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He Happens To Know A Thing Or Two About Both Subjects

Ralph Gilles is a legend in the muscle car world for his design work, and he recently spoke on the Brembo Red Podcast about muscle cars and EVs
Image Via Stellantis.

If you ask any automotive enthusiast to name a performance brake manufacturer, chances are Brembo will be the first name to come to mind. For 60 years now, the Italian company has been at the forefront of the industry, with their products strapped to everything from muscle cars to Formula 1 racers. But did you know that they also have a killer podcast? Hosted by Brembo North America CEO Dan Sandberg, “Brembo Red” is a relatively new show on which high-profile names in the automotive world come to discuss a variety of topics. In the latest installment of the show, Sandberg sat down with Ralph Gilles, Stellantis’ Chief Design Officer to discuss his take on EVs, muscle cars, and the future of performance.

Regular readers of MC&T are likely familiar with Ralph Gilles, as he has played a vital role in the muscle car segment over the past few decades. He penned the design for the Chrysler 300, the Dodge Charger and Magnum, as well as the fifth-gen Viper. He also served as the CEO of Dodge and later SRT for a brief time, before becoming FCA’s Head of Design in 2015.

The latest “Brembo Red” episode starts with Gilles explaining how Formula 1 and its yearly stop in his hometown of Montreal helped to spark his love of cars. Furthermore, he notes that the first vehicle that he ever truly cared about was the VW Scirocco S penned by Giaguaro. Not a bad first love for an automotive designer. And while this is all interesting stuff, the conversation quickly turned towards his feelings on electric vehicles.

2021 Dodge Charger SRT Hellcat Redeye's 15.7-inch Brembo Brakes.
Image Via Stellantis.

While some muscle car fans might find this blasphemous, Gilles isn’t a huge EV hater. In fact, he noted that he is quite fond of some of the design work that takes place in that segment. He specifically mentioned the Porsche Taycan and Tesla Model S as high-points in terms of design, though he wasn’t as kind to some other offerings. The designer made it known that he often finds that car companies are “trying too hard” with their EVs, specifically when the car started its life as a gas-powered machine. All of the extra detailing and fake bits that get strapped to these cars isn’t something he is interested in seeing continued. That said, he does enjoy the refinement and level of performance on offer from these battery-powered vehicles.

Speaking of battery power, Gilles believes that this technology will help to evolve the muscle car as we know it. When asked if he thought that the current horsepower war will lead us to 1,000 horsepower cars from Detroit’s automakers, Gilles had an interesting take. He said that this will happen in the near future, but as a result of hybrid powertrains becoming a more common performance tool. He specially mentioned that we’ve already seen this in the supercar world, and that this tech will trickle down to our favorite performance machines in the near future. That said, he isn’t very keen on the idea of folks using all that power on the public road, instead preferring that they fill that itch out on the track or drag strip.

For more from Ralph Gilles, you can click the link here to listen to the “Brembo Red” podcast in its entirety.

Image copyright Manoli Katakis, Muscle Cars & Trucks.

Written by Lucas Bell

Lucas holds a journalism degree from Wayne State University, and is a Automotive Press Association scholarship recipient. While an American muscle fan through and through, he once wrote a fascinating comparison review about eScooters.

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