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September 20, 2019
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An English Car Designer Abroad: Designing for GM, Audi, Porsche and Mazda


An English Car Designer Abroad: Designing for GM, Audi, Porsche and Mazda

By Peter Birtwhistle
About the Author

Hardback • 25x20.7cm • 256 pages • 268 pictures

ISBN: 978-1-787114-70-8

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• An insight into the secretive world of car design
• Behind the closed doors of an Automotive Styling Studio
• Growing up in ‘50s England, dreaming of becoming a car designer
• Drawing and designing cars are his passion
• Stories from inside the car industry that have never been told before
• Humorous and very personal accounts of Peter Birtwhistle’s life and travels
• An Englishman’s experiences living in a small German town in the ‘70s
• The design development of some of the car industry’s most iconic models
• From Vauxhall via Audi and Porsche to Mazda. A fascinating journey
• A candid autobiography from an English car designer abroad


Growing up in 1950s England, Peter Birtwhistle always dreamt of being a car designer. A graduate of the Royal College of Art, his career in car design spanned over 40 years in this highly secretive occupation, and took him to work on classic models in Germany. He is now ready to tell his own very personal story.


The humorous and personal account of a life spent working on the design of some of the world’s best known cars. Commencing his career as a designer at Vauxhall Motors, Luton in 1973, Peter Birtwhistle then left the UK in 1977 to take a position abroad, at Audi in Germany, where he lived for the rest of his working life.
From Audi his career took him to Porsche in Stuttgart, and eventually, in 1988, to the Japanese company Mazda, with whom he would help develop a Design Centre close to Frankfurt, eventually becoming Chief Designer for Mazda Motor Europe. During his career, Birtwhistle was involved in the design of some very significant cars and in his work and travels, crossed the paths of many significant personalities from the car industry.
Car design has changed enormously since the time he commenced his career, and for Birtwhistle it was clear, his story needed to be documented before it was lost in time. Featuring original photographs and illustrations from the author’s own collection, this highly humorous and very personal story creates a fascinating collage of anecdotes and historical facts, not only from the secretive world of car design, but also his private life.

Additional Information

Period Covered: 1951-2019
Models Covered:
Vauxhall Chevette HS2300 January 1978 – 1979
Audi 100 C3 1982- 1991
Audi Quattro 1980-1991
Audi Sport Quattro 1984
Audi 80 B3 and 80 Coupe 1986 – 1992
Porsche 959/961 1986- 1988
Porsche 984 Prototype
Mazda 323F 1994-1998
Mazda6 2002-2008
Mazda3 2003-2009
Mazda MX5 NC 2005-2015
Mazda MX5 ND 2015 -
Mazda Sassou Concept 2005
Mazda Hakake Concept 2007
Mazda Kiyora Concept 2008
A fascinating insight into the world of car design around the world.
A unique and personal story, with original stories and anecdotes about the world of automotive design.
A wealth of personal images, photos and illustrations, from the author’s own archive, published for the first time


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