Royal Automobile Club announces winner of Best of British design award

Royal Automobile Club announces winner of Best of British design award

The Royal Automobile Club’s Best of British design award, open to the first year students of the Royal College of Art, was won by James Russell Owen.


The contest asked participating students to design an eco-friendly version of a famous car, that might participate in a Brighton to London return run of 2025.

Wolseley Voyager Concept by James Russell Owen

Students were encouraged to develop their own concepts for a high quality exterior design, drawing from the history of car design, while also identifying potential new design methodologies.

Wolseley Voyager Concept by James Russell Owen

The winning concept by James Russell Owen was named ‘Wolseley Voyager’, and took inspiration from the 1899 Wolseley Voiturette.

1899 Wolseley 3-1/2hp. Voiturette

Above: the 1899 Wolseley Voiturette (source: Flickr)

The winner was chosen by a specially convened panel of Royal Automobile Club and RCA judges. In the judges’ opinions, it demonstrated the best combination of visual appeal, design quality, innovation and presentation.

Commendations were also awarded to three other designs that showed impressive qualities from students Charlie Purvis, Ari Nikulin and Sangmin Lee.

Winners were drawn from the three contrasting ‘pathways’ of the Vehicle Design course: Automark, Urban Flow and Inside Out.

The winning designs will now be displayed in the Hanging Gallery at the Royal Automobile Club’s Pall Mall clubhouse throughout the duration of London Motor Week.

James Russell Owen wins Royal Automobile Club's Best of British design award

The award was made at a ceremony at the Pall Mall clubhouse on Monday evening. The prize was presented by Michael Quinn, whose grandfather Sir William Lyons had a legendarily intuitive design sense.

Attending the event were also working designers from McLaren Automotive, Land Rover, Ford and Jaguar.

Official statements

‘I enjoy studying art and design and have a passion for cars as I used to work as a mechanic when I was 16,’ said James Russell Owen. ‘So I fused my love of cars and interest in design and went forward to do a Bachelor’s Degree in Automotive Design.

‘I am absolutely thrilled my design was selected as the best fulfillment of the Club’s brief. This was a fantastic opportunity to be truly creative while maintaining a deep awareness of future demands and a strong element of tradition. It’s what British car design should be all about.’

Speaking at the presentation, Ben Cussons, Chairman of the Royal Automobile Club Motoring Committee, said: ‘The Royal Automobile Club is very keen to support and encourage the talented designers on the RCA’s programme. The skills and genius of these students will be essential to achieve the developments in motor vehicle technology necessary for a sustainable future.’

About the award

Royal Automobile Club’s Best of British design award event coincides with the Club’s involvement in London Motor Week, and the world-famous Bonhams London to Brighton Veteran Car Run, which takes place on Sunday 2 November.

(Source: RCA)

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  1. RAL
    13/11/2014

    sorry , but I like cars

  2. 19/11/2014

    Worst futuristic car design I’ve ever seen.
    Has nothing to do with practical use of the car in future.

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