• STEAMatWORK4KIDS

Cars by Design with Ralph Gilles

Updated: Mar 30



Ralph races cars when he isn't designing them.


Meet Ralph Gilles

The Global Head of Design for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles



His Work: Designing cars, inside and out











Ralph Gilles uses “Science” to build better cars. He uses computer “Technology” to design them. His cars are beautiful “Art.” He uses “Math” when he measures every detail of a car and calculates the cost. He fits in all categories of STEAM. But we put Ralph Gilles in “Engineering.” Engineers solve problems. And Ralph says he is problem solver for millions of people who drive cars.

“You can fool around today and then struggle the rest of your life. Or you can work hard now and be successful the rest of your life.”

Ralph started drawing cars when he was 8 years old. He copied the shapes of cars he saw in magazines. Then he started adding improvements to the cars. Pretty soon he was designing new cars. Ralph’s aunt sent some of his drawings to the head of the Chrysler Cars. She liked their TV commercials. Chrysler wrote back. The letter said he should go to an industrial design school after high school. So he did. When he graduated, he went to work for Chrysler. By 2005 Ralph, a Haitian Canadian-American had won the President's Award for Black Engineer of the year.



Nobody designs a car by themselves. But Ralph led the teams that designed some very popular cars. The Dodge 300C is a luxury car. It was made famous when Snoop Dog bought one. Hip-hop stars have loved the 300C and they started showing up in hip-hop music videos. Ralph also led the team that designed the 2014 Viper SRT. The viper is one of Ralph’s favorite cars to race when he is not working.


Ralph’s advice to kids is to dream BIG. And keep your eyes on the prize. “You can fool around today and then struggle the rest of your life. Or you can work hard now and be successful the rest of your life.”


Photo credits:

Ralph Gilles photo: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Baby Bentley photo: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-SA

Viper Photo: This Photo by Unknown Author is licensed under CC BY-NC





Read these books to learn how to draw cars . . .



Science Comics: Cars: Engines That Move You

by Dan Zettwoch (Author)






In Dan Zettwoch's Science Comics: Cars, you'll learn where cars came from and how they work. When you pop the hood, what are you looking at? How does gasoline―or electric batteries, or even steam―make a car move? Rev up your motor and take look at the combustible history of the automobile and its explosive effects on our modern lives.







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You can find books about drawing by subject in the 743 section of your library. Here are some titles you might find.


How to Draw Cars, Trucks, Planes, and Other Things That Go!: Learn to Draw Step by Step for Kids

By Dylanna Press

Simple, easy-to-follow pictures that make it easy for kids to start drawing. Boost confidence and inspire creativity with 30 projects including cars, trucks, trains, boats, bicycles, tractors, trucks, and more. Includes plenty of room to practice drawing.

This beginning drawing book is perfect for kids 6-12 and will provide hours of creative fun!

This drawing book for kids features:

  • Large 8 ½ by 11 inch pages

  • Thirty different projects to practice drawing

  • Lots of room to practice

  • High-quality, durable cover



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Draw 50 Cars, Trucks, and Motorcycles

By Lee Ames

Draw 50 Cars, Trucks, and Motorcycles shows artists of all levels how to draw with ease by following simple step-by-step examples. Celebrated author Lee J. Ames shows you how to draw your favorite hot rods, sports cars, and clunkers, including Rolls-Royces, Bentleys, dump trucks, tandem bikes, and Harley-Davidsons, with drawings of classic models from 1870 to 1984. Ames’s drawing method has proven successful for children and adults of all ages over the past forty years.

Lee Ames wrote a classic series of “Draw 50 . . .” books used by many young artists. Visit his Amazon author page to learn more.



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. . . and visit these websites.




PBS's Design Squad Global - Build Vehicles


Cars of the future according to kids


The future of cars according to 11 year olds



Photo Credits

Ralph Gilles Photo: This Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND

Dodge 300C (Baby Bentley: This Photo is licensed under CC BY-SA

Viper: This Photo is licensed under CC BY-NC

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