One of the most talented and respected people in the automotive realm is being honored for his career in automotive design. Ralph Gilles, the designer behind the Dodge Viper SRT, Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger SRT and countless other vehicles will receive the 2023 EyesOn Design Lifetime Design Achievement Award. The winner of prestigious award is chosen by other award-winning designers.
A Champion in a Changing Industry
Ralph Gilles will receive the award from his mentor and retired Chrysler Corp. Head of Design Tom Gale at EyesOn Design Vision Honored ceremony on June 16, 2023. The ceremony will be held at the Conner Center, the former Dodge Viper assembly plant. Gale served as Chrysler Corp. head of design from 1985 to 2000 and helped to transform the automaker into an automotive design leader.
Gilles started at a time when vehicles began as sketches, were formed into clay models and finally built into concept vehicles. Now, much of that early work is done on computers, as vehicles move more quickly into production. Gilles is currently helping Stellantis transition into electric vehicles. He has spoken several times about how the change in powertrains changes some of the aspects of design.
Gilles Joining Some of the Automotive Greats
Previous winners include the best of the best. Well-known designers Chris Bangle, Peter Brock, Wayne Cherry, Willie G. Davidson, Walter de’Silva, Leonardo Fioravanti, Tom Gale, Giorgetto Giugiaro, Patrick LeQuement, Syd Mead, Shiro Nakamura, Stewart Reed, Peter Schreyer, Jack Telnack and Ed Welburn have all received the honor.
“Ralph is a respected leader within the automotive design community and his creativity and passion is reflected in his work. His understanding of the market, trends and car culture strategically positions him at the forefront of his profession,” said Philip C. Hessburg, MD, medical director, Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology, Department of Ophthalmology, Henry Ford Health. “At Stellantis, Ralph champions diversity and inclusion while promoting a work environment that encourages mutual respect and integrity. We’re proud to honor him with this year’s award.”
Long List of Ground Breaking Cars and Trucks
In 2022, Gilles, 52, celebrates 30 years with Stellantis and its previous companies. I first met Gilles when Dodge was creating the iconic Dodge Viper SRT. You could tell then that he had a vision for creating vehicles that were beautiful as well as functional. Since then, he has become one of the most respected designers in the industry. He is credited with overseeing the creation of the Chrysler 300, Dodge Viper SRT, Ram 1500, Jeep Grand Cherokee and concept vehicles that include the Chrysler Portal, Chrysler Airflow and Dodge Charger Daytona SRT.
EyesOn Design celebrates automotive design excellence of the past, present and future by drawing attention to the importance of design in the industry. The Detroit Institute of Ophthalmology sponsors EyesOn Design events.
Mary Conway is a professional automotive journalist and has decades of experience specializing in automotive news analysis. She covered the Detroit Three for more than twenty years for the ABC affiliate, in Detroit. Her affection for the Motor City comes naturally. Her father ran a gas station while Mary was growing up, in Wisconsin.
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