Recently it was pointed out to me by one of my sculptors that International Automotive Design was once again plying for business. This once booming Automotive Design House came to an abrupt end in the early 90’s when recession hit hard and one of its largest customers collapsed, the Leyland/DAF truck conglomerate leaving the company floundering. With little chance of securing unsecured credit and revenues falling there was no other option but to sell the company to Mayflower Corp. a major producer of stampings for cars and trucks in the United States.
John W Shute founded IAD on his return to the United Kingdom after a spell in Australia with Chrysler as a draughtsman and body engineer. During his stay there he formed his own design engineering company in Melbourne but with a sense of urgency to be nearer to the hub of the automotive industry in Europe, it prompted him to return to the UK, hence the forming of IAD.
During the 80’s at the peak of the companies growth IAD was awarded with three Queen’s Awards for Exports while the word was spreading and customers coming in. I was fortunate to be part of that boom, working for the company from 1984 to 1993 in England, Europe and the United States. There was an impressive client list such as Rolls Royce, Bentley, Audi, Jaguar, Mazda, Honda and Kia just to name a few. Notable designers frequented the building during their programs such as J Mays and Martin Smith of Audi back then, Danny Yoon of Kia, Tom Matano of Mazda during the development of the Miata. The atmosphere was electric and projects were abundant.
Now we find ourselves 12-14 years in the future, the companies name has being resurrected by John’s son, Simon W Shute, starting the same way as his father did by offering contract positions for engineers. He has come a long way since those early days in the studio in Worthing, England where he would watch the clay modelers ply their trade and even try himself.
All I know is, the future is uncertain and competiton is more fierce than ever, it will be interesting to see if IAD will raise to that greatness once again.