Geza Loczi graduated from the Art Center College of Design in 1965. Then on to General Motors Design Staff where for the next 15 years Geza worked on many of the most revered cars of the period—Firebird, Trans AM, Grand Am, GTO, Judge, and the 442. (My first studio was Advanced Chevrolet in 1973; Ron Hill was the Chief Designer and Geza was his assistant. Some of Geza’s sketches have been previously posted on Dean’s Garage).
1959 First Model—Blue Car
“My first model consisted of carving it out of one solid piece of surgar pine wood. What in the world was I thinking? Did you see those fins? The model has been broken and damaged over the years, but the essence of the design is still there.”
Geza left GM for Volkswagen of America as the Design Manager. A memorable VW design credited to Geza was the Corrado. Then on to Volvo Car Corporation in Sweden and California, where he joined Charles Pelly in his Designworks/USA Studio as a consultant to Jan Willsgaard, head of Volvo Design in Sweden.
1960 Second Model—Green Car
“I was happy with the sportiness of my second model but I wanted to try something more adventurous with the painted surface. Just where did that HAMMER FINISH PAINT job come from? Obviously, hammer finishes would not become a trend for future cars.”
Geza joined the Volvo Monitoring and Concept Center (VMCC) when it was formed in 1986 as Chief Designer. Geza was named Director of Design in 1997, and in 2004 as Chairman of Design for Volvo of Sweden until his official retirement in 2010. But Geza continues his consulting with Volvo of Sweden as Principal of Geza Loczi Design. He’s still at it.
1961 Third Model—Red Car
“Aerodynamic and engines in the rear or MID ENGINE DESIGN played a big part in my third model. It allowed me to look at proportion differently utilizing a center driver position, cab forward design (a term not invented at that time) and the engine behind the driver and passenger.”
But where did all of this really begin? With Geza’s persistence in the Fisher Body Craftsman’s Guild. Through the seven entries in the Guild, Geza learned not to give up, and to research solutions to problems. He became a judge of good proportion and not to be satisfied with mediocre results. Planning a year’s worth of work meant breaking the project down into smaller tasks—setting milestones along the way prevented being overwhelmed by such a daunting project. This way Geza could enjoy the process and look forward to working on his models—pretty exciting stuff creating emotional statements that hadn’t existed before.
1962 Fourth Model—Gold Car
“For my fourth car I was determined to put as many designs as possible on the same car. Needless to say, even though the proportions of my model were good, the business and complicated design, in my opinion, was overwhelming. Luckily, I got it out of my system and was able to move forward onto my next design.”
1963 Fifth Model—Asymmetrical Car
“With a single seat and canopy for the driver, and a tonneau cover for the occasional passenger, it made perfect sense to design an ASYMMETRICAL car for my fifth model. This design combines simplicity with sculptural forms. One of my personal cars has a tonneau cover over the passenger seat, and it does provide a unique driving experience.”
1964 Sixth Model—Diamond Tread Pattern
“With a diamond tread pattern, a center driving position, the architecture of the car led to an exciting and dramatic design for my sixth model. With architecture and proportion being about 80 percent of the design, the rest was just frosting on the cake. When not needed, the side wheels would fold up, and the car performed similar to a motor cycle.”
1965 Seventh Model—Yellow Car
“Twisting and warping surfaces, with a unique tread pattern and architecture and yet simple in design, led my seventh model to achieve a timelessness in its design. Believe me, during that time frame, unique surfacing, like this car had, was not the trend. LUCKY NUMBER SEVEN was the culmination of all seven models that I had built, and all that I had learned while designing and building them.”
Photos and captions courtesy of Geza Lozi. Thanks very much, Geza.