designer at McLaren Cars and was responsible for the design of the McLaren F1, launched in 1993. After a spell as chief designer at Lamborghini, he returned to the UK, undertaking consultancy for Prodrive, BMW, Williams and Toyota. Alongside his automotive design consultancy, he became Visiting Professor of Vehicle Design at the Royal College of Art, London. He was appointed as design director at the MG Rover Group in 2000.
Following the demise of MG Rover in 2005, as consultant director of design for Mahindra and Mahindra in India, Stevens oversaw the introduction of the innovative M&M GIO and the sell-out M&M XUV500.
Currently, Stevens, in the guise of Peter Stevens Design LLP is a consultant designer and remains Visiting Professor of Vehicle Design at London's prestigious Royal College of Art. Professor Stevens is involved in the design and application of hybrid technology to a wide variety of vehicles for home and international markets, including a high performance electric race car, and innovative, energy efficient public transportation solutions.
Twice nominated as the UK’s Prince Philip Designer of the Year, Peter Stevens has won numerous honours for his work including 2002 Automotive Designer of the Year by AutoCar Magazine. His work includes creating road and race cars for McLaren, Lamborghini, BMW, Lotus, MG Rover and Prodrive. Professor Stevens’ designs comprise both specialist, bespoke vehicles, and others which are created for mass production. His well-known designs include the McLaren F1 road car, the 1999 Le Mans-winning BMW, the Lotus Elan, Subaru’s Impreza P1 and world rally series–winning WRC as well as Jaguar’s XJR-15.
Some of his most notable designs are;
- Jaguar XJR-15
- Lotus Elan M100
- McLaren F1
- Lotus Esprit (redesign)
- Subaru '555' WRC Imprezas
- Subaru Impreza P1 and Prodrive P2 (also based on an Impreza engine)
- MG ZR, ZS, ZT & MG TF
- MG XPower SV
- "Rivian Automotive, Economic Engine?". Florida Trend. 31 October 2011. Retrieved 31 October 2011.
- "Renowned Auto Designer Peter Stevens Joins Rivian Automotive". BusinessWire. 21 July 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
- "MG ROVER GROUP SCOOP AUTOCAR’S ANNUAL AWARDS". MG Cars. 20 November 2002. Retrieved 22 July 2011.
- "McLaren F1 Designer Signs on with Florida Startup". 22 July 2011. Retrieved 22 July 2011.