Like most automotive designers of the era, Robert Opron was a classically trained artist who spent years at École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris, learning all the skills that artists use, including; painting, sculpting and architecture. There were no CAD programs back when Opron got his automotive break in the design department at Simca, back in the late 1950s, so no doubt his classical drawing skills were instrumental in his early success.

It did not take Opron long to show off all his talents with the spacecraft-like Simca Fulgur concept.  His abilities as a trained sculptor came to the forefront in the seamlessness of the finned bodywork. As well as his architectural training, the way he blended the use of glass and steel into both shape and function, the same sculptural patterns first developed in the Fulgur, are a consistent theme throughout his career.  Especially so in the incredible, all encapsulating, use of aerodynamics in nearly all of his stylings that followed.

Simca Fulgur concept.

Robert Opron’s accomplishments will be presented in conjunction with Citroëns at Carlisle and the Renault Owners Club of North America at the 2020 Carlisle Import and Performance show from May 15 – 17 as part of the Collective Works of Robert Opron Display. Marvin McFalls, president of Renault Owners Club of North America, has put together a distinguished panel of Opron aficionados, to lead a presentation about his life and career.  show a sampling of his works and celebrate his contribution to automotive design, in this unique presentation at Carlisle Import and Performance.

Dan Barton will present the rarely heard story about Opron’s upbringing, primarily in Africa, then Marvin McFalls will discuss his early career working for Simca, followed by George Dyke covering his years at Citroën.  Next, Dan Barton will continue the conversation with a review of his time at Renault-Alpine, followed by Marvin McFalls, discussing Opron’s later career at Fiat, and the decision to transition from head designer to independent consultant. 

There will hopefully be time at the end of the presentation for some brief stories from others who have had the opportunity to meet the legendary artist, stylist and designer.

It should be an entertaining and informative ninety-minute seminar.  So make your plans to attend Citroëns at Carlisle and the presentation on Friday, May 15th, starting at 3:30 PM in Building R on the Carlisle Fairgrounds.