Car Culture

Finally, the Blade Runner/Volvo Trucks crossover you never knew you wanted

A designer working for the Swedish truck company found a bunch of old Syd Mead sketches and decided to share them with the world.

I absolutely want to live in the dystopian future where I have to dodge one of these bad boys as I cross a dark and rainy, neon-lit street.

Liam Keating/Syd Mead/Volvo Trucks

There is a small subset of people for whom the Blade Runner aesthetic vision of the future is a future they'd be comfortable living in. I am one of those people. That's why when I saw these sketches of Volvo trucks by the man most responsible for Blade Runner's look, I flipped right the hell out.

These sketches were done by none other than Syd Mead, legendary futuristic artist and industrial designer, and the fact that they exist at all is pretty wild, let alone that the public is finally seeing them.

The story behind these images is almost as good as the images themselves. Mead was working as a designer for a time at Volvo Trucks and had done these sketches, though it's not clear if they were for a specific project or commissioned, or what exactly. They never entered production, but someone at Volvo liked them enough to frame them and slap them on a conference room wall.

Enter our protagonist, Liam Keating, an artist and designer working for Volvo AB who recognized the distinct style of the drawings, and through another coworker, confirmed that they were indeed by Syd Mead. He then started the long and drawn-out process of asking for permission to share the images with the outside world.

That brings us to now. If you study the images carefully, a number of them have visual traits that went on to become relatively commonplace in the world of medium- and heavy-duty truck design. Others are significantly more, shall we say, futuristic.

Now, if you excuse me, I'll be in a dark cave of a room watching the Final Cut of Blade Runner for the rest of the day.

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