Last week we learned why the Mazda Furai has been MIA the last several years: It burned to a crisp in 2008. Enthusiasts were horrified, but imagine being the man who styled it. Mallory McMorrow talked to Carlos Salaff, a former Mazda senior designer who was part of the Furai's exterior design development team, to get his reaction. She didn't expect what happened next.
One of the first things I asked was how he felt the first time he had seen the photos of the burned concept car.
He stumbled for a second, then said, "Well, I heard about the photos from you."
A knot grew in my stomach as I realized that he had never seen the photo until earlier that day. I felt like a friend having to break the news about a terrible death in the family.
For Salaff, the Furai was more than just a simple design exercise. The car changed his life. His reaction to its loss is bittersweet, but his observations about the state of vehicle design today are astute, and he has used the car as both a springboard and inspiration ever since.
Don't take my word for it. Go read the whole thing.