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Chassis Design Expert Witness

Expert Witness No.2533


Technical Areas of Specialization:

Vehicle Dynamics
Steering systems

Defects Investigation

Vehicle Rollovers

Vehicle Structures

Restraint System Development

Tire Design and Development

Suspension Systems

Vehicle Fires

Braking systems/ABS

Drive train

Wheel Design and Development

Driving Expertise

Seat Design


I conducted an extensive study of rollover probability following a testing rollover occurrence with a modified vehicle.  This study led to my knowledge of the primary physical factors relating to rollover and the sensitivity of each factor.

During my racing experience I have personally experienced 2 rollover accidents.

I have investigated rollover incidents that have occurred during testing of production vehicles.

Airbag/Restraints System Development:

As Chief Program Engineer of the Ford GT, I was responsible for the restraint system design and development program for the Ford GT, which included airbags. This also included evaluating the potential use of 4-point safety belts.  This was not pursued due to complications of the system resulting from regulatory requirements for one hand operation of the safety belt system.

At McLaren I directed a program to modify and certify a production vehicle for new changes to the FMVSS 208 regulation (advanced airbags).  This involved new locations and operating requirements for the airbags, and new application of the safety belts.  This involved the use of the simulation tools LS Dyna and Madymo.  I also directed all restraint system design, analysis and development for the Mercedes Benz- McLaren SLR Roadster.

I was the sign off engineer for the restraint system for the Saleen S7, which was given a waiver to allow an FMVSS 208 compliant restraint system without airbags.  I performed the safety belt anchorage testing, and then also redesigned the safety belt mounting after the original design failed to meet the test requirements. (The original design was done by an outside company prior to my arrival at Saleen).

I was responsible for the design of the restraint system for the Dodge Viper GTS/R.
I have performed seat belt tensile tests while I was a Staff Engineer at Minicars.
Seat Design:

I was the design release engineer for the Aptera seat.   The Aptera seat was an existing seat that was modified to suit the Aptera requirements and to include the feature of the safety belt buckle attached to the seat, which was a feature the existing seat did not have.  I directed the initial FMVSS 207 development testing for this seat.  As Chief Engineer for the Ford GT I was responsible for the design, development and certification of the seat as well as all other systems.

Vehicle Dynamics:

I have been the sign off engineer for the vehicle dynamics characteristics for 8 production vehicles.  These characteristics include vehicle ride, handling and braking performance.

(Shelby Charger, Shelby GLH, Shelby GLH-S, Shelby Lancer, Shelby CSX, Shelby CSX-T, Shelby Dakota, Dodge Viper)

I was the Chief Engineer responsible for the overseeing and approving the work of many vehicle dynamics engineers during handling development of 5 production vehicles.  In all these programs I was always the test driver in the final tuning process.

(Saleen S7, Saleen S281, Saleen S281E, Ford GT, Mercedes McLaren SLR 722 Edition)

I was the Author and Instructor for the Vehicle Handling and Performance modules of the Chrysler Synthesis Awareness workshop (an internal course taught to all Chrysler engineers)

Member of the Chrysler Vehicle Dynamics "Tech Club" and I was a recognized expert within Chrysler for
Vehicle Dynamics evaluation as well as all other types of vehicle evaluations.

Test driver for numerous production and prototype vehicles.  Over 20 years of automotive race driving, both amateur and professional.  Personal instructor and mentor for many engineers, racecar drivers, and average drivers.

I have used data acquisition equipment extensively during the development of vehicle dynamics characteristics.  I developed a specific data acquisition package during the Viper handling development this included using sensors such as displacement and velocity sensors for shock absorbers, rate sensors for yaw and angle sensors for pitch and roll.  I have also specified and used Datron non-contact speed sensors.

I have performed calibration of engine controllers for the purposes of vehicle dynamics tuning.  This was primarily to use the engine parameters to manage the torque output of the engine in various conditions to improve vehicle stability due to torque steer of a front drive vehicle.  (This was also used as a strategy for transaxle durability in addition to the vehicle dynamics attributes.)  I have also specified engine calibrations that improved handling characteristics of rear drive vehicles.

Vehicle Structures:

I was the Chief Engineer responsible for the complete vehicle structure of the Ford GT.  I established the structural concept and was responsible for all engineers and suppliers completing the design.

I have directed many FEA (Finite Element

Analysis) studies on vehicle structures including front, side, rear and roof structures.  FEA analysis is used to optimize safety and structural performance.  I have analyzed the implications of legislative requirements (in many vehicle markets) and I have set specific structural targets in areas that I felt that the legislative requirements were not sufficient.  (McLaren roof crush standard, Ford GT dynamic side impact and roof crush, Ford GT seat belt pull to FIA appendix J standard)

I have designed many safety roll cages for racecars.
Wheels Design and Development:

I was the Sign off Engineer for both the primary road wheels and the temporary spare wheel for the 1996 model year Dodge Viper GTS.  I was responsible for the design, testing and development of the road wheel.

As Vice President of Engineering at Saleen Inc.  I was responsible for a NHTSA recall concerning the road wheels for the Saleen S281.  This entailed analyzing wheels that had failed in service, determining the issues and making the decision regarding the recall.  The issue was a supplier manufacturing defect.

As Chief Engineer of the Ford GT I was responsible for supervising many aspects of 2 different wheels, standard and optional.  This included directing employees for the design, development and those responsible for supplier selection, quality control and service.

As the Engineering Director at McLaren I was responsible for design and development of a new forged aluminum wheel with the goal of minimum weight.  This involved extensive finite element analysis and testing.

I was a member of the Chrysler Corporation "Wheel tech club".

Tire Design and Development

Over a 25-year period, I have performed extensive tire testing for many applications both for road cars and racing cars.  I have been the final “sign off” for the tire design for many production car applications.

I worked closely with Goodyear to develop a special tire for the first front wheel drive vehicle to exceed 1 “G” of cornering ability.

I worked closely with Michelin on the design and development of  "run flat" tires prior to any production application.  This included involvement in writing of an FMEA for a run flat tire.

I performed testing on many types of spare tires to approve the safe handling characteristics.

I have tested vehicles on a wet “skid pad” that had various combinations of worn and new tire placements.

Vehicle Fires:

Design Experience

I was responsible for all vehicle design while working as the Chief Engineer at Saleen.  Two designs in particular were specifically for enhancing fuel system safety and reducing possibility of fire.  I designed an exhaust system with a particular feature to provide enhanced fuel system safety and integrity.  This exhaust system had a feature that allowed it to disconnect from its mounting system and drop down and below the fuel tank. This reduced the possibility that the exhaust system could intrude on an exposed area of the fuel tank.  I also designed and implemented a feature to prevent an under hood fuel hose from being damaged by a hot EGR tube.

I was responsible for all vehicle design while working as the Chief Program Engineer for the Ford GT.  In this role I defined the design concept and the packaging strategy for the fuel tank.  Primary consideration was given to protection of the fuel tank during impacts. I also defined the concept for the fuel hose and filler pipe routing.

Development Experience

During my assignment as the vehicle development engineer for the Dodge Viper I was involved in the development of improvements to resolve three different issues that related to fires. I investigated an under hood fire occurrence while I was working as a vehicle development engineer for Chrysler at the Chrysler/Shelby Performance Center.

I participated in an investigation of an under hood fire situation while I was employed as the Executive Director of Engineering at McLaren Automotive Ltd.  This investigation lead to a voluntary product recall for an alternator electrical issue.  I was also responsible for engineers that investigated fuel leaks that occurred on production vehicles.  These issues were traced to quality control at a supplier and resulted in corrective action at that supplier.

I investigated numerous fire issues while I was the Chief Engineer at

Saleen Inc.  The resolution of these investigations resulted in my ordering two NHSTA voluntary product recalls.  One involved a fuel fed concern and one was an electrical concern.

I have had personal experience with car fire investigations in my own cars.  I have had 2 fires on my own cars; both of them were fuel fed fires that were not crash related.


As Chief Engineer I was responsible for the total crashworthiness performance of many different vehicles (Saleen S7, Ford GT, future McLaren products, Viper GTS-R racecar).  I have conducted or directed all types of vehicle crash tests: fixed barrier, moving barrier, car to car, impacts into highway attenuating devices, sled tests and static tests.  I have been responsible for the design, application, testing and certification of the components that are the primary contributors to vehicle crashworthiness.  This includes bumpers, crash structures, steering columns and steering wheels, seats, restraints, windshields and glazing.



I have directed the design concept work for the application of a Double Clutch Transmission (DCT) for a mid engine installation.  This was done while I was the Executive Director of Engineering at McLaren Automotive Ltd. over a 3-year period.  The concept work was done with 3 different suppliers of drive trains.  I also directed a concept design to use a transaxle in place of the transmission in the Mercedes/McLaren SLR.

As the Chief Engineer I was responsible for the design of a new transaxle for the Ford GT.  This included selecting the supplier and all targets for cost, durability and testing.  I held this responsibility for a 2 year time period.

During my 7 years working at the Chrysler/Shelby Performance Center I was involved in the design of 2 types of AWD systems in 3 different vehicle applications.  These were used for both Automatic and Manual transmissions.  This included fabrication and testing of prototype systems.  The result of this work was the prototype for the Chrysler AWD Minivan which started production in the early ‘90’s.  I also developed continuous improvements to the strength and durability of current Chrysler FWD transaxles when used in higher output applications.  This includes a higher strength end plate which reduced the amount of deflection and provided a more reliable control of the shaft end play.

I also designed and developed a limited slip differential for Chrysler front wheel drive applications.  This was a unique housing for modified gear components.  I was also responsible for the manufacturing and assembly process of this differential.

Development and testing:  

I was responsible for all in-vehicle testing for the Dodge Viper application of the Borg Warner T56, as it’s first application.  This included testing for shift quality, clutch capacity, fluid temperature and durability.  As program manager of the Viper GTS/R program I was responsible for the transmission development of the T56R, which succeeded at completing and winning the Lemans 24 hour race for 3 consecutive years (1998-2000).


Over a 7 year time period I designed, tested, developed and assembled racing transaxles for numerous race teams.

Defects Investigation:

I have investigated many defects of prototype test vehicles that have occurred primarily during the test phase of a vehicle development program.  I have in many cases created or recommended improved designs for retest and if successful, use in the production vehicle.

Steering System:

As a Suspension Design Supervisor I was involved in all aspects of design for steering and suspension systems.  I directed a group that was tasked to write an FMEA for suspension system design.

I have performed the “tuning” of the power steering system for many vehicles.

Braking systems/ABS:

I was responsible for development of the braking system for the Dodge Viper (1989-1992).  This included developing a matrix of various configurations and determining the cost trade-offs for performance.

I designed and developed an aftermarket ABS system that could be fitted to Dodge Vipers.  The system was marketed under the brand name “Snake Brakes”.

I designed and configured an ABS system for the Saleen S7.  I also redesigned the brake pedal system.

As an Engineer at the Chrysler/Shelby Performance center I performed the brake bias testing and specified the proportioning valve to be used for all the Shelby production vehicles.  I participated in the design of a rear disc brake for use on Shelby vehicles.  This was the first use of a “drum in hat” at Chrysler Corporation.

As Chief Engineer I was responsible for the overall design and development of the braking system and the
ABS system for the Ford GT.


As Chief Engineer responsible for design and development of complete new vehicle programs and variants of existing vehicles I have been responsible for the design of the total vehicle having supervised the design and development of every vehicle system at varying levels of detail.

I have done testing and research into many types of highway safety impact attenuating devices.

At Chrysler I was sought out by many co-op students for training and mentoring in the role of vehicle development.


1982, University of California, Santa Barbara, California

1976 – 1981, General Motors Institute, Flint, Michigan, 
BSME with Automotive option

1975 – 1976, Allan Hancock Junior College, Santa Maria, California

1975, United States Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, Colorado

Activities and Accomplishments:

Speaker at SAE Chapter meetings in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Detroit.

Current or past member of SAE, NASCAR, SCCA, IMSA/Sports Car

Design Judge for Formula SAE competition in 1993, 1994, 2003 and 2007

Selected as Car Craft Magazine “Hi-Riser” in December 1985

Speaker at many Viper Owners clubs, GMI alumni and student groups, and many auto race fan clubs.

Instructor and co-author of the vehicle dynamics section for Daimler Chrysler’s  “Vehicle Synthesis Awareness” Workshop.

Keynote Speaker at the 2005 LS Dyna users conference in Birmingham, U.K.

Speaker at the ImechE conference on Niche Vehicle Development Technology, September 2006.

Motorsports Achievements

Executive Team Manager of the Viper Speed race team which won the 1999 SCCA Speed GT Drivers Championship with Bobby Archer.

Co-founder of the Viper Speed race team in 1998

SCCA World Challenge Driver Champion in 1992, 1994 and 1995 driving an Eagle Talon for Archer Motor sports

SCCA National Endurance Driver Champion in 1985 driving a Dodge Shelby Charger for team

Engineering consultant for full Time racing (IMSA GTU), Archer Brothers (Trans Am and World Challenge), and Joe Varde racing (IMSA RS).

Lead the design and development for racing versions of the Chrysler front wheel drive transaxle.

Personally built all the race transaxles used by Joe Varde in IMSA GTU competition.

Formed and directed Shelby Motor sports in 1987.  Shelby Motor sports ran 2 Shelby CSX’s in the IMSA International sedan series.

Endurance co-drivers have included: Jerry Nadeau, Bryan Herta, Dorsey Schroeder, Bobby and Tommy Archer, Bill Saunders, R.K. Smith and John Paul Jr.

Other racing experience in NASPORT, Ice racing.  I have raced in the Daytona 24-hour race 5 times.  I have raced at Bathurst in Australia.

Chrysler representative to the FIA in 1996 and 1997.  Saleen representative to the FIA in 2001.

Employment Experience

Automotive Consultant (Self Employed) - Feb. 2007 – Present

Activities have included forensics consulting, Race driver training and coaching, race vehicle engineering, low volume and “niche” vehicle design, development, analysis and testing and Automotive X-prize proposal development.   I have also consulted for Lockheed in successful defense of a government bid protest.

Aptera Motors, INC – Carlsbad, California  - March 2008 – Dec. 2008
Senior Vice President  – Manufacturing and Program Management:

Responsible for all aspects of product development for Aptera Motors Inc. Major focus is to develop an innovative 3-wheeled electric and hybrid/electric vehicles for consumer use.

McLaren Automotive – Woking, England  March 2004 – Jan 2007
Executive Director of Engineering:  

Responsible for all aspects of engineering and technical integrity for current and future products. My major focus was to be a new mid-engine sports car for Mercedes-Benz. Unfortunately, this program was put on hold in October of 2004. The total budget for the program was approximately €300 million, of which €30 million had been committed. Other programs included new FMVSS 208 compliance  (advanced airbag system) for the

Mercedes-McLaren SLR (€10 million budget) and 2 other future variants of the SLR. I was also involved in presenting proposals for funding of the mid engine program as a McLaren branded vehicle.  Other programs included analysis of a military “blast” seat.

Ford Motor Company – Dearborn, Michigan  Jan 2002 – Feb 2004, Chief Engineer:

Responsible for engineering, design and development of the new Ford GT. Directed all program planning, supplier selection criteria and organization of an engineering team of 140 people.  Responsible for a total program budget of $200 million. Implemented many concepts new to Ford for low volume “niche” vehicle development with timing compressed in an unprecedented manner for typical Ford programs which was the key enabler for accomplishing the program.  I also directed extensive use of all available computer simulation programs.

SALEEN, INC – Irvine, California, Oct 2000 – Jan 2002
Chief Engineer:   

Responsible for all Saleen engineering   activity including Mustang development, aftermarket parts, and Motor sports.  Primary responsibility for the overall program to design, develop and produce the Saleen S7, the latest American Super car.  Hired 6 additional engineers for design and development of the Saleen S7.  Implemented a Unigraphics V17 CAD network.  The entire S7 certification program was to be accomplished with a budget of $3 million.

Daimler Chrysler Corporation  – Auburn Hills, Michigan, 1989 - 2000
NASCAR Winston Cup Program Manager:    

Assembled and directed an Engineering team that was responsible for the aerodynamic development of the NASCAR Winston Cup Dodge Intrepid, including the design and manufacture of stamped steel racecar body panels, fiberglass front and rear fascias and Lexan windshields.  Hired 6 engineers for the race group for a total staff of 12.  Direct Material budget for the race aerodynamics and race body development was approximately $10 million annually.  During this time I also coordinated all technical support for the Chrysler Le Mans sports Car program, both with Reynard and Dallara.  Directed CFD aerodynamics simulation for both the Winston Cup and Le Mans programs.

Viper GTS-R Program Manager:    

Responsible for recruiting and developing the engineering team,
selecting suppliers, and directing assistance from other Chrysler departments (Aero, structures, fabrication shops etc).  Selected race teams beginning with the 1996 race season and was responsible for most aspects of the race teams.   Directed a test team and 2 engine development companies.   Annual budget for Direct

Material was approximately $6 million.   This program resulting in 3 Lemans 24 hours wins, 2 FIA Championships, 2 ALMS Championships and an overall win at the Daytona 24-hour race.

Aero-Therma Development Supervisor:

Directed   engineers   responsible   for   the   aero-thermal development of all large Car platform vehicles, which included wind tunnel and environmental tunnel testing and on-road verification testing.

Suspension Design Supervisor:  

Responsible for the design and development of an entirely new suspension for a future model vehicle with the constraint of accommodating an AWD system with an existing FWD under body platform.   This resulted in a unique Dedion twist axle rear suspension concept. Responsible for developing a new system level DFMEA for Suspension Systems.  Staffed a new design group of 11 engineers.   Explored alternate material concepts including aluminum.   Directed detailed FEA work on the aluminum concepts to address fatigue life concerns, and dynamic structural analysis of the body attachments.  Directed vehicle dynamics simulation work using ADAMS.

Vehicle Development Specialist:

Responsible for the total vehicle design and development program for a future model vehicle.   Initially started leading a small advances planning group, and as the program grew past the advanced stage, I took the design work for all chassis systems.

Product Development Engineer:   

Responsible for vehicle development of the Viper Platform.  Primary responsibility is vehicle dynamics analysis and testing, data acquisition and analysis for all chassis items, including tire testing, aerodynamics development, brakes and suspension.  Specific development items have included: Engine oil system development, 3/8 scale model and full scale aerodynamic development for the Viper GTS, developed instrumentation and techniques to correlate wind tunnel data to on road measurements, shock absorber valving, bias tuning of rear differentials.

Chrysler Corporation, California, 1982 –1989 Product Development Engineer:  

Located at the Chrysler/Shelby Performance Center at Santa Fe Springs California.  

Responsible for research and development projects directed by Carroll Shelby as feasibility studies for future Chrysler production vehicles.   Directed vehicle testing, including performing all high performance driving, vehicle dynamics analysis, installation of test equipment, and analysis of data. Supervised fabrication and construction of projects and test vehicles.  Developed all-wheel drive systems, limited slip differential and a rear disc brake system.  Involved in the initial design phase of the Shelby Can-Am racecar.

MCR Technology, (formerly Mini Cars Inc.), California 1981 – 1982, Staff Engineer:  

Responsible for the government safety research projects.  Involved in conducting full-scale vehicle crash test and sled tests.  Directed vehicle impact tests into highway crash attenuating devices. Directed sled testing to evaluate steering wheel and column safety performance.   Involved in a program to develop an airbag landing system for a military target drone.

General Motors, California, 1976 – 1981 General Motors Institute Co-op Student:

Student project included: Development of the Pontiac 301 cu. In. V8 turbo engine for the 1980 Indy pace car, and validation of a cylinder head swirl flow meter at the General Motors Research Laboratory, Fluid Dynamics Department.


Available upon request

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