• Mar 2, 2011
Chris Bangle and Jason Castriota discuss Saab PhoeniX – Click above to watch video after the jump

In the left corner, from Wausau, Wisconsin, we have Christopher "Flames are Surfacing" Bangle. In the right, from the mean streets of Greenwich, Connecticut, stands Jason "Let Me Out of My Birdcage" Castriota. Alright, gentleman... we know you are both highly accomplished automotive designers, but we want to keep this thing clean. Gloves up, and come out swinging!

The controversial former BMW head and new Saab stylist were caught chatting about the Swedish automaker's new PhoeniX Concept on the Geneva Motor Show floor by CarDesignNews. Known for being an instigator, Bangle questions Castriota about what makes the swoopy coupe a Saab. The ensuing "conversation" is filled with awkward fake-smiles and restraint. Click past the jump to see the footage along with a separate video walkaround of the concept by Castriota himself.



Photos copyright ©2011 Steven J. Ewing / AOL

[Sources: CarDesignNews via Jalopnik, Saabs United]

Jason Castriota and Chris Bangle discuss the Saab PhoeniX Concept



Jason Castriota provides a walk-around of Saab PhoeniX Concept


I'm reporting this comment as:

Reported comments and users are reviewed by Autoblog staff 24 hours a day, seven days a week to determine whether they violate Community Guideline. Accounts are penalized for Community Guidelines violations and serious or repeated violations can lead to account termination.


    • 1 Second Ago
  • 57 Comments
      • 3 Years Ago
      I think Bangle copied some Hyundai designs.
      • 3 Years Ago
      You have to go through the whole video to understand what Bangle is actually doing. He's pushing the young designer to skip the post-rationalization of specific elements, and plainly state the attempt to return Saab design back to the original UrSaab.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I agree, and respect both of these guys an awful lot. Bangle has found a way as a designer to have his designs (controversial ones even) actually end up in a finished product and not be watered down by focus groups and bean counters into something bland and not anything like what he had originally visioned. Like him or not, BMW's got interesting to look at under his tenure.

        I see Castriota potentially having that same kind of talent.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The problem is that, this is far more Castriota than urSaab.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I guess it is semantics but I do not think he 'hassled' the guy.

      He asked a simple question and got bloviation and tech. When he reemphasized the question, he got a good answer.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Bangle was a teacher of at Art Center when Jason was a student. Even though Ken Okuyama was the one that took him under his wing. This is more of a teacher/student relationship rather than a designer vs designer kind of thing.
        • 3 Years Ago
        The reason Castriota can't give a good answer is because this car is a Castriota, not a Saab, much less an urSaab.

        Does the Phoenix have urSaab-like split rear glass or windshield? How about aero spats at all corners? Or even the prominent rear side glazing? Is it an upright teardrop? Nose bulge to the very front like a PT Cruiser? Character line from the nose badge along the hood to the base of the A-pillar? Suicide doors? No. *None* of the urSaab elements are there.

        Now, compare with his Maserati Birdcage 75th. Full glass teardrop. Wedge shape. Inset undercut from the front wheel to the rear. Open wheels all around. Blackout leading into windshield and out of tail glass. Thin LED headlights. Square grille with tiny OEM logo flanked by cheek intakes. Full-circle character line.

        It's a Castriota with a Saab badge in the grille, and a pair of decorative wings slapped on for grins.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chris Bangle is such a d o u c h e b a g
        leftfootbraker
        • 3 Years Ago
        With a capital "D"

        Pompous arrogant flame-surfaced a s s wipe would be another way to describe that p r i c k. The only reason his ugly designs sold was because of the roundel on the hood and no other reason. Go design for the Koreans and see if the public still likes your c r a p.
        • 3 Years Ago
        Fail, Gruv -
        The car most certainly DOES have a Kamm-tail, similar to that of the Ford GT-40 and Corvette Stingray.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kammback

        • 3 Years Ago
        Kammback...like the Saab Sonnet...yep.

        How about the common modern Saab hood and grille lines? How about the new turbine wheels, emphasizing the jet heritage...also, this is a show car.

        Chris Bangle got away with murder, and yuppies bought those miserable looking 7's in droves...because they didn't have to look at the back of the Bangle Butt abominations...notice it's gone now.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I like Jason a lot... but I have to say I lost some respect for him. He started talking about aerodynamics and used some words and theories that were true, but it was half assed, like he didn't really know what he was talking about. First off, he says "it has a cd of .25 which is very good for a car of this size". Okay, the total drag of a car is the .cd X frontal area, so cd basically has nothing whatsoever to do with size. Secondly, he's talking about a kammback, but the concept really isn't. Again, I like the guys style, and his work, but he came across as an idiot in that second video. "This vent releases turbulent air to the back of the car, which keeps the weight in back".

        WTF?
      • 3 Years Ago
      Dramatic, exotic-looking show cars are all "ooo" and "ahhh", but lets see more SAAB production realities. They need a wider spread of real offerings.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Yeah distinctively got the sense that Chris was playing the wise old teacher/master to the hot shot newbie.
      • 3 Years Ago
      This car is the most amateurish concept of the lot at Geneva. Underwhelming and frivolous at best. The wings connecting the pillars are the worst thing about it. They tie into nothing and look stuck on as an after thought.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Chris sounds rather bitter... Sure the Bangle Butt is a masterpiece, but this is not bad, not bad at all.
        • 3 Years Ago
        I dunno, he sounded pretty fair and rational.
        It is perfectly appropriate to ask a Saab designer, "what makes it a SAAB?"
        • 3 Years Ago
        The Bangle Butt a masterpiece? Yuck.
      • 3 Years Ago
      A Spyker Peking to Paris hooked up with a 1988 Pontiac Fiero and out came this.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I have to say I agree with Bangle, what is "Saab" about this car? They had such a clear design language with the aero X, compare that to this thing and the phoenix looks like a fat uninspired blob. Its a step backwards, and a case of the designer indulging himself. Bangle is really from Wausau, how interesting.
      • 3 Years Ago
      As a graphic designer I don't appreciate how Chris Bangle tried to bait Castriota in front of the camera. Bangle was clearly trying to goad Jason and in the end Chris looked like the ass.

      The language of design can be so pompous, meaningless and overblown. Both can take a lesson in humility.
      • 3 Years Ago
      Just two giants sharing a conversation. Nothing wrong in asking the tough questions, if anything it makes Castriota better in the long rung. Beautiful car.
    • Load More Comments