5 Minutes with… Car Designer Eric Brockmeyer
Eric Brockmeyer knew from a very young age what he wanted to do when he grew up. He simply took his two favorite things—drawing and cars—and combined them, setting him on a path to be one of the hot rod industry’s most well-known and respected car designers.
“I pretty much always knew I wanted to be a car designer,” he said. “I was very specific about it, even though I didn’t really even know back then if that [career] existed. I had an absolute love affair with cars.”
Brockmeyer, who works out of his Fort Lauderdale-based studio, has designed a variety of award-winning cars, including a Ridler winner, and three Goodguys Street Machine of the Year winners. On average, Brockmeyer estimates that he does designs of at least 100 hot rods, trucks, and muscle cars each year.
“Some of them are just simple illustrations, but some of them are very complicated, and I may spend months on one design, going back and forth with the owner and builder,” he said.
Brockmeyer’s hard work has paid off big time. He was recently the recipient of the Goodguys Trendsetter Award, marking the first time since the award’s inception 18 years ago that a designer/illustrator was given the award.
We took a few minutes to speak to Brockmeyer about his big win, his time working with Boyd Coddington and, of course, his love of Hot Wheels cars.
Car design is such a niche market. Did you ever consider doing any other type of drawing or art?
Eric Brockmeyer: To be honest, no. I always drew cars when I was a kid, and I would play with my Hot Wheels. I went to the Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale and got my Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Design, which encompasses all designing, not just automotive, so if I ever need a job, I can get a job designing teapots or something! I didn’t go back to school until I was 26, actually. I had been working a series of jobs that were unrewarding, and I think my wife got tired of hearing me talk about designing cars, so she kind of pushed me to go to school. She wanted me to stop talking about it and actually do it.
You worked with Boyd Coddington early in your career. What do you remember most about him?
Eric Brockmeyer: I remember his generosity. It’s cliché to say, but Boyd would honestly give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. I also remember how open-minded he was. He was so established in the industry, but when I would show him a sketch, he would really look at it, and appreciate my ideas. To a young guy sending drawings to a guy of his status, that was amazing. He was a very nice and genuine person. He always treated me like I was really important, and I really respected him. I worked with him for the last five years of his life, and I feel really fortunate that I had that time with him.
What’s your daily driver?
Eric Brockmeyer: I drive a 2005 MINI Cooper S. I also have my own hot rod that I try to take out as much as possible. I’m a big fan of cars that are built to drive. I have a ’62 Rambler and I challenged the builder, Matt Link of Link’s Hot Rod Shop, to put in a vintage Hemi motor, which is a big motor, into a small car. He did an amazing job. I designed the aesthetics of the car, picked the color, paint, finish, wheels and designed the interior, and he made it come to life.
Is there a car that you particularly enjoy drawing and designing?
Eric Brockmeyer: I honestly like all cars but I do enjoy it when people approach me to design a car with a unique body style. I really love it when people have something really weird or obscure, like a Studebaker or a Nash or something that is not typically customized. Those excite me because they are not naturally pretty cars. Most Corvettes in their stock form are beautiful but a Nash needs a lot of help to bring its beauty out.
What’s the first thing you usually do when you get to a car show?
Eric Brockmeyer: Generally, I’ll head to where the newly debuted cars are displayed. I like to see what stuff has just come out. After that, I get a corndog!
You’ve designed all kinds of award-winning cars. Which one is your favorite?
Eric Brockmeyer: I really have a fondness for all of them but there is one that means the most to me. When Boyd asked me to design the Alumatub, that was a big deal, so that car will always be special to me. Before that, Boyd Coddington was a hot rod celebrity to me. To have him call me and want me to help him with design work, that was mind-blowing. That was the first car we worked on together, so it’s very special.
What’s one thing that people may be surprised to learn about you?
Eric Brockmeyer: I still have all my Hot Wheels from my childhood! I have kept them and I continue to collect them, even though I’m an adult now.
If you could meet one person from history, who would you choose?
Eric Brockmeyer: I would have loved to meet Harley Earl. He designed the 1938 Buick Y-Job, which was the first-ever concept car. He was an iconic designer of the Motorama Era. It would have been cool to sit and talk to him about that stuff.
You were recently awarded the Goodguys Trendsetter Award. Did you have any idea you were going to win?
Eric Brockmeyer: I was totally shocked! I had no idea at all. I was sitting there [at the awards reception] and all of a sudden my renderings started popping up on the wall and I felt my face get really hot. I was thinking, ‘Oh my gosh, could it be me!?’ I was genuinely shocked but genuinely honored. Being the first designer to win the award really meant a lot to me.
What’s next for you?
Eric Brockmeyer: I’ll continue to push the envelope with my designs, and push my style so I can keep growing as a designer. I keep trying to improve myself. I will keep pushing because there is a lot more in me to come out!