MONDAY - Sorry to hear of the quiet, sad departure from Volkswagen’s top echelon of 64-year-old design chief Walter de Silva, whose world has clearly fallen in following the departure of big boss Martin Winterkorn.
As car-creation royalty, the pair toured the motor shows of the world, admired wherever they went. But when Big Martin had to walk the plank, things must have looked much bleaker for de Silva, especially since VW is now intent on making savings, including on concept cars.
Still, de Silva leaves a wonderful legacy. He created many fine cars with his own pen and influenced others to create more. In many convivial meetings he proved to us hacks – via skilful sketches on convenient scraps of paper – that even as a big cheese, he still drew cars with the same delight as a kid doodling on the back of an exercise book.
De Silva always said his most beautiful car was the Audi A5, but I reckon the accolade goes to the Alfa Romeo 156, a car of enduringly fine proportions whose design influences on the just-launched Giulia are perfectly obvious nearly 20 years later.
TUESDAY - You’d think, given the wall of verbiage we’ve seen and read on VW, that everything worthwhile had been said. But a note that landed today from Steve Randle, who runs a Warwick-based engineering consultancy, offers something new. It’s not necessarily top management skulduggery that’s to blame, Randle suggests, but a too-rigid, results-driven culture imposed on middle-rankers.