Roy Axe

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Roy Axe
Born Royden Axe
September 1937
Died 5 October 2010(2010-10-05) (aged 73)
Nationality British
Occupation Car designer
Known for Chrysler Alpine
Rover 800
Spouse(s) Pat
Children Son Chris and daughter Jane

Royden Axe (September 1937, Scunthorpe[1] – 5 October 2010, Florida) was a British car designer.


Axe started his career in 1959 with the Rootes Group where he progressed first to "Chief stylist" and then to "Design director". Rootes became part of Chrysler Europe in 1966. Axe led the styling efforts on almost all of the Chrysler/Rootes/Simca products of the early 1970s; notable models included the Simca 1308/Chrysler Alpine and Chrysler Horizon which won European Car of the Year in 1976 and 1978, respectively. Following Chrysler Europe's collapse in 1977, Axe moved to Detroit to head up Chrysler's styling studios in the United States.

In 1982 Axe returned to the United Kingdom, joining British Leyland (BL) where he took over as styling director from David Bache (who had been fired from BL owing to disagreements with then company boss Harold Musgrove over the still under development Austin Maestro), and was responsible for the building of a new styling studio at their Canley, Coventry plant; the former opened in 1982. He also recruited a new team. Early projects from the new studio included Project XX (the Rover 800) and the MG EX-E concept car.

Axe went on in 1991 to become head of the Warwick-based vehicle design consultancy Design Research Associates (DRA), which resulted from a management buyout of Rover's design studio in 1986. DRA was acquired by Arup in 1999.[2]

Personal life[edit]

Axe was born in Scunthorpe and attended Scunthorpe Grammar School (now St Lawrence Academy).[3]

After selling DRA to Arup in 1999 Axe moved to Florida. He died on 5 October 2010 after battling cancer for two years.[4][5]

Examples of Axe's car designs[edit]

Axe was also involved in the design of the 1984 Austin Montego. The design had been initiated prior to his joining BL, but he was able to make last-minute changes to it shortly before it entered production. Cosmetic changes – which aimed to improve the by-then dated design – included black trim along the car's waist line. Due to BL's financial problems, the release of the Montego, and the related David Bache-designed Austin Maestro hatchback had been delayed by several years.



  1. ^
  2. ^ "Driving progress with computer aided engineering". Arup. Archived from the original on 15 May 2006. Retrieved 2006-06-14. 
  3. ^ "World famous car designer Roy Axe loses his battle against cancer". Scunthorpe Telegraph. 14 October 2010. Retrieved 2 June 2013. 
  4. ^ Steve Cropley (5 October 2010). "Royden Axe: 1937-2010". Autocar. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  5. ^ Adams, Keith (5 October 2010). "Roy Axe : 1937-2010". ARonline live. Retrieved 2010-10-08. 
  6. ^ Cropley, Steve (5 October 2010). "Royden Axe: 1937-2010". Autocar. Retrieved 2 June 2013.