Detroiter wins truTV design title

Mekeisha Madden Toby
Special to The Detroit News

It’s official. Detroiter Camilo Pardo is the Motor City Master.

The artist and former chief designer at Ford Motor Co. defeated competitor Bryan Thompson for the top prize on truTV’s “Motor City Masters,” nabbing the $100,000 grand prize, a brand new Camaro Z28 and the opportunity to represent Chevrolet. Judges chose Pardo because they admired his concept Camaro’s strong front and back ends, they said on Tuesday night’s finale.

Journalist Jean Jennings of — and formerly Automobile Magazine — and German automotive designer Harald Belker acted as judges and mentors. Edward Welburn, General Motors Co.’s vice president of global design, weighed in as a judge in the final installment and helped pick the winner. Actress Brooke Burns (“Baywatch”) hosted.

While some might say reality shows are scripted, Pardo, 51, looked genuinely stunned when he was declared the winner. “When they said my name, it was shocking,” he said. “It was like a bullet. Just kind of takes you out.”

Pardo was competing against Thompson, a Phoenix native and former College for Creative Studies student who has designed and built music video props for pop singer Katy Perry. The show was shot in and around Los Angeles, but the season finale was shot in Detroit.

Now Pardo, who taught classes at Detroit’s renowned College for Creative Studies and owns an art gallery not too far from Comerica Park, is looking forward to what the future holds.

“It’s been quite a ride,” says Pardo, who started out as one of 10 competitors on the show. “Winning ‘Motor City Masters’ means that I’m going to get my cars running and take my career to the next level.”

Mekeisha Madden Toby is a Los Angeles-based TV critic.