Ever wondered what it takes to create those concept cars that wow the motoring public at international car shows?
Wonder no more. Kia Motors has lifted the veil of secrecy by letting cameras behind the scenes to view how it turned a few fanciful sketches into its latest creation, the Kia Track'ster, which was shown off at the recent Chicago Auto Show.
The Kia Motors Design Studio in California agreed to let US motoring magazine Motor Trend film the 9-month process for its new internet venture, the Motor Trend Channel, shown on YouTube.
The Track'ster, which is based on the Kia Soul, garnered rave reviews at the Chicago event and hinted at the future direction Kia designers might take with the stylish crossover.
In a segment on Motor Trend Channel called The Downshift, which looks behind the scenes of the industry, the process of creating the Track'ster takes viewers back nine months before the Chicago unveiling. It starts at the Kia Motors design headquarters at Irvine, where all team members present ideas for future concept cars in the form of a colourful movie-style poster. The Track'ster stood out as the best idea, with its designers saying it was inspired by motor racing and, interestingly, details taken from snow ski boots and goggles!
From there, detailed sketches of the proposed concept car were finalised and then a 1/4 scale model created to give designers their first view of how their creation would appear in 3-D. The surface data of that model was scanned into a 5-axis milling machine that created a full-sized clay model of the Track'ster laid over a steel skeleton, which the designers could then hone by hand. The model was then scanned to computer and the details sent to specialist vehicle shop Aria Group to turn into the real thing, using an actual Soul, stripped back, as the base of the concept.
Individual components, such as the racing-style dashboard and the tool boxes and spare wheel well built into the rear of the car, were fabricated and laid out for the design team to inspect, before being fitted to the modified frame of the Soul.
Then it was painted, assembled and upholstered, and transported back to Irvine for the final sign-off and delivery to the auto show, where the stunning 3-door, 250-horsepower hatchback gained everyone else's approval.
Todd McDonald, General Manager of Kia Motors New Zealand, says the four-and-a-half minute video reveals a fascinating insight into the design process at Kia Motors and highlights the continuing evolution of the Kia brand.
"Kia, as a brand, has become synonymous with leading design and that really comes across in this footage, whilst demonstrating the meticulous process in creating a concept car," he adds.
The footage, entitled 'How To Build A Concept Car' can be viewed at YouTube, by entering Motor Trend and The Downshift Episode 3 in the search box.