Chris Gray Design
Chris Gray's story is really unique. He was born, raised, and educated in Scotland. He was attending the Glasgow School of Art to receive his bachelor's degree in industrial design when he met the woman who would soon be his wife. She was from Ohio and was visiting Scotland. Chris saw this as an opportunity to further his education in the States. He convinced her to move to Sacramento, California, so he could attend WyoTech and learn more about cars. Equipped with a degree in design and an education in automotive technology, he fell right into auto design work. He currently works at Marquez Design in West Sacramento, an outfit famous for its billet exterior and interior pieces for early muscle cars. He is heavily involved in product development at the shop, but after hours, he has his own business doing three-dimensional renderings.

Chris doesn't spend a lot of time on the design side of rendering because it simply gets too expensive; instead, he focuses on translating what the client wants onto paper via his computer. He starts with a rough sketch to get an idea of what the project is. Since he uses 3-D modeling software, he needs many references to make sure the scale is correct from every angle. The more photos the client can supply, the better. You may recognize his work on the rendering for PHR's own Project Talladega, a 1975 Chevrolet Laguna covered head to toe with graphics and custom bodywork.

What is great about this type of rendering is that the car can be viewed at all angles. This is extremely helpful when shops are working with their customers on a build and want to make sure everyone is on the same page. Chris has told us the design and rendering process turns out better builds than those without one.

HERE'S THE DEAL:
Price: $500-up for front, rear three-quarter, and side views
Style: three-dimensional rendering
Contact: 614-557-4299

Chris Ito Designs
Chris Ito, the youngest of three boys growing up, remembers getting a ride to school in his brother's Hemi-powered Model A. He learned to weld and experimented with fabricating by the age of 10. Needless to say, cars have always been a part of his life. Throughout high school, Chris took as many art-related classes as he could to get him ready for college. He attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California, where Chip Foose also studied. From there, Chris moved on to work for various designers in Southern California before he was recognized by the big dogs at ASC Designs (Detroit) to do specialty limited-production vehicles. Currently, he is the design director for Peterbuilt motors, but fills his evenings and weekends drawing all sorts of hot rods, muscle cars, and customs.

He works on the high-end scale of our group here. This is not the guy you go to for a simple sketch, but the guy you go to for extensive body modifications.

With Chris' background doing concept work for the automotive OEMs, one of his areas of expertise is taking a concept car development approach to the hot rod world. When required, the color renderings are supplemented with a full-scale drawing to provide the builder with a 1:1 template of the design revisions of the base vehicle, or to establish the overall proportions, ride height, and driver packaging.

Many renderings are drawn out of proportion to give a more dramatic effect, but Chris won't do that unless there are plans to build it that way. He specializes in chop tops, leaned glass, sectioning, and body drops, so if that is where you are headed, Chris can help you nail the right combination. When possible, Chris likes to oversee the fabrication work and assist.

One of Chris' more well-known pieces of work was for Bob Johnson's G-Force 'Cuda featured in PHR. The G-Force 'Cuda stuck very closely to its original plan, which had heavy body modifications, as this rendering shows.

HERE'S THE DEAL:
Price: $3,000-$5,000
Style: digital and paper drawings, 1:1 layouts
Contact: hotrodesigner@netscape.net