2019 Forum: Saturday, Aug. 17 at 1:30 pm | The Theory of Automotive Evolution

2019 Forum: Saturday, Aug. 17 at 1:30 pm | The Theory of Automotive Evolution

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Moderator, John Nikas is an automotive writer who specializes in weaving social, cultural and economic factors into his compelling narratives about automotive history. Raised in an Anglophile household, John first fell in love with British sports cars, but his interests also include prewar and postwar performance and luxury cars, endurance racing and the future of the automobile in the 21st Century. 

A noted vintage racing driver, Nikas has campaigned a broad array of classic racers in a number of different series, where he has collected multiple class championships and received special recognition for his on and off track accomplishments. John has a number of book projects underway, but continues to write for a number of automotive publications as time permits.

Leslie Kendall has had an unquenchable interest in automobiles and automotive history since early childhood. After earning an MBA in 1985, he entered mortgage banking only to leave the lending profession after seven years to volunteer full-time at the San Diego Automotive Museum where he was hired to be the curator after just eight months. He was invited to join the team responsible for creating the Petersen Automotive Museum in April 1993 and in October 1995 was named curator, ultimately creating from scratch more than 100 special exhibits relating to automotive history, industry and artistry. He is a regular contributor to automotive media outlets; a professional automotive museum exhibits and collections consultant; a concours d’elegance judge at events around the country; and a member of the Society of Automotive Historians, the National Association of Automotive Museums, the Classic Car Club of America, the Horseless Carriage Club of America, the American Alliance of Museums, and other organizations.


Stewart Reed is the chair of the Transportation Design Department at ArtCenter, where he oversees the undergraduate and graduate programs.


A 1969 graduate of ArtCenter, Reed has had a distinguished 35-year career in transportation design. Career achievements include a special-mission military vehicle for Lockheed Martin, an innovative SUV-van hybrid concept called the GearBox for Mobility Outfitters, and the spectacular Cunningham C7 luxury GT coupe for Bob Lutz and Briggs S. Cunningham III. He has served as vice president of design for Prince Corporation (now Johnson Controls). At Chrysler, he developed pre-production new-vehicle categories in the advanced design studio. In 1994, he established Stewart Reed Design and became consultant to the manufacturing industry in automotive and consumer products,


Reed is a judge at numerous concours and, for the past 10 years, has been chief juror for the Michelin Challenge Design, an international design competition for students and emerging designers.