MotorCities National Heritage Area

By Robert Tate, Automotive Historian and Researcher
Images courtesy of
Posted: 04.11.2018

file 20180411180824 Illustrations of Camilo Pardo
One of the most gifted and talented automotive designers and illustrators working today is the creative artist Camilo Pardo. His evolution from automotive designer to automotive artist are captured in many of his illustrations that enjoy worldwide admiration.

Pardo once said, “I enjoy painting in oil, watercolor and acrylic. I use aggressive abstraction in my brush strokes to create atmosphere and motion.”

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I'm a huge fan of Pardo's illustrations, and if you enjoy automotive art, his work is something to have and enjoy for your own personal collection. Pardo was born and raised in an artistic family in New York City. During much of his childhood, he spent many afternoons and weekends going to museums and admiring great works of modern art. It was by the fourth grade, however, that Pardo knew he wanted to design cars, so he attended Detroit’s College for Creative Studies and graduated with a degree in transportation design. Later, he would teach there.

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As a student at CCS, Pardo had a love for furniture design as well. He and other talented students displayed their creative designs, which included lamps, chairs, and other furniture designs that many people admired. Today, Pardo's furniture designs are recognized by many art galleries throughout Metro Detroit, Japan, Italy and New York. One of his unique furniture creations features a chair resembling a human eyelash, a design which was totally different and attractive.

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Pardo has a very impressive resume that also includes a highly recognized project from Ford Motor Company. While working at Ford, he designed the great-looking and powerful Ford GT. Pardo served as the lead designer for the project, which received international attention from many car enthusiasts and fans around the world. Pardo described it as a “designers’ dream project.” The limited-edition vehicle was available in 2005 and 2006, and only 4,100 units were manufactured. The GT featured a mid-engine automotive design and proved to be a huge success for both the Ford Motor Company and Camilo Pardo.

After the great success of the Ford GT project, Pardo would continue to build on his passion for automotive design and illustration. His designs and artwork have been featured in Road and Track, Rolling Stone and other popular magazines. Pardo creates work that was inspired a lot by the great illustrators and artists from the 1960s. Pardo’s works have been displayed in many art and design exhibitions over the years across the country and in Europe.

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In conclusion, Pardo has painted his extraordinary talent and passion for automotive design and illustration into our history books and our popular culture. Pardo’s studio is located in Detroit, however, he has a satellite design studio in Los Angles as well.

For more information on Camilo Pardo, visit his website at       

Feighan, Maureen. “Ex-Ford designer keeps cars close at heart in art furniture work.” Detroit News, August 15, 2014.
Wey, Tunde. “Camilo Pardo.” May 22, 2013.  Arts & Culture Design Rehab/Renovation Midtown.