An English Car Designer Abroad

An English Car Designer Abroad charts the path of Peter Birtwhistle, who recently retired from his role as Mazda Motor Europe’s Chief Designer. It is a humorous and personal account of a life spent working on the design of some of the world’s best-known cars, from GM to Audi, Porsche and Mazda. His story takes the reader through a number of projects as well as the life within these multinational car companies.


Commencing his career as a designer in 1973 at Vauxhall Motors in Luton, UK, Peter Birtwhistle moved to Germany in 1977 to take a position at Audi. He lived in Germany for the rest of his working life. From Audi his career took him to Porsche in Stuttgart, and eventually, in 1988, to the Japanese company Mazda, with whom he would help develop a Design Centre close to Frankfurt, eventually becoming Chief Designer for Mazda Motor Europe.

During his career, Birtwhistle was involved in the design of some very significant cars and in his work and travels and crossed the paths of many significant personalities from the car industry. Car design has changed enormously since the time he commenced his career, and for Birtwhistle it was clear, his story needed to be documented before it was lost in time.

Featuring original photographs and illustrations from the author’s own collection, this highly humorous and very personal story creates a fascinating collage of anecdotes and historical facts, not only from the secretive world of car design but also from his private life.

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