Achim Anscheidt has been design director at Bugatti since 2004. He values simplicity and minimalism — traits obvious in his reductionist Porsche 911. But his background is even more fascinating. Before studying at both Pforzheim University and ArtCenter College of Design, Anscheidt was the German equivalent of Evel Knievel. The video above speaks for itself, even if you don’t understand German.
Anscheidt is the son of motorcycle champion Hans-Georg Anscheidt, a German Grand Prix motorcycle road racing World Champion who won three consecutive FIM 50cc world championships from 1966 to 1968 as a member of the Suzuki factory racing team. Achim followed in his father’s footsteps. He started entering trials at the age of 12 and ended up winning a German junior championship title. Later, his passion led him to study mechanical engineering. But when the time came to decide between competing in timed trials or acrobatics, he chose the latter.
“At first, my father was not exactly thrilled with the idea of sacrificing studies in mechanical engineering to what was essentially a circus life, but he came around once he saw the enthusiastic response to these feats,” he recalls.
Anscheidt traded his 250cc trial bike for larger motorcycles and went on to display his acrobatic prowess at major events, traveling throughout Europe in the process. But he knew it wasn’t a career he could progress into old age. In that time he’d also discovered a passion for design and freehand drawing and began studying automotive design at Pforzheim University.
In his fifth semester, Anscheidt met Harm Lagaaij, who was the head of the Porsche design department at the time. “He encouraged my endeavors and made it possible for me to get a scholarship to the ArtCenter College of Design in Pasadena,” he says. “Afterwards, I was able to start working as a designer at the Style Center in Weissach in 1994. I learned from the great designers of the time — an incredible experience, for which I will always be grateful to Harm.”
Since then his career has taken him to Spain — where he worked at Volkswagen’s now-defunct design studio in Sitges — and the Volkswagen Advanced Design Center near Berlin (now called the Volkswagen Future Center). Besides his stripped out Porsche 911, Anscheidt is currently restoring a Bugatti Type 35 from the 1920s. He still resides near the German capital.