The man responsible for much of the Bentley Continental GT's success is Raul Pires. The 37-year-old Brazilian-Italian designed the hot-selling coupe's distinct exterior. Pires also provided the outside styling for the Continental GT's four-door and convertible derivatives.
"He completely changed the way people view a Bentley's exterior," a company insider says. The source believes that Pires someday could hold the top design job at an automaker. For now, Pires's biggest challenge is to design the Bentley Arnage's new exterior. Expect him to give the brand's flagship ultraluxury sedan, which is due as early as 2008, a sportier look so that is stands out compared with rival models from Maybach and Rolls-Royce.
Name: Raul Pires.
Title: Bentley exterior design director.
Nationality: Brazilian and Italian.
Education: Degree in industrial design from Mackenzie University in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
What do you drive? Audi A6.
What was your first job in the auto industry?
Junior designer at VW in Brazil.
What advice would you give someone who wants to become a car designer?
What misconception do people have about your job?
People outside the car industry think that the life of a car designer is glamorous. It isn't.
What didn't they teach you about your job in design school?
That the work really would be my best school.
Finish this sentence: When it comes to car design, pedestrian safety rule are:
Particularly tough when it comes to designing small cars.