The idea of designing a car has to appeal to just about everyone that's ever lusted after a sports coupe, stepped on the accelerator until the steering wheel started to shake, or even just suffered through a daily commute to work. Unfortunately, while the desire might be there, the skills often aren't. As much as I'd love to, I could never design much more than a highly derivative, awkward sketch of a car.

But there are a select few that walk among us who have not only the skills to design the next generation of automobiles, but the burning passion to get it done. And GM is now recruiting.

Okay, they're not actually recruiting in terms of jobs. The automaker launched a design competition in conjunction with Car Design News that will pit design students against each other in coming up with the next great all-American car design.

The initial part of the competition consists of two stages: interior design and exterior design. GM will supply the entrants with a brief outlining some basic information and parameters, and he'll take the reigns from there. There is one brief for each of GM's four brands--Buick, Chevy, Cadillac and GMC. The interior phase runs through June 30 and the exterior phase runs from July 1 to October 31.

After all entries are in, GM and Car Design News will pick finalists who will be invited to the 2012 North American International Auto Show next January in Detroit. They'll get to attend an exhibition featuring their work and an awards ceremony where eight winners will be selected.

Besides the chance at taking home top honors, participants will enjoy fostered growth within the greater design community. Students will create and display their work on a public website and will receive input and advice from the community. Each car design will be like a living project, delivering critical insight and valuable experience to the students. For students interested in automotive design, it should prove an invaluable learning experience, win or lose.

The contest is open to all students enrolled full time in a U.S. or Canadian design school. Participants must have one semester of school left after the end of the contest. The specific discipline of design and the level of student--undergraduate, post-graduate--does not matter.


Follow Motor Authority on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.