The Driver Suit Blog-Motor City Masters-NASCAR Review

By David G. Firestone

I don’t usually watch Motor City Masters, but I tuned in on Tuesday, since the theme this week was NASCAR. For those who don’t know, Motor City Masters is a reality show on TruTv featuring designers competing for a design job at Chevy as well as $100,000. Each designer designs something in the beginning and the two design managers and the managers will pick the design team from the rest of the competors. The two teams will, in turn, take a Chevy model picked for the episode and turn it into a concept car. It’s a basic reality show. I watched it, took notes, and took my notes and made it into a cohesive article.

Jameson, who comes across as kind of a jerk, actually said the perfect thing about race cars… “Function first, appearance second.” I really had high hopes for the episode, but it was a let down. First off, the show has a direct endorsement with Chevy, and AJ Allmendinger made a cameo appearance in the episode. The design challenge was to take a Chevy SS race car and design it a futuristic manner. The car they provided for the design challenge looked NOTHING like a Sprint Cup Chevy SS! It looked like they took an old Monte Carlo from a low ranking team and re-decaled in into an SS! It looked awful! As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was an NHRA-style Christmas tree in the background! Why? When did NASCAR start using the tree? Did anyone involved with the set design do any research?

Moving on from that, Camillo and Darby won the design challenge, and Darby had the better of the two. She actually created a futuristic design with NASCAR design elements. The smartest discussion I heard in the episode was from Edward T Welburn, Vice President of Global Design for GM. He discussed that Louis Chevy was a race car driver, and discusses how sponsors like the car to be distinctive and to stand out. He then said that the Chevy SS is “a strong link to what Chevy races in NASCAR” which is kind of true, since the NASCAR SS and the street SS are alike in name only.

I got excited when I heard the basic theory of the competition, but got really nervous when it became clear that a huge part of the challenge would be to have a back story based on a color scheme…oh no! I can’t imagine this end well. The teams were selected, the challenge started, and the teams went to the back to work on the design. As much as I complain about color schemes in the Paint Scheme Reveiws, I can’t imagine that they would pick what I consider a good color scheme.

As is the case with these kinds of shows, there was a lot of pissing and moaning about various design aspects and eventually, the cars are started upon on the second day, when the cars are in the pre painting stage, that is when the colors start to work. Carmillo takes photos of himself and a team member in a racing suit, and begin to work with that as a part of the template. They are using #74.

Darby’s team is still arguing over the design of the car. There are a number of schemes, but all of them are awful. They choose the most hideous shade of yellow, which the paint team messes up. The design lookd like something a kid would have on the side of a Honda Civic. Darby’s team applies decals to the car, and so does Carmillo’s team. At least Carmillo’s team have the decency to factor sponsor logos into the cars, and hand make the decals themselves. Carmillo uses a shark and a rabbit on the car, to imply speed and aggression. The decals applied, the build is over.

Every episode has a guest judge and this week’s guest judge is introduced as “NASCAR racing pro Robby Gordon.” Very nice, considering that he hasn’t raced in NASCAR since 2012. Carmillo’s car comes out first, and it is named the Solar Blast. It has a red silver and black color scheme and a traditional look. Darby’s team has the Pink Dynamite, and has a pink and yellow scheme. It spits in the face of traditional design. Carmillo describes the design as having a NASCAR look and that the car number is visible anywhere on the track. Darby describes the car as being as loud as the car sounds. The judges seem to like Carmillo’s design, and they comment that Darby’s design is a little too off-putting for a sponsor.

The judges send the teams away, and look over the designs. They comment that Darby’s car is off-putting for sponsors once again. They comment. orange black and silver scheme looks good, aside from some decals. Carmillo’s team is rightfully declared the winner. One of the three team members is going to be sent home. Each of the three team members, Darby, Jameson, and Shane explain why they should stay. Shane is kept, and now Darby and Jameson are in the hot seat. Jameson is sent home. As much as a jerk as he is, he is still a great design talent.

All in all the show is mediocre. I’m so glad that Darby’s design isn’t a real design, because it would sweep the single scheme Paint Schemie Awards. It looked horrible. Carmillo’s car looked like an actual race car, and the color scheme worked very well. If either of Carmillo’s team goes home, I would recommend that a NASCAR team hire them as a designer. It was a decent show, but this was not enough to keep me as a viewer.

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