Students design 2025 Dodge Hellcat for annual contest

Michael Wayland
The Detroit News

Dodge’s 707-horsepower Hellcat models have upped the ante for what it means to be a muscle car, and now Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV hopes the vehicles do the same for an annual student design competition.

The automaker’s North American-based operations this week announced the 2016 FCA US Drive for Design contest will challenge U.S. students in grades 10-12 to think to the future and design a Dodge Hellcat SRT for the year 2025.

Four winners will be selected by a judging panel comprised of many of the company’s lead designers, including Ralph Gilles, head of FCA global design; Joe Dehner, head of Ram Truck and Mopar design; and Mark Trostle, FCA US head of Dodge and SRT design.

“The thing that I find the most satisfying if you will, one of the reasons we really wanted to do this was get exposure to high school students that normally may not understand the possibility of a career in automotive design,” said Trostle, who helped create the competition in 2013.

Prizes for students include Apple products, a three-week summer automotive design course at the College for Creative Studies, and an all-expenses-paid trip to Detroit. 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.

Entries must be mailed to the FCA US Product Design Office in Auburn Hills or submitted by Jan. 8 to FCADriveForDesign.com. Contest rules and information also are available on the website.

Joshua Blundo, winner of the 2015 design competition, said the competition has helped steer him into a career in the U.S. auto industry.

“It was life-changing,” said the 18-year-old from New Hampshire who now attends the College of Creative Studies in Detroit. “Overall, meeting Mark (Trostle) was huge for me because initially I had planned on going to another school, but he convinced me to go to CCS.”

The FCA US Product Design team created the Drive for Design contest in 2013 as a way to educate young artists about careers in automotive design. It started locally in Detroit, and has grown to become a national contest — something Trostle hopes will continue.

“To me, it’s matured nicely and it’s something special them,” he said. “The thing that I’m anxious for is to see in three or four years, how we’ve been able to effect some peoples’ lives in the automotive field.

“I would love nothing more to have a designer that I helped influence here or even at another company in the industry.”

mwayland@detroitnews.com

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