NSU Ro80 designer dies

"Claus Luthe, a towering, but tragic, figure in the history of car design, died in Munich last month. His first job was at Fiat where he worked on the Cinquecento. Then he moved to the German firm NSU to work on the Ro80, launched in 1967. The most radical car ever made, its astonishing appearance, a perfect compliment to its astonishing technology, was Luthe's responsibility. He invested his creative effort in a dramatic wedge shape, made possible by the compact rotary engine. His aim was 'sleekness and elegance'. Its sculpted form looks and is aerodynamic, but this was entirely intuitive: the Ro80 was only tested after the shape had been decided. In 1990 Luthe, by now head of design at BMW, was jailed for two years for murdering his drug-addict son. BMW gave him back his job, but could not repair his reputation. - The Guardian"

I've always wanted to own an Ro80. Although the car was designed with pen and paper Luthe was an early exponent of the computer assisited design tools that are standard now and which seem to homogenise auto design. Ironic.


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