Automotive futurist Syd Mead dies at 86

Syd Mead, car designer turned artist known for looking far into the future, and the visionary behind such movies as “Blade Runner,” “Aliens” and “Tron,” died December 30. He was 86.

Mead was a graduate of the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, and worked for two years in Ford’s advanced design studio. He left to do illustrations and in 1970 started his own design company in Detroit.

1967: Future Rolls Royce | Syd Mead art courtesy

1967: Future Rolls Royce | Syd Mead art courtesy

Much of his automotive artwork focused on the future, or as he termed science fiction, “reality ahead of schedule.”

In 2017, Mead received the lifetime design achievement award at the 30th EyesOn Design car show at the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores, Michigan, an event widely known as the car designers’ concours.

This article, written by Larry Edsall, was originally published on, an editorial partner of Motor Authority.

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