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Distinguished Alumnus Lecture: Tom Tjaarda

September 26, 2014 at 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

2014 Distinguished Alumnus: Tom Tjaarda, B.Arch.’58

Taubman College will launch its fall exhibition program with a retrospective exhibition of the work and life of automotive designer Tom Tjaarda. The designer will receive the College’s Distinguished Alumnus Award on September 26, 2014.

Tjaarda (B.Arch.’58) is one of the world’s most innovative and distinguished designers. A legend in European automotive design circles, he is best known for his imaginative, exciting sports cars of the 1970s and 80s that include production, prototype, custom, modification, and show cars. Of particular note are the Fiat Spyder, later versions of Mustangs, and his signature car, the Pantera. The Pantera (’71-’78) built in Italy by DiTomaso and distributed in the U.S. by Lincoln-Mercury, is a two-seater, dynamic car with powerful, direct steering aimed at the sports car driver of moderate means and is collected by car enthusiasts everywhere. An example of the ’71 Pantera, generously lent by a local collector, will be included in the exhibition. The exhibition will run in Taubman College’s Liberty Gallery, September 5-28, 2014.

While being primarily interested in the design aesthetics of cars, he has also designed industrial and domestic objects such as typewriters, dialysis machines, and motor scooters. The exhibition will feature all aspects of his design work through photo-panels of his most important designs, design drawings, related videos, and a timeline of his career. A reception at the Taubman College Liberty Gallery will be held on Thursday, September 25, 6 – 9 p.m. Tjaarda will deliver a lecture after receiving his award on Friday, September 26 at 6:00 p.m. in the Chesborough Auditorium. The talk will chronicle his life and work, with particular emphasis on the function of his design studio and its work with manufacturers. Both events are free and open to the public.

  • Exhibition: Tom Tjaarda: A Life in Design, September 5 – September 28, Liberty Gallery
  • Reception: September 25 at 6:00 pm, Liberty Gallery
  • Distinguished Alumnus Lecture: September 26 at 6:00 pm, Chesebrough Auditorium, Chrysler Center

Image Caption: Tom Tjaarda with his 1963 concept car, the Chevrolet Coupé Speciale “Rondine,” built by Pininfarina


TOM TJAARDA, B.ARCH.’58 from Taubman College on Vimeo.


September 26, 2014
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm