Stirring just the kind of controversy that is going to keep enthusiasts interested in post-GM Saab, company CEO Jan Ake Jonsson today announced that Jason Castriota has been hired as the company's new design director, reporting straight to Jonnson himself. Don't know the name? Let us bring you up to speed.
Castriota, a 36-year-old New York native and graduate from the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, has spend much of his career at Italian design houses, starting at Pininfarina before moving on to Bertone a few years back. His most memorable and complete works at those houses were James Glickenhaus' Ferrari P4/5 one-off and more recently the Bertone Mantide. Yes, two of the most controversial supercar designs in history with the latter especially making us wonder if Castriota watched too many Star Wars movies as a child. Still, both got people talking and have been embraced by impassioned owners. And looking beyond those two special vehicles, he also contributed to undeniably gorgeous Pininfarina designs including the Maserati GranTurismo and the Ferrari 599. Yes, the guy is capable of hits.
“I’m greatly looking forward to joining such an iconic brand,” said Castriota. “Saab has a very strong and distinctive heritage which gives it great potential to develop. This is an exciting opportunity for me to help shape its future products.” His first product, it seems, is breathing new life into the aging 9-3 family, a group that is a very big deal for Saab's future. We'll see what he comes up with, probably starting with some concepts in a year or so. And either way, it's great to see Saab ready to take risks and make interesting products.