Nissan's Aussie Designer
6th July, 2009
Show Vehicle Specialist Andy Parkin is another
Australian automotive export success story.
Employed by Nissan Design America (NDA) and based in San Diego, California, the former Victorian is
responsible for ensuring the quality of NDA’s concept car build and presentation at motor shows around
Following a successful, global career as a contract clay modeler for major automotive firms Ford,
Mercedes, Opel and Mazda Andy joined NDA in 1998 and worked on a number of projects as a clay
sculptor, including the 350Z and 2009 US model Maxima.
His role at NDA expanded in 2006 to include concept car-related work. As a Show Vehicle Specialist,
Andy follows the chain of show car fabrication, bringing a concept to reality and ensuring the
quality of the build to a high standard.
“At international auto shows, it’s my job is to make sure Design is representing Nissan through
high-quality concept cars and other special vehicles,” he says.
Born and raised in Melbourne, Andy and his wife, Brenda, an Expert Colour Designer for NDA, now
live in Point Loma, California.
Andy says he always liked working with his hands since he was a small child, making all sorts of
things with Lego and Meccano sets. After completing high school one of his friends offered an
apprentice opportunity as a pattern maker. He sculpted models out of wood for parts such as dashboard,
centre consoles and steering wheels at a foundry and plastic injecting moulding company in
During his apprenticeship, Andy also studied pattern making at Royal Melbourne Institute of
Technology which led to an internship as a clay sculptor in the Ford design studio in Melbourne for
Andy then moved to Europe. There, he worked for European and Japanese car manufacturers as a
contract clay modeler before finally making his way to San Diego in 1990 to work as a contractor for
automotive design companies in southern California, including Nissan Design America (NDA), for the
next eight years.
Andy joined NDA and worked on a number of projects as a clay sculptor, including the 350Z and 2009
“My role at NDA expanded to include concept car-related work in 2006 and now, as a Show Vehicle
Specialist, I follow the chain of show car fabrication, bringing a concept to reality and ensuring
the quality of the build. At international auto (motor) shows, I have to make sure Design is doing
its job representing Nissan through high-quality concept cars and other special vehicles,” he