General Motors recruited engineer and race car driver, Zora Arkus Duntov, to help them inject some performance into their brands.
Duntov wanted to make the Corvette competitive with sports cars from Europe like Ferrari and Maserati. To gain respect it needed to win on the track. He organized a team to build the SS or "Experimental Corvette" and took it to Sebring.
Birth of the Mustang
Before the fabled pony car first hit the streets a team of Ford designers
and engineers was assembled to create a concept car to test the public's
interest in a sporty new car. One of the treats in the video is seeing
Phil Clark at work on the original Mustang logo. We also see Clark
hard at work shaping the clay on the buck and his sketches adorn the walls
of the studio. It's a tribute to an extremely gifted designer who died
when he was only 32 but left behind a legacy of automotive design and a
daughter, Holly, who's dedicated to making sure the world remembers her
father's contribution to the Mustang.
This Ford PR film captures the inside story of the team's efforts that put
the first Mustang on the
Harley Earl - GM Designer Extraordinaire
Harley Earl, the larger than life, first head of styling for a major
automobile manufacturer gave the world the joy of excess in color, chrome
and steel. Recruited by GM in the late 20s to transform its drab autos and
make them stand out from the offerings of its competitors, Earl transformed
the industry and the American psyche.
He invented the annual model change over, the concept car and put swagger
and some Hollywood panache into a staid industry. While its hard to defend
his buoyant designs as fine art, he captured the imagination of millions
worldwide, especially in Post WWII America, who embraced the outlandish
vehicles as proof that there will be a big and better tomorrow. He knew
how to create and sell dreams. Which is what he learned from his neighbor,
C. B. DeMille.
Aerovette -- Corvette Show Car
One of the most beautiful concept cars created by GM was the XP-822 later
called the Aerovette. It sprang from the minds of famed GM engineer and
race car driver Zora Arkus Duntov and his engineers who originally built
two predecessors during 1969. John DeLorean, Chevrolet's general manager,
felt the program was impractical and too expensive and canceled the car.
But when he heard Fords plans to sell the DeTomaso Pantera through
Lincoln-Mercury dealers, DeLorean ordered one XP-882 cleaned up for display
at the 1970 New York Auto Show. Its designer, Charles Jordan, would later
become the VP of design went to work on a new version for the 1973 Paris
This time an XP-882 chassis was powered by an experimental four-rotor
Wankel engine. The rotary engines looked promising but their poor fuel
economy didnt bode well with an impending oil crisis on the horizon. The
car would go through several more iterations before being put out to
Mako Shark Corvette Concept Car
The Mako Shark was GM VP of Design, Bill Mitchell's vision for the follow
up to the Corvette Stingray. Legend has it he was inspired by sharks he'd
caught in the Bahamas. The design cues for this car can be seen in
Corvettes that rolled out starting in 1968 model year.