In this week’s Autocar magazine, we revealed the results of our Hot Hatch 2020 Design Competition.

The winner was Minwoo Hwang and part of his prize was spending the week at Ford’s Dunton Technical Centre in Essex, where I caught up with him, helping sculpt his design out of clay.

Minwoo’s design provided Ford’s model makers Brad and Jamie with an interesting challenge. The modellers usually get their hands on a model when it is already nearly complete as milling machines carry out the majority of the initial sculpting. But Minwoo’s design was on paper, so Brad and Jamie had to revert back to the ‘good old days’ and sculpt the design by hand – all under Minwoo’s watchful eye.

Minwoo spent a month refining his design and chose to enter the competition as a project for the automotive side of his transport design degree at Coventry University.

He included some evolutions of Ford’s traditional design traits – such as the trapezoid grille and front lights – while other design features were unique to his design, such as the belt line which kicks down towards the rear, rather than up as is the norm on Ford’s production models.

Paul Wraith, an experienced Ford designer who worked with Minwoo on the project, was impressed with the maturity of the student’s design. “Good cars look good right at the start of the design process,” he said. “And this is certainly the case with Minwoo’s design. Things that may look good on paper or a computer screen won’t necessarily look good when you turn them into a scale or full-size model.

“Minwoo has had to make compromises, but the design changes are intelligent ones and he’s offering an interesting take on how hot hatch design may evolve.”

When I left Minwoo and the Ford team, changes to the clay model’s design was about to be frozen so the car could be GOM-scanned and turned into virtual form. From here, its data will be put into a clever 3D printing system which creates a scale model out of resin. This model will then be painted and be put on display on the Autocar stand at next week’s Autosport International show.

Like all designers, however, Minwoo was still making last-minute changes to his creation. The biggest debate was over its colour; Minwoo was leaning towards silver, but the Ford guys gently reminded him that the traditional RS colours are blue and white, and even the luminous lime green seen on the current Focus.

I’ll be interested to see just how the model will look – and in what colour - on the stand itself next week. Judging by the level of detail on the clay version, Minwoo’s concept is sure to get some admiring glances.

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