When Dirt Toys Magazine was invited to attend the grand opening of the Laurent Beaudoin Design and Innovation Centre in Valcourt, PQ, in 2008, we thought that was the feather in BRP’s cap as well as the culmination of years of creativity and work that was now going to be housed in one location near BRP’s world headquarters.
Now fast forward to October, 2019, and again we were invited to the Laurent Beaudoin Design and Innovation Centre, this time to celebrate 50 years of design at BRP. The celebration encompassed a bit more than just the design centre, which when compared to the five decades of design innovation, is relatively young still, but the centre was the location where nearly 60 vehicles were being showcased for the event.
The vehicles represented the five decades and included snowmobiles, watercraft, dirt powersports from dirt and road bikes to on-road bikes to off-road side-by-sides and ATVs. Those in attendance were also given a brief glimpse of what BRP is working on for the future, including e-vehicles and the Upter, a one-passenger flying machine designed for urban use.
We were given a personal tour of the design centre and a description of many of the 50 plus vehicles on display by Denys Lapointe, senior vice president, Design, Innovation and Creative Services at BRP. For Lapointe, the 50-year celebration was more than simply showing off the design centre and talking about BRP design over the past decades, it was like tracing his roots to the very beginning of design of BRP vehicles.
Lapointe’s father Sam designed the 1966 Olympic snowmobile, and later joined BRP in 1969. “That’s how the adventure started,” the younger Lapointe said.
Denys Lapointe later joined BRP as well and has overseen an impressive line of design accomplishments, some of which include:
- 112 international design awards
- An international team of designers. Sixty percent of BRP designers are Canadian while the remaining 40 percent come from all over the world. “We go and recruit in all the places of the world,” Lapointe said.
- The opening of the Laurent Beaudoin Design and Innovation Centre.
Looking back over the decades of design at BRP and the celebration in October, Lapointe said, “Reviewing previous sketches and prototypes to build this exhibition was an experience that moved me in many ways. From my father, who was the first head of design at BRP, to the number of unexpected models we created that may or may not have hit the market, what struck me the most is the talent that joined our studio over these past five decades and how much inventiveness there still is today. We contributed to BRP’s success in the past and will continue to shape the future by exploring new ways to move people.”
As interesting as it was to learn and relearn about BRP vehicles over the past 50 years, it was also interesting to learn how BRP collected the vehicles that were on display at the design centre. Matt Tandrup, director of design for ORV, snowmobiles and accessories at BRP, was tasked with finding many of the vehicles that were on display, some of which were outright purchased or loaned to BRP for the exhibit. He told attending several shows to meet with collectors, visiting others in their homes and just scouring the countryside for vehicles. One of the Can-Am bikes he acquired was in some guy’s basement and had been there for years. BRP also did some restoration of a handful of vehicles to get them back to their prime state.