BODY DESIGN COMPETITION.
( Choosing the winner. )
(c) Tony Foale 1986 - 1997
The weeks to the close of the competition passed slowly, I was impatient to study the entries and finally see what the next motorcycle would look like, that I had to build. Having committed ourselves to using a reader designed bodywork was a bit of a risk, what if we didn't like any of the entries, or worse still what if there were NO entries? With less than a week to go the editor rang to say that very few entries had been received and those were none too impressive.
Graphics: Various Short list The winner Finished machines
In the event our fears were unwarrented, Postman Pat came up trumps on the last two days with a few stragglers coming in a bit late. On the appointed evening, TM. struggled down-laden with a hugh box of drawings, nearly one hundred entries in all, and many of those contained multiple designs. The proposed styles were diverse as was the standard of drawing and presentation. Some were no more than rough pencil sketches on scraps of paper, beer stained of course, whereas others represented weeks of work and were presented in a most professional manner. Some of you obviously had chips on your shoulders, regarding the possibility of competing with design students. But the competition was open to all, we just wanted the best design from which-ever source it came. The standard of drawing, colouring in, or presentation was not really relevant, we were just after the idea that captured our imagination.
Despite stating that the proposed machine was to be a sports orientated flash bike with a cafe-racer image, there were many of you that choose to ignore that and bombarded us with designs of your ideal machine often far from the required concept. Several feetforward ideas were presented, but regardless of their relative merits, and I am open minded on that subject, they did not fall within the design brief. It was no good saying, as some did, that they did not believe in sports machines, the fact is that WE DO! I built the QL. as a practical machine with luggage space and some weather protection, there is no point in making the Q2. along similar lines. Variety is the spice of life. Amongst those on the right lines there were some that we hated and some that we loved. But even most of those that were not to our liking contained a variety of interesting ideas and provided much food for thought.
The judging process struck me as being particularly cruel, the work of hours, days or even weeks often being dismissed in minutes or even seconds, however those thoughts did not prevent us from fairly quickly selecting a short list of three. Before looking at these, there are some others which for various reasons deserve a special mention. M.C.Bennatto drew his entry one handed from a hospital bed, and deserves a clap. Steven Higham is aiming for the future, his effort is note-worthy because he is only eight years old, other youthful entries came from Steven McCartney and M. Brookfield both aged fourteen. Keep up the good work lads. C.M. Turner and Austin Dyer both went to the trouble of sending in models of their ideas, and Steve Munday included many photos of his clay model. Disappointingly there were only two entries from the ladies, Helen Purdy put a lot of effort into her design and the presentation was superb. 'Ann Entrant' must have forgotten to include 'her' address so that put her out of the reckoning, but the entry will be returned to Andy Ward, so perhaps he can pass it on. Many novel design or graphics features were shown, Paul Roche, for example, invented a new erotic riding position, guaranteed to cause immediate arrest each time a passenger was carried. J. Hepburn sent in some interesting paint schemes including one showing a shark's mouth about to devour the engine. Others worthy of mention because of the quality of their illustrations or presentation are ;-- Philip Cook, Kelvin Norton, Gregor Anderson, Nick Woodman, G. Stanton, K. McCardle, K. Breeden entered some well balanced designs including an interesting flip-up screen. Andrew Cook did a good cockpit drawing and Hugh Lodge had a nice instrument layout. Chris Milburn is studying automotive design at the Royal College of Art and sent in a most professional entry, brief but to the point, unfortunately the design was a bit too all enclosing for this project. Various interesting features came from the following ;-James Hobbis-Mutton showed some mechanical ideas, as did Roger Bradbury, with a particularly clever quickly detachable footrest. Peter Henry had a good clean design, well drawn and featuring a nice fuel cap detail. Richard Hayes and Paul Savage both showed some interesting aerodynamic shapes, as also did Ivan Harbour with his "variations on a theme", I particularly liked some of his three quarter front views. Roger Hick had an unusual suggestion for a reversible seat hump. In his excellent offering Ian Inglis had many alternative ideas for the rear end. Peter Thomson gets a special mention for his Quantum LE -reminisent of the styling on the old noddy bikes, or in other words the Velocette LE, TM. was quite worried over my enthusiasm for this design --- it would be the ultimate 'Q' bike.
A big thank you to all those who entered and those who sent in pics. of earlier projects, notably Martin Riley for his photos of a rotary Norton mock-up, quite the best styling exercise that I have seen for the Wankle. Thanks are also due to Paul Lynch and others for their information on LCD displays.
Both TM. and I know little about styling principles but we know what we like, and fortunately the two of us were on the same wavelength with regard to this competition. It was relatively easy to arrive at three contendors but coming up with the winner from those was considerably harder. The final three were by ;- 1). David Brisbourne. 2). Robert Blackman. and 3). Daniel Parry-Williams. Both David and Bob are studying transport design at the Coventry Lanchester Polytechnic.
David obviously put in a lot of work on his entry and showed many views and construction details of his preferred design but also included many drawings of alternative ideas, although there was a similar theme running through them all. One feature that was particularly favoured was a clever idea for handle-bar mirrors which doubled up as protection for the hands. In profile some designs, bore a resemblance to the Suzuki Falcorustyco, but I thought that the frontal aspect was superior to the oriental version. Aspects of David's design that we were less keen on, were the vertical joint line for the two halves, the viewing angle through the screen for the instruments, and compared with the other two finalists there were some fussy details. The main drawings gave a heavier look to the bike than those of Bob or Dan, but of the three I suspect that most people would prefer this design to the others.
The most striking feature of Bob's effort was the diversity of his ideas. Most multiple entries had a common theme but Bob showed a wide range of very radical shapes, because of this range there were some that we liked and some that we didn't. To have picked a favourite was just like judging a mini competition in itself. These designs were very simple and the pattern making would not be too difficult, because many of the shapes had predominately flatish surfaces. The bodywork was quite unusual and hence would probably be less well liked than David's, most people tend to prefer the familiar, but that was not what this competition was about and we were very impressed.
Unlike the other two, Dan only entered one design, or perhaps I should say one and a half, because he offered an optional fill-in panel that totally changed the visual character of the machine. The overall appearance is quite radical, though not as extreme as Bob's. We liked the clean uncluttered lines, with the minimum of gimmicky detail, the basic shape says it all. Most of the entries that we preferred left the engine visible, but although many of the fully enclosed designs were attractive they somehow didn't seem right for this particular project. Dan's fill panel quite simply allows either style to be used, depending on personal preference or time of year.
The appreciation of style is a very personal thing and often defies the application of logic, and so which-ever entry was chosen is bound to cause disagreement. Not the least amongst all those not chosen. After much deliberation we choose Dan's, quite simply because it was the one that appealed to us most at first sight. This judgement seemed vindicated by an impromptu survey among customers and potential customers for the production Q2. Although Bob Blackman did not lag far behind. The idea was only to find the winner, but if it was necessary to separate the others then it would be Bob for second place for his originality, but only narrowly ahead of David whose sense of proportion and quality of illustration was first class. If this competition was for a larger manufacturer, then I suspect that David's design would have been the most favoured.
That's it then, the next stage starts now, ie. making the darn thing. Progress pics. will be featured as and when. Thank you again to all the entrants, it was great fun.